What You Can Expect From the New Era of DC Studios

On January 31, 2023, after months of speculation as well as the slow trickle of disappointing casting news, the co-CEO’s of the newly rebranded DC Studios, James Gunn and Peter Safran, announced that their new slate of films will begin to take the world by storm and finally provide some clarity to what was otherwise a confusing cinematic universe.

DC Elseworlds

To alleviate fears, Gunn and Safran announced that the new Batman franchise helmed by Matt Reeves and starring Robert Pattinson will remain in place and become part of DC’s Elseworld Universe that will feature stories not part of the main storyline but serve as darker, grittier versions of their current crop of heroes and villains. The sequel to The Batman, currently titled The Batman Part II, is currently scheduled to be released on October 3, 2025. This reconsolidation will also include the film Joker: Folie à Deux with Joaquin Phoenix reprising his Oscar winning role from the 2019 original film and also stars Lady Gaga as Dr. Harleen Quinzel and is scheduled for release on October 4, 2024. No other projects within the DC Elseworlds were announced but the option of having the Elseworlds available to filmmakers could open the door for more one-off stories or allow the adaptations of other storylines.

Gods and Monsters

Gunn and Safran announced the group of 10 films and shows that are being introduced as the first chapter of the new DC Universe or as it is more dramatically known by Gunn as “Gods and Monsters”. Gunn clearly has an idea of where he wants to go with this new universe, who will lead it and where he wants to start:

  • Superman: Legacy
    • As the world was excited to learn of Henry Cavill’s return to the role of Superman, that excitement was quickly stripped away when Gunn announced that the studio was moving in a different direction so while a new actor will play the role of Superman, the plot of this new film is simple as Superman struggles to balance his super powers with that of his human upbringing from his adopted parents. No director was announced but it is possible that Gunn will step into the chair as he is also writing the screenplay. There is plenty of time to figure that out prior to the film’s scheduled release of July 11, 2025. There is an additional Superman film still in development from producer J.J. Abrams and written by famed comic writer Te-Nehisi Coates but a release date is unknown.
  • The Authority
    • This is supposedly Gunn’s pet project within the DC Universe that centers on an ensemble of superheroes who are very cynical and take an “ends justify the means” approach to their superhero duties. Gunn did confirm that the script is being developed but would not elaborate on who exactly is writing it nor is a release date currently known. This film will immediately by preceded by Superman: Legacy
  • The Brave and the Bold
    • Based on Grant Morrison’s run on Batman comics, The Brave and the Bold is set to introduce the Bat family to the DC Universe. In addition to being the first film for a new Batman actor, the film will also introduce Damian Wayne as Robin, the biological son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul who was raised as an assassin. Which will come into conflict with his father’s strict no kill policy. Gunn described Damian as “our favorite Robin” so it is likely they will take time to cast the role and make sure to distinguish this version of Robin from the dreadful film Batman & Robin.
  • Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow
    • While no plot details were released, the film will center on Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El, and will surely highlight the differences on how the two family members were raised as Superman was raised by loving parents since he was an infant and Kara raised on a rock speck floating in space and watched many members of her family die by the time she was a teenager. 
  • Swamp Thing
    • This film is meant to serve as an origin story for the legendary creature and will be shot in the horror style. It is unknown when the film will release or who will direct it but James Mangold (Ford vs Ferrari, Walk the Line) is in early talks to helm the project
  • Creature Commandos
    • This animated series was the first project to be greenlit by Gunn and Safran, and features a group of legendary monsters to fight Nazis in World War II. According to Gunn, actors have been cast in their respective roles but he did not reveal who was cast but he also mentioned that the voice actors will appear as live action versions of their characters later on in the DC Universe.
  • Waller
    • This show will be developed by the same team as HBO’s Peacemaker (as that show is currently on hiatus and a second season is not in development at this time), this will feature their take on Amanda Waller, the puppet master behind the Suicide Squad. Gunn’s excitement is high for this series and is expected to be released before Superman: Legacy sometime in 2024 or early 2025
  • Lanterns
    • This series will focus on two popular characters from the Green Lantern series, Hal Jordan and John Stewart as they embark on a True Detective style story but is expected to tie into the overarching story of this first chapter of the DC Universe. Early rumors also speculate that Glen Powell (Top Gun: Maverick) could be cast as Hal Jordan
  • Paradise Lost
    • Gunn has advertised this show as a Game of Thrones style story set on Themyscira before Princess Diana/Wonder Woman is born. Not much else is known about the plot of the show but Gunn did leave the door open for actress Gal Gadot to return to the role and possibly appear in additional seasons of the show if they are produced.
  • Booster Gold
    • This show looks to inject some comedy into the DC Universe similar to what Guardians of the Galaxy did for the MCU but will center on a loser from the future who is able to use basic time travel technology to travel back and mask himself as a hero. 

Hopefully, Gunn and Safran are the right individuals to bring some relevance back to the DC Universe. They are committed to quality over quantity and have assembled a talented writer’s room to develop these projects. They also stated that a film will not go into production until the story is finished but they have a lot of catching up to do compared to what Disney and Marvel have managed to accomplish in 15 years.

Image Credit: Photo by Daniel Álvasd on Unsplash 

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