Making good on a promise to unveil some of their plans for the revamped DCU on film and TV ere January ended, DC Studios co-heads James Gunn and Peter Safran announced 10 projects in the works for theaters and HBO Max. With the rough title for “Chapter 1″ of Gods and Monsters” this is definitely the most interesting and coherent plan for bringing DC’s characters to screens…probably ever.
Gunn kicked things off with a video:
Here are just a few of our plans. Up, up, and away! #DCStudios #DCU @DCComics pic.twitter.com/8XNDNLUEPq
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) January 31, 2023
But you want to know what’s coming so before we dive into any analysis, here’s the five movies and five tv shows planned, all set with an interconnected universe. Casting even for animated efforts will be with an eye to actors who can play live action roles as well. Links below are to DC.com – and we’ll have more to say about that as well – descriptions are from the PR with some commentary by me.
- Creature Commandos – a seven-episode animated show in which Amanda Waller creates a black ops team out of monstrous prisoners; Gunn wrote all the episodes of the first season. Analysis: Gunn has been working on this for a while and it is already in production.
- Waller – Viola Davis returns as Amanda Waller in an HBO series, with Team Peacemaker involved. To be written by Christal Henry (Watchmen) and Jeremy Carver (Supernatural)
- Superman: Legacy – written by Gunn, the film will hit theaters on July 11, 2025, and focus on Superman balancing his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing. Analysis: all those tweets of Gunn reading All-Star Superman obviously an influence on this take on the character.
- Booster Gold – Booster Gold uses basic technology from the future to pretend to be a superhero in present day. Analysis: This is planned for HBO Max.
- Lanterns – this enormous TV event series follows intergalactic cops John Stewart and Hal Jordan as they uncover a dark mystery. Analysis: The long gestating Greg Berlanti driven Green Lantern tv show – the subject of much speculation- is no more.
- The Authority – DC’s WildStorm characters will join the DCU as members of The Authority take matters into their own hands to do what they believe is right. Analysis: WHOA! This one was actually leaked to me last night, and it’s a bold move. The Authority is not only one of the most influential comics of the last 30 years, but one of the darkest and most overtly political – and kicked off all of the most recent superheroes as fascist overlords takes we’ve seen of late. The Authority on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE
- The Brave and the Bold – the DCU will introduce its Batman and Robin in this unusual father-son story inspired by Grant Morrison’s comic series. Analysis; DAMIAN! This will be a film and obviously this is The Grant Morrison-i-verse as much as the Gunniverse. Grant Morrison’s Batman saga on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE
- Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow – this science fiction adventure, which will be based on Tom King’s amazing, award-winning recent comics stories, presents a Supergirl viewers are not used to seeing. Analysis: This is planned as a film. Maybe she can team up with Batgirl. Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE
- Swamp Thing – the film will investigate the dark origins of Swamp Thing. Analysis: kinda a no brainer honestly.
- Paradise Lost – set in Themyscira, home of the Amazons and birthplace of Wonder Woman, this drama focuses on the genesis and political intrigue of an island of all women. Analysis: Game of Thrones meets Y the Last Man? Why not?
An article at THR gives much more information from last night’s press event; a Q&A with Gunn and Safran on DC.com gives even more.
A few bullet points:
• A second Robert Pattinson Batman movie is planned for Oct. 3, 2025, so far called The Batman Part II.
• This film and the second Joker move are part of a line-up of movies called (wait for it) “DC Elseworlds.” If you are new to the world of comics, this is a long running program at DC for stories set in alternate universes.
• Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are the “diamond characters” of this new world and will help launch lesser known characters.
• The problem of what to do with Shazam! Fury of the Gods (Mar. 17) The Flash (June 16), Blue Beetle (Aug. 18), and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (Dec. 25) is still kinda hanging around. Gunn said the actors associated with these roles are not necessarily out.
• However Henry Cavill was never in. “We didn’t fire Henry. Henry was never cast,” Gunn said. Sounds like, he was never actually hired to play Superman in a new film, just floated as part of the Rock’s attempted DCU takeover.
• Ezra Miller is “completely committed to their recovery,” says Safran. “We are fully supportive of that journey they are on right now. When the time is right, when they are ready to have that discussion, we will all figure out what the best path forward.”
• What about those Jason Momoa is Lobo rumors? “Jason will not play two characters,” Gunn told DC.com. Safran added “It’s too early to say. Jason always thought Aquaman was a trilogy in his own mind, but he also loves Lobo. He’s been very clear about that too. He’s never going to play two characters…”
• Gunn and Safran are well aware that the DCU’s previous history is littered with stops and starts and a ludicrous amount of drama – and it did’t serve the characters, says Gunn. “No one was minding the mint. They were giving away IP like they were party favors at any creator who smiled at them.”
• While the DC movie slate has become a saga of its own, WB has quietly been turning out quality animated films for years. What about that slate? It will keep moving forward, Gunn said. “Some of that stuff will continue as Elseworlds, but a lot of other stuff we’re starting to bring into animation with (Warner Bros. Animation President) Sam Register so that we’ll have things that are connected with this. I think there have been a lot of really marvelous DC cartoons, so we’re going to keep moving forward with that.”
• Gunn has had a collaborator from inside the comics world: Tom King. “He has been my partner throughout all of this. He was giving me answers to sh*t before I took the job. So it’s me; him; Christal Henry, who worked on Watchmen; Christina Hodson, who wrote The Flash; Drew Goddard, who you probably know; and Jeremy Slater, who just did Moon Knight. That’s the group of people we’ve been meeting with and putting all of this together.”
That’s the basic outline of this eagerly awaited slate. I’ve been too busy writing this to see what Snyder Bros have to say on Twitter…if they’ve had any reaction…
JUST KIDDING. We’ll be updating throughout the day with more reactions and analysis.
A quick take: FINALLY someone who actually cares about the characters and writing has been given a chance to guide the DCU. It took a new studio head (David Zaslov) just throwing up his hands and admitting they had no idea what they were doing…but maybe that’s what was needed.
It’s also obvious that Gunn has included DC Comics in all of this, so hopefully some of the bigwigs at WBD who have shaved that division down to the bone have been put off from destroying it completely. This is a very very comics-centric line-up, and as we all know, the very best comic book movies and TV shows come from a comics core.
Gunn and Safran aren’t out of the woods yet, though. Many an intrigue lies between this announcement and butts in seats for a Brave and the Bold movie.
What do you think, readers? Yay or nay on what will be called the Gunniverse, even though he says it’s not?
“this science fiction adventure, which will be based on Tom King’s amazing, award-winning recent comics stories”
“Gunn has had a collaborator from inside the comics world: Tom King.”
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