Goodbye then, to the DCEU and all that. Hello to the new DCU, James Gunn’s attempt to transform Warner Bros. DC’s comic book macroverse into what it really should have been in the first place: an interconnected web of superhero TV and movie stories in which the only, cosmic madness can be found on screen rather than among men in suits.
During a presentation on the Warner Bros. lot in Los Angeles, Gunn and his creative partner, Peter Safran, suggested that they, too, had been stunned by the total mess their predecessors wreaked on the DCEU over the past decade. “As everyone here probably knows, DC history is pretty messed up,” Gunn said. “No one cared about the mint. They were giving away intellectual property like party favors to any creator who smiled at them.”
He added: “There’s the Arrowverse, there was the DCEU, which later split and became Joss Whedon’s Justice League at one point and the Snyderverse. At another point there’s Superman & Lois, there’s the Reevesverse, there’s all these different things. And even us. We came in and made Suicide Squad and that became Peacemaker and all of a sudden Bat-Mite is a real thing.”
So what’s the solution, Gunn’s grand plan to change everything and usher in a brave new future for DC? Sounds a lot like the filmmaker’s plans in the first place to just make it more clear when a movie is meant to be part of something bigger and when it’s a standalone entry that doesn’t necessarily need to break into billions. of additional episodes. Five new movies – Superman: Legacy, The Authority, The Brave and the Bold, Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow and Swamp Thing – will be the first official entries in the new DCU, while Matt Reeves’ upcoming sequel to The Batman will also be coming. movies like Todd Phillips’ Joker: Folie à Deux, will be labeled as DC Elseworlds entries to distinguish them from the main timeline.
Additionally, the upcoming The Flash will serve as a pinnacle among the older DCEU movies: Shazam! Fury of the Gods, Blue Beetle and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom are also coming out in 2023 and have nothing to do with Gunn and his big plans and the coming revolution.
“I think we got lucky with the next four movies, frankly, because we have Shazam, which leads to the Flash, which resets everything, which then goes into Blue Beetle, which is totally unplugged,” Gunn said. “He can totally be a part of the DCU. [That] it goes into Aquaman, which leads into Superman, our first big project.
“But the only thing we can promise is that everything from Superman on…will be canon and connected. We are using some actors from the past. We are not using other actors from the past, but everything from then on will be connected and consistent.”
Except, of course, the bits that aren’t going to connect because they’re part of the Elseworlds branch of movies. Everything something like It makes sense, and it’s certainly less confusing than DC’s old approach, which was more like a sports team that has had 11 different coaches over the past decade, each signing players to suit their own methods of coaching. Totally idiosyncratic game. The result is a hideous hodgepodge of contrasting styles that seems to have been DC history for practically forever.
Chapter one of the big reboot will be titled Gods and Monsters, and it’s promising that Gunn and his team aren’t shying away from the big tasks they need to tackle if the studio is to get back on track. No DC slate would be complete without a movie about the last son of Krypton, and Superman: Legacy will apparently attempt to recast Kal-El as a big blue boy scout struggling to balance his alien and human nature. Even better, Gunn is writing it himself.
Naturally, there is also a Batman movie, The Brave and the Bold, and this one will present a challenge. Not since 1997’s execrable Batman & Robin has there been a live-action attempt to bring the Bat-family to the big screen, and we all know how that one ended. The DCU take will borrow from Grant Morrison’s acclaimed seven-year comic book run, with a special focus on a Robin we’ve never seen in multiplexes before. “This is the story of Damian Wayne, who is the real son of Batman, who didn’t know he existed for the first eight or ten years of his life,” Gunn explains. “He was raised as a little assassin and murderer. He is a little son of a bitch. He is my favorite Robin.
Meanwhile, Ben Affleck looks set to retire the cape and cowl (again) for the last time after The Flash, though he will potentially be picked to direct for the new regime. This sounds like the right call, as the Oscar winner is right up there with George Clooney and Val Kilmer in the race for worst dark knight ever.
There is also more esoteric fare on the board. Swamp Thing, which James Mangold has just hired to direct, is being described as a film that will focus on the dark origins of the monstrous hero. Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow will center on Superman’s cousin Kara Zor-El and is based on Tom King and Bilquis Evely’s recent comic of the same name, a vengeful space western in which Superman’s embittered cousin leaves Earth. to help an alien woman. track down the killers who killed her father.
The Authority will adapt Wildstorm Comics’ team of “cynical and brutally pragmatic superheroes” who are famous for taking a rather aggressive and no-nonsense approach to the whole “protect Earth” fandango. Gunn is clearly excited by the prospect of bringing an ensemble often described as an anti-Justice League to the big screen, though given how strangely headstrong the DCEU Justice League was at times (I’m looking at you, Armed Batfleck), the person on the street may not notice much of a difference.
Questions remain, not least: can Gunn really reinvent DC while retaining stars from the many diverse creative regimes that came before him? Viola Davis is staying on as Amanda Waller in Waller, the DCU TV series spinoff of Peacemaker, and she won’t be the only one. Then again, rival Marvel has never had a problem occasionally criticizing, and somewhat retrospectively improving, not-so-great pre-MCU movies like The Incredible Hulk, as Tim Roth’s wonderfully tongue-in-cheek performance in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law demonstrated. Law. Recently.
Plus, this is ultimately an exciting, gritty, and engagingly unexpected slate, brought to you by a man who clearly has an immense passion for the comic book universe he’s creating. Only time will tell if he ends up just another bright-eyed creative who collapses due to excessive ambition and an inability to evade the corporate forces that seem to be constantly working behind the scenes of DC to turn comic book gold into the star of the movie. large screen. But let’s hope it’s the other way around and that Gunn can bring something approaching brilliance to the studio. Frankly, it’s about time DC had its day in the sun.