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Up, up and away, Supa-Fans! Unless you’ve been living under a pop culture rock these past few weeks, you probably have already heard there are some big changes ahead for the DC Universe spanning film, television, animation, and gaming.
In October last year, Warner Bros. Discovery appointed Guardians of the Galaxy and The Suicide Squad director James Gunn as the new co-CEO of DC Studios alongside Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom producer Peter Safran. Their mandate was simple (yet incredibly daunting): chart a new cohesive future for DC properties with a single vision uniting different mediums. As Gunn himself explained, the idea was to have the same actors play key roles in live-action, in animation and in future videogames.
Last week, DC fans finally got their first glimpse at what Gunn and Safran have planned for the future of their comic book universe. Dubbed Gods and Monsters, the duo revealed what would become the first steps of Chapter One in their revitalised DC Universe. Since then, reactions to these announcements have been mixed. With various portions of the fandom oscillating wildly between unbridled enthusiasm for Safran and Gunn’s future slate, and outright condemnation for the loss of the previous vision crafted by early DCEU architect Zack Snyder.
Yet regardless of how people are reacting to the news across social media, one thing remains certain: Gunn and Safran clearly have some ambitious plans afoot for DC fans. So perhaps it might be timely to just cut through all the noise and take a good, hard look at exactly what is happening in the DC Universe.
The Old DCEU’s Last Gasp
While Gunn and Safran’s plans won’t actually begin coming into effect until 2025, DC fans still have four new movies all due for release later this year. Beginning with Shazam! Fury Of The Gods in March, and ending with Jason Momoa’s return as Arthur Curry in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom in December, the old DCEU slate still has a lot more to bring to the table before the franchise’s new direction takes hold.
Gunn has already made it clear exactly how these films fit into his plans, with June’s The Flash movie set to provide the universe with a long-anticipated reset point. Loosely based on the Flashpoint storyline, it would seem that Ezra Miller’s time travelling antics in The Flash will continue to have a long-lasting impact on the rest of the DC Universe once the final credits roll. The next two films scheduled for release, Blue Beetle and the Aquaman sequel, will seemingly take place within the DCU’s new continuity. Whether or not Blue Beetle’s Xolo Maridueña, Miller, or Momoa will continue in their roles after this year is still not officially clear, but the latter has already hinted at a possible Aquaman 3.
Is It A Complete Franchise Reboot?
The first signs that Gunn and Safran had bold plans for their DCU came when news broke that Henry Cavill would no longer be playing Superman, despite returning as the Man of Steel for a cameo in last year’s Black Adam. With Gunn revealing he was in the process of writing a movie centred on a younger version of the character, many fans assumed this pointed toward a potential reboot of the entire franchise.
It would turn out, however, that while the new DCU continuity would bring with it a new Superman and a new Batman, not every actor was being shown the door. In Gunn’s own words, “Flash resets many things, not all things. Some characters remain the same, others do not.”
One character we know for certain will remain the same is Amanda Waller, portrayed by the newly-awarded EGOT winner Viola Davis, who is now set to receive her own spinoff series set between last year’s Peacemaker season 1 and the upcoming season 2.
So What Is Coming?
As part of Gunn and Safran’s recent announcements, 10 new DC projects have already been revealed as the start of an 8-to-10-year plan for the DC franchise. These include:
- Superman: Legacy – A new movie slated for release in July 2025. Currently being written by Gunn himself, the film will not be an origin story but will rather feature a younger Clark Kent at the start of his career at the Daily Planet. The story will explore Superman being a beacon of kindness in a world that believes kindness is old-fashioned.
- The Authority – A movie based on the WildStorm Comics characters that will see them brought into the mainstream DC Universe. The film will feature a group of anti-heroes who have good intentions but need to go to extreme measures to deal with a broken world.
- The Brave and the Bold – The start of the DCU’s new version of Batman, this film will depict a more experienced Batman discovering the existence of his son Damian Wayne and is based on Grant Morrison’s Batman. Ben Affleck will not be returning as the Dark Knight, and it is currently unclear who the new Batman will be.
- Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow – Based on the Tom King run, Supergirl will be getting her own movie which will explore her life as she was forced to watch many of her loved ones from Krypton die. It is not clear whether Sasha Calle, who is already set to play the character in The Flash, will also don the cape in this movie.
- Swamp Thing – A new film following DC’s Avatar of the Green, Logan and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny director James Mangold is currently in early talks to helm the project.
- Creature Commandos – A new animated series written by Gunn, Creature Commandos will focus on Rick Flagg Sr., Nina Mazursky, Doctor Phosphorus, Eric Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, G.I. Robot, and Weasel. Some of these characters are later expected to cross over into live-action.
- Waller – As mentioned previously, Viola Davis is set to reprise her role as ARGUS director Amanda Waller in her own spinoff series set between Peacemaker seasons 1 and 2. Doom Patrol executive producer Jeremy Carver and Watchmen writer Christal Henry are leading the series.
- Lanterns – A new live-action series, this project will replace Greg Berlanti’s previously planned Green Lantern. The show will feature Hal Jordan and John Stewart as they serve as intergalactic cops on precinct Earth. The pair will uncover an ancient mystery which has wider reaching implications for the entire DCU moving forward.
- Paradise Lost – A Wonder Woman prequel series which has been compared to Game of Thrones. The show will focus on the origin of Themyscira before Diana’s time.
- Booster Gold – A live-action series which will follow the future superhero with imposter syndrome. Apparently, Gunn and Safran already have an actor in mind for the role and are already in negotiations.
The Role of Elseworlds Properties
In addition to all of Gunn and Safran’s plans, a number of DC projects will still exist outside of the main DCU continuity. Dubbed Elseworld projects, these titles include Matt Reeve’s planned Batman films starring Robert Pattinson and the upcoming Joker sequel. Television shows such as Teen Titans Go! and Superman and Lois will also continue to exist under this banner.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) January 31, 2023