Goodbye then, to the DCEU and all. Hello to the re-named DCU, James Gunn’s attempt to macro-verse transform Warner Bros’s DC comic book into exactly what it should have been: an interconnected web of superhero movies and TV stories in which the only distant, cosmic weirdness is rather on then find the screen between the men in suits.
At a presentation at the Warner Bros. lot in Los Angeles, Gunn and his creative partner, Peter Safran, suggested that they, too, were stunned at the utter mess their predecessors have made of the DCEU over the past decade. “As everyone here probably knows, DC’s history is pretty messed up,” Gunn said. “No one paid attention to the coin. They gave away intellectual property as if they were party favors for any creator who smiled at them.”
He added: “There’s the Arrowverse, there was the DCEU, which then split and at some point became the Joss Whedon Justice League and the Snyderverse. On another point, there’s Superman & Lois, there’s Reevesverse, there’s all these different things. And even us. We came and did Suicide Squad and that became Peacemaker and suddenly Bat-Mite is a real thing.
So what’s the solution, the grand Gunn plan to switch everything up and usher in a brave new DC future? It sounds very much like the filmmaker’s plans, primarily to just make it clearer when a movie is meant to be part of something bigger and when it’s a standalone entry that doesn’t necessarily have to be sold in gazillions. converted. 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 also the upcoming sequel to Matt Reeves’ The Batman as movies like Todd Phillips’ Joker: Folie à Deux, DC Elseworlds entries will be named to differentiate them from the main timeline.
In addition, the upcoming The Flash will serve as a standout among older DCEU films – Shazam! Fury of the Gods, Blue Beetle and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will also be released in 2023 and have nothing to do with Gunn and his grand schemes – and the coming revolution.
“Honestly, I think we got lucky with the next four movies because we have Shazam, which leads into Flash, which resets everything, which then transitions into Blue Beetle, which is totally disconnected,” Gunn said. “He can totally be a part of the DCU. [That] goes to Aquaman, which leads to Superman, our first big project.
“But all we can promise is that everything from Superman forward… will be canon and will be connected. We use some actors from the past. We don’t use other actors from the past, but everything will be connected and consistent from then on.”
Except, of course, for the pieces that won’t be connected because they’re part of the Elseworlds movie branch. It everything kind of makes sense and is certainly less confusing than the old DC approach, which was rather like a sports team that has had 11 different managers over the past decade, all of whom have hired players to suit their own completely idiosyncratic play methods. The result is the gruesome mishmash of contrasting styles that DC’s story seems to have pretty much always been.
Chapter one of the great reset will be titled Gods and Monsters, and it’s promising that Gunn and his team aren’t shying away from the big tasks they have to tackle if the studio is to get back on track. No DC roster would be complete without a movie about Krypton’s last son, and Superman: Legacy will apparently try to reframe Kal-El as a big blue boy scout struggling to balance his alien and human natures. In fact, Gunn writes it himself.
Of course, there’s also a Batman movie, The Brave and the Bold, and it’s going to be challenging. There hasn’t been a live action attempt to bring the Bat family to the big screen since 1997’s atrocious Batman & Robin, and we all know how that ended. The DCU shot borrows from Grant Morrison’s critically acclaimed seven-year comic book series, with a special focus on a Robin we’ve never seen in the multiplexes before. “This is the story of Damian Wayne, the real son of Batman, who he didn’t know existed for the first eight to 10 years of his life,” Gunn explains. “He grew up as a petty assassin and assassin. He’s a little asshole. He’s my favorite Robin.
Ben Affleck, meanwhile, seems ready to retire the cape and cowl (again) for one last time after The Flash, though he will be tapped to possibly direct the new Regime. This sounds like the right choice, as the Oscar winner is in the running with George Clooney and Val Kilmer to become the baddest dark knight ever.
There is also more esoteric fare on the slate. Swamp Thing, which James Mangold has just signed on to direct, has been described as a film that will focus on the dark origins of the monstrous hero. Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow revolves around Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El, and is based on the recent comic book of the same name by Tom King and Bilquis Evely, a vengeful space western in which Superman’s bitter cousin leaves Earth to find an alien woman. to assist. track down the killers who killed her father.
The Authority will adapt the Wildstorm Comics team of “cynical, brutally pragmatic superheroes” known for their rather aggressive and no-nonsense approach to the whole “protecting the Earth” fandango. Gunn is clearly thrilled at the prospect of bringing an ensemble often described as an anti-Justice League to the big screen, though given how weird the DCEU Justice League was at times (here’s looking at you, Batfleck with guns) , the person on the street may not notice much of a difference.
Questions still remain, not least: can Gunn truly reinvent DC while retaining stars from the many diverse creative regimes that preceded him? Viola Davis is staying on as Amanda Waller in the Peacemaker spin-off DCU TV series Waller, and won’t be alone. On the other hand, rival Marvel never really had a problem occasionally cribbing out, and somehow retroactively improving on, not very good pre-MCU movies like The Incredible Hulk – like the wonderfully wry performance of Tim Roth in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law recently proved.
Plus, this is ultimately an exciting, gutsy, and attractively unexpected slate, brought to us by a man who clearly has tremendous passion for the comic book universe he’s creating. Only time will tell if he ends up as yet another bright-eyed creative set low by over-ambition and an inability to dodge the corporate forces that seem to be constantly working behind the DC scenes to turn comic book gold into starring roles on the big screen. But let’s hope it goes the other way and Gunn can take the studio to something brilliant. Frankly, it’s about time DC got its day in the sun.