A brand new Batman film with out Robert Pattinson (however that includes Bruce Wayne’s murderous son). A Superman film on the discharge schedule (mark your calendars for July 11, 2025). A Recreation of Thrones-style drama set on Surprise Girl’s dwelling island of Themyscira (Amazonian palace intrigue). And an animated sequence already in manufacturing (Creature Commandos … wait, what?).
That’s simply half of what’s going to be coming to theaters and TV screens as a part of DC Studios bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran’s new slate.
The pair have been busy within the three months since taking on and mixing the movie and tv slate of DC properties, together with live-action and animation, in addition to gaming. They revamped the way in which the film and TV sides do enterprise, reducing ties with tasks and creators. A writers room was shaped to search out an general story that may launch a unified DC Universe. Creators have been approached. And a plan, no less than a part of one for what’s being billed as Chapter 1: God and Monsters, was formulated and a slate of tasks put into growth.
Now after ambitiously promising followers that they’d have one thing to point out by Feb. 1, Gunn and Safran have unveiled the primary a part of their slate. It’s a mixture of massive and recognized heroes together with lesser-known characters, who could change into huge, just like the once-obscure heroes of Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy movies over at Marvel Studios. The duo shared their plans Monday with reporters in a petite and tidy screening room on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank.
“One among our methods is to take our diamond characters, which is Batman, Superman, Surprise Girl, and we use them to prop up different characters that individuals don’t know,” defined Gunn.
And continued Safran, “To construct these lesser recognized properties into the diamond properties of tomorrow.”
Whereas plans could but shift, cautioned the duo, right here is preliminary slate of Chapter 1, within the order they hope it is going to seem.
Creature Commandos: An animated seven episode sequence, written by Gunn, that’s already in manufacturing. Initially a workforce of basic monsters assembled to struggle Nazis, it is a fashionable tackle the idea. The voice actors have but to be solid however the executives wish to discover individuals who can voice the animated characters and likewise painting the live-action variations when the anti-heroes to point out up in films and exhibits.
Waller: A spin-off of Gunn’s personal HBO Max hit sequence, Peacemaker, Viola Davis will return because the ruthless and morally ambiguous head of a authorities job drive. It’s being written by Christal Henry (Watchmen) and Jeremy Carver, the creator of the Doom Patrol TV sequence.
Superman: Legacy: The film that includes the Man of Metal that Gunn is writing and will direct, though no commitments on that finish have been made. Whereas the 2 earlier titles are supposed to be “aperatifs,” in Safran’s phrases, Superman is the true kick off for the duo’s DCU plans. “It’s not an origin story,” Safran mentioned. “It focuses on Superman balancing his Kryptonian heritage together with his human upbringing. He’s the embodiment of reality justice and the American manner. He’s kindness in a world that thinks that kindness as old style.” A launch date of July 11, 2025 has been penciled in.
Lanterns: Greg Berlanti’s long-in-the-works Inexperienced Lanterns TV sequence has been scrapped and the duo have parted methods with the longtime DC sequence steward. As an alternative will probably be a brand new tackle the house cops with energy rings. “Our imaginative and prescient for that is very a lot within the vein of True Detective,” Safran described. “It’s terrestrial-based.” It’s going to function distinguished Lantern heroes Hal Jordan and John Stewart and is among the most vital exhibits they’ve in growth. “This performs a extremely huge function in main into the primary story we’re telling throughout movie and TV.”
The Authority: a film based mostly on a workforce of superheroes with quite excessive strategies of defending the planet that first originated within the late Nineties underneath an influential imprint generally known as Wildstorm, run by artist and now head of DC publishing, Jim Lee. “One of many issues of the DCU is that it’s not only a story of heroes and villains,” mentioned Gunn. “Not each movie and TV present goes to be about good man vs. dangerous man, big issues from the sky comes and good man wins. There are white hats, black hats and gray hats.” Added Safran: “They’re kinda like Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Males. They know that you really want them on the wall. Or no less than they imagine that.”
Paradise Misplaced: The duo describe this HBO Max sequence as a Recreation of Thrones-style drama set on the all-female island that’s Surprise Girl’s birthplace, Themyscira, crammed with political intrigue and scheming between energy gamers. It takes place earlier than the occasions of the Surprise Girl movies.
The Courageous and the Daring: “That is the introduction of the DCU Batman,” mentioned Gunn. “Of Bruce Wayne and likewise introduces our favourite Robin, Damian Wayne, who’s a little bit son of a bitch.” The film will take inspiration from the now-classic Batman run written by Grant Morrison that launched Batman to a son he by no means knew existed: a murderous tween raised by assassins. “It’s a really unusual father-and-son story.”
And, importantly, it is going to function a Batman not performed by Robert Pattinson…
The Batman sequel: Pattinson will proceed to painting the Darkish Knight in no less than yet another crime saga film directed by Matt Reeves. That film, the executives revealed, will probably be launched Oct. 3, 2025 and is being titled The Batman Half II.
“2025 goes to be a really huge 12 months for DC,” crowed Safran. “Superman and Batman inside the identical 12 months.”
Booster Gold: an HBO Max sequence based mostly on a singular and lower-tiered hero created in 1986. Safran mentioned of the sequence, “It’s a couple of loser from the longer term who makes use of primary future know-how to return again to right this moment and fake to be a superhero.” Gunn described it as “imposter syndrome as superhero.”
Supergirl: Girl of Tomorrow: Taking its cues from the latest Tom King-written mini-series, this film challenge guarantees to have a distinct take than what most consider when the thought of Superman’s cousin involves thoughts. “We’ll see the distinction between Superman, who was despatched to Earth and raised by loving dad and mom from the time he was an toddler, versus Supergirl, raised on a rock, a chip off of Krypton, and who watched everybody round her die and be killed in horrible methods for the primary 14 years of her life after which come to Earth. She is way more hardcore and never the Supergirl we’re used to.”
Swamp Factor: a horror movie that guarantees to shut out the primary a part of the primary chapter.
Earlier than audiences get to these movies and sequence, nevertheless, there’s a matter of this 12 months’s crop films, beginning with Shazam! Fury of the Gods, coming March 17, and persevering with with The Flash (June 16), Blue Beetle (Aug. 18), and Aquaman and the Misplaced Kingdom (Dec. 25).
The duo are excessive on the quartet, made by the earlier movie regime and underneath the aegis of DC Movies, run by former head Walter Hamada. Gunn calls The Flash, directed by Andy Muschietti, “most likely one of many best superhero films ever made.”
He additionally mentioned the 4 leads of these movies might doubtlessly proceed enjoying their main roles in DCU tasks down the road. “There’s nothing that prohibits that from taking place,” mentioned Gunn.
Amongst these actors is Ezra Miller, the troubled star of The Flash who has discovered themselves in a number of prison investigations, and pled responsible to trespassing earlier this month, however who additionally advised studio executives that they have been getting assist.
Safran mentioned the executives remained hopeful Miller was on a path to betterment. “Ezra is totally dedicated to their restoration. We’re absolutely supportive of that journey they’re on proper now. When the time is true, when they’re able to have that dialogue, we are going to all work out what one of the best path ahead. However proper now, they’re utterly centered on their restoration. And in our dialog with them, within the final couple of months, it looks like they’re making huge progress.”
The duo mentioned their method to casting, whether or not it was returning or new actors. The TV sequence will look to solid actors who can even play the components on the massive display. Simply as John Cena performed the violent determine Peacemaker in Gunn’s The Suicide Squad then within the Peacemaker sequence, anybody solid in Hal Jordan and John Stewart in Lanterns, for instance, will then cross-over into the movies.
“We don’t need the sequence to really feel in any manner like step-children or lesser than,” mentioned Gunn. “It’s simply one other approach to inform a narrative.” (They like having the ability to spend eight hours digging deep into sure characters.)
They usually took on the sensitive topic of Henry Cavill, tipped to return as Superman thanks for a cameo in final 12 months’s Black Adam, however who in the long run, is not going to return as Superman, a lot to the chagrin of a vocal fanbase.
“We didn’t fireplace Henry. Henry was by no means solid,” mentioned Gunn. “For me, it’s about who do I need to solid as Superman and who do the filmmakers we’ve need to solid. And for me, for this story, it isn’t Henry.”
He added: “I like Henry, I feel he’s an excellent man. I feel he’s getting dicked round by lots of people, together with the previous regime at this firm. However this Superman will not be Henry, for a variety of causes.”
And the executives additionally tried to stroll the road of if and the way to take care of actors who stepped into controversy, with Shazam!‘s Zachary Levi being the newest instance. On the weekend, Levi tweeted phrases in opposition to pharmaceutical big Pfizer, recognized for its COVID-19 vaccine, which many interpreted because the actor having anti-vaccine views.
“Actors, filmmakers that I work with are going to say issues that I agree with, and issues that I don’t agree with,” mentioned Gunn, who in 2018 was briefly fired by Disney as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 because of previous, offensive tweets. “I can’t be altering my plans on a regular basis as a result of an actor says one thing that I don’t agree with. On the identical token, if somebody is doing one thing that’s morally reprehensible, that’s a distinct story. And we’ve to take that under consideration.”
Although the duo are working in a single DC Universe, some tales will stand aside. Reeves’ Batman films and Todd Phillips’s sequel to the Joker will fall underneath a banner titled DC Elseworlds, which is able to, simply as within the comics, fall exterior the bigger continuity of the DCU. The Black Superman challenge, being written by Ta-Nehisi Coates underneath the earlier regime, stays in lively growth and would additionally fall underneath that class. Teen Titans Go, the favored and long-running cartoon sequence on Cartoon Community additionally falls underneath that banner, the duo mentioned.
“The bar goes to be very excessive for tasks to be exterior the DCU, the Elseworlds tasks,” defined Safran. “However every so often there will probably be one thing that lives as much as that.”
The duo are placing a premium on screenplay writing, saying that may forestall the dreaded feeling of “superhero fatigue” and likewise give the tasks a tonal and thematic distinction from one another. Gunn known as out the degradation of screenwriters in Hollywood and likewise mentioned that the duo wished to be respectful of the voice of filmmakers they have been working with … up to a degree.
“It’s not the Gunnverse, it’s not,” Gunn mentioned. “It’s received to be all these completely different feels from all these completely different tales. That’s what makes it so enjoyable. The tales are utterly completely different and every has the person expression of the writers and the director which are making these tasks.”
However, he added, “We’re not silly. Not each filmmaker goes to be completely happy. As a result of if somebody is doing one thing that isn’t working, we’re going to be trustworthy.”
Gunn and Safran’s hirings have been the end result of over a half 12 months quest by Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav to search out somebody to steer a display division of DC. In his personal phrases, Zaslav was searching for a ”Kevin Feige,” the storied and profitable head of rival Marvel Studios, who has led the Disney-owned firm a seemingly an infinite string of hits, all of the whereas telling a unified and interconnected story. Gunn turned an A-list filmmaker underneath Feige, who employed him to direct 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, however he was fast to notice this isn’t a Marvel redux: “Lots of people are pondering that is Marvel 2.0. It’s not.”
“Zaslav had a imaginative and prescient in thoughts of a standalone studio that may have every little thing DC centralized,” mentioned Safran. “And that was the attraction for us, coming in and getting access to any character, any story, and to inform the tales we wished to inform throughout all of the mediums.”
As Gunn mentioned, “the historical past of DC is fairly tousled,” referring to the turmoil and dysconnectivity that has roiled DC plans of Warner Bros. Footage for the final dozen or so years. There was filmmaker Zack Snyder’s multi-movie universe that sputtered half manner by. There was an tried course correction by Joss Whedon, that possibly made issues worse. There the a number of modifications in studio management and possession. And there was the Arrowverse, the profitable if area of interest TV facet of DC that aired for over a decade on the CW.
“Nobody was minding the mint,” says Gunn. “They have been freely giving IP like they have been get together favors at any creator who smiled at them.”
For Gunn, being handed the keys to a comic book e book universe are like one thing out of a childhood dream.
Rising up in St. Louis, Missouri, Gunn described himself as “a misplaced, screwed up child” who didn’t really feel like he belonged.
His father and mom have been so involved that they despatched him to a psychiatrist who suggested them to take curiosity in his pursuits. Which occurred to be studying, writing, and drawing comedian books. In a single try at connecting, Gunn’s father took him to Creation Comedian Con, a giant comedian conference in Chicago. It stays one of the best weekend he’s ever had, a time that solidified a magic and connection to the medium and its colourful characters.
Gunn now desires to carry that magic and connection to moviegoing and TV watching audiences by revamping DC Studios in a manner that hasn’t been executed earlier than.
“I’ve an extremely deep connection to those characters, to those tales, and to desirous to create that sort of magic not solely within the child that I used to be, however within the connection that I had with my father, with buddies afterward,” Gunn defined. “And desirous to create a unified world in DC the place we inform tales.”
Ultimately, each Gunn and Safran know not solely what’s at stake but additionally the big alternative being introduced to them. For Safran, it’s the possibility to affect and alter the tradition, be it the corporate tradition of the way it approaches storytelling to the broader popular culture.
Gunn lit up in giddiness on the pure magic of all of it.
“It is a not solely a as soon as in a lifetime alternative, it’s a as soon as alternative. It’s me, now. Nobody has ever gotten to do that earlier than. And the way might I say no to that?”