James Gunn, Peter Safran present a new DCU plan. Will they deliver?

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Several banners of Warner Bros. DC Comics are displayed. Photo by Grzegorz Czapski/Shutterstock.

Filmmaker James Gunn and Peter Safran – who are now overseeing DC Studios for Warner Bros. Discovery – have unveiled 10 projects to be rolled out over the next several years, while Gunn criticized previous WB management. Not everyone is happy. Will they deliver? Kim Masters and Matt Belloni look into it.    

This segment has been edited for length and clarity. 

Gunn criticizes former regime

Kim Masters: This was quite an unusual presentation, in that James Gunn is an outspoken person, and he regaled the press with some very colorful comments on what has gone wrong in the past with the handling of DC.

Matt Belloni: We will omit the F-words, but he basically criticizes the former regime. He said that DC has been all over the place and has spread its IP into so many different universes that nobody knows what's going on. He's not wrong about that. 

Masters: Normally, you don't go on the record at all, except in a very scripted way. And here he says that former “Superman” star Henry Cavill was “dicked around” by the studio because he made this appearance in “Black Adam,” and then said he was coming back as “Superman.” 

I'm going to guess there are a lot of executives in the Warner Bros. world who really wish that James Gunn would stop doing this.

DC is a moneymaker for WB

Belloni: But DC has been a very proven and reliable moneymaker for Warner Bros. Discovery. It's unclear whether this new strategy, to mimic Marvel is going to be as lucrative and he seems to think it will, but we'll see.

Gunn has to deliver

Belloni: This is a lot of bluster from a guy who has some good movies under his belt, but hasn't done anything in this job yet. They put a very aggressive timetable on this new slate. There hasn't been that much talent attached to these movies and these projects, but they are laying it out there. And they have, in the writers room, to figure out what this is going to be. 

Now once you come out of the gate, and you start saying that the previous strategy was screwed up, and that you have all the answers, you have to deliver. 

Masters: This is not some new thing and there are passionate, almost rabid fans of the Zack Snyder movies, the SnyderVerse, who are already gunning for James Gunn. 

Will Gunn shoehorn things into in-production movies?

Masters: He also has these movies that can't be just built into his vision. Todd Phillips’ “Joker,” there's a sequel underway for that one. And Matt Reeves has another “Batman” coming. They are calling that “Elseworlds,” which I guess is a way to name a thing that's good for the studio, but is not part of the vision that you are presenting.

Belloni: We'll see if he tries to shoehorn things into those movies that will support the overall DC vision as he sees it, and whether those filmmakers are on board for those additions.

Masters: I think it’s probably too late for the “Joker” sequel, which I think is basically in production. And I can tell you that I think Matt Reeves, who is an auteur director in his own right, would not welcome that kind of thing and will be very much on the watch for it. 

And those of us in the press will be on the watch for it.



Joshua Farnham