James Gunn lays out “8-10-year plan” for the DC Universe

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 02: James Gunn attends the Warner Bros. premiere of "The Suicide Squad" at Regency Village Theatre on August 02, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 02: James Gunn attends the Warner Bros. premiere of "The Suicide Squad" at Regency Village Theatre on August 02, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images) /
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A while back, Peter Safran and Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn were made the new co-CEOs of DC Studios. It falls to them to remake the DC Cinematic Universe, which has been in various states of disarray pretty much since Justice League came out in 2017.

So far, we’ve mostly heard about what they’re not doing. They canceled a planned Wonder Woman 3 movie with Gal Gadot. They will not be bringing back Henry Cavill as Superman, but are working on a new project about the Man of Steel. And it doesn’t look like the Rock has much of a future as Black Adam.

Okay, but what are they planning? Gunn laid it all out in a video message today. There’s a lot in the works.

The Flash movie “resets the entire DC Universe”

To start, there are still four DC projects that began before Gunn and Safran took over that are still going to come out: Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which is due out in theaters in March; The Flash movie starring human wrecking ball Ezra Miller; Blue Beetle, about a teenager who gets superpowers; and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, starring Jason Momoa in the title role.

All of those will come out, but it sounds like that might be the end for all of those particular franchises, since none of those heroes reappear in the “8-10 year plan” that Gunn outlines next. Gunn also says that The Flash movie “resets the entire DC Universe,” which may provide some narrative justification for why none of those older heroes are around anymore. That movie is due out in June, FYI.

So what do Gunn and Safran have in mind after that?

The new DC Universe will be connected between movies, TV, games and animation

“It’s one of our jobs (mine and Peter’s) is to come in and make sure the DCU is connected, in film, television, gaming and animation, that the characters are consistent — played by the same actors — and it works within one story,” Gunn said. “And if something is outside of that — like Matt Reeves’ Batman or Todd Philips Joker or Teen Titans GO — that it is clearly labeled as DC Elseworlds, outside of the mainstream DCU continuity.”

Okay, so DC Studios is looking to have its own Marvel Cinematic Universe, with the same story playing out in different mediums. Gunn stresses that the same actors who play characters in live-action will also voice them in animated projects, if possible.

We also get confirmation that stuff like The Batman and Joker WILL NOT be part of this new DCU continuity. They’re their own things.

James Gunn reveals new Superman movie, new Batman movie, Green Lantern HBO show, and more

Okay, we can finally talk about all the new projects, which Gunn and Safran have planned out “8-10” years in advance. The first wave of stories will be called “Gods and Monsters.” Here are the shows and movies on the way, in chronological order:

  • Creature Commandos: We don’t know much about this project beyond the fact that it’s animated. In DC Comics, the Creature Commandos are a group of military superheroes originally active during World War II.
  • Waller: This show will feature Viola Davis as DC operative Amanda Waller, a role she’s played for years now. “Viola Davis is gonna team up with members of Team Peacemaker,” Gunn said. “It is a fantastic story that’s out of this world and I can’t wait for people to see it.”
  • Superman Legacy: We’ve heard that Gunn was working on a Superman movie starring a younger Clark Kent. This must be it. Gunn says Superman Legacy is “the true beginning of the DCU.” It’ll be out on July 11, 2025.
  • Lanterns is an HBO show revolving around a pair of Green Lanterns: John Stewart and Hal Jordan. “It’s a terrestrial-based TV show that is almost like True Detective with a couple of green lanterns who are space cops watching over precinct Earth,” Gunn said. The two of them “discover a terrifying mystery that ties into our larger story of the DCU.”
  • The Authority is a movie about “a group of superheroes who think the world is broken and they wanna fix it by any means necessary.”
  • Paradise Lost is a TV show set on Themyscira, aka Paradise Island, the home of Wonder Woman. “It’s almost like Game of Thrones with Westeros but with all the inhabitants of Paradise Island,” Gunn said.
  • The Brave and the Bold is a movie about Batman and his son Damien Wayne, based on Grant Morrison’s comic book run. Gunn says it’s “the beginning of sort of the Bat Family in the DCU.” This means there will be two actors playing Batman at once: Robert Pattinson in The Batman and whoever they get for The Brave and the Bold.
  • Booster GoldBooster Gold is sort of a loser from the future who uses technology from his time to come back to ours and try his hand at being a superhero. He’ll get his own HBO Max series.
  • Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow will be a “big science fiction epic film.”
  • Swamp Thing will be a “very dark horror story” that is “totally outside of the rest of the DCU” but will “still feed into the rest of the stories.” It’s an origin story for the title character. It’s a movie.

Gunn concludes by saying that he wants the visions of the writers and directors to be “unique and something special.”

"Storytelling is always king, that’s all that matters to us. I want to be true to those stories, I want to be true to you guys, and really give you something different than you’ve ever seen before."

That’s an ambitious slate. How do we feel? Excited? Apprehensive? Indifferent?