James Gunn’s plans for DC are bold, bold and without Batfleck in sight – apparently

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So goodbye to the DCEU and all that. Hello to the newly minted DCU, James Gunn’s attempt to transform the Warner Bros. DC comic book saga into what it really should have been in the first place: an interconnected web of superhero movies and TV stories in which the only something far out. , cosmic nuttiness can be found on screen rather than among men in suits.

During a presentation at the Warner Bros. lot in Los Angeles, Gunn and his creative partner, Peter Safran, revealed that they, too, had been amazed at the complete mess their predecessors had made of the DCEU for a decade down “As everyone here probably knows, DC’s history is pretty steeped in history,” Gunn said. “No one remembered the mint. They were giving away intellectual property as a party favor to any creator who smiled.”

He added: “There’s the Arrowverse, there was the DCEU, which then split off and became Joss Whedon’s Justice League at one point and the Snyderverse. At another point there’s Superman & Lois, there’s Reevesverse, there’s all these different things. And even for us. We came and made Suicide Squad and that became Peacekeepers and suddenly Bat is a real thing.”

So what’s the solution, Gunn’s grand plan to change everything up and usher in a brave new DC future? It sounds a lot like a filmmaker’s plans, first of all, to make it clearer when a film is intended to be part of something bigger and when it’s a stand-alone entry that doesn’t need to be spun into gazillions. of additional episodes. Five new films – 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, and the upcoming sequel to Matt Reeves’ The Batman, as well. such as films such as Todd Phillips’ Joker: Folie à Deux, DC entries will be labeled Elseworlds to distinguish them from the main timeline.

Additionally, the upcoming The Flash will be an apex between older DCEU films – Shazam! Fury of the Gods, Blue Beetle and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom are also out in 2023 and involve Gunn and his big plans – and the coming revolution.

“I think we’re lucky with the next four movies, really, because we have Shazam, who goes into Flash, who resets everything, then goes into Blue Beetle, who is completely disconnected,” Gunn said. “He can be a whole part of DCU. [That] Aquaman leads into Superman, our first big project.

“But the one thing we can promise is that everything from Superman on … will be canon and it will be connected. We are using some actors from the past. We’re not using other actors from the past, but everything from that moment on will be connected and consistent.”

Except, of course, the pieces that are not going to be linked because they are part of the branch of Elseworlds films. All almost makes sense, and is certainly less confusing than the old DC approach, which was like a sports team with 11 different managers over the last decade, each hiring players to suit their style of play completely unusual. The result is the terrifying mishmash of contrasting styles that seems to be DC’s story pretty much forever now.

Chapter one of the big reset will be titled Gods and Monsters, and it’s guaranteed that Gunn and his team are not clear of the big tasks they have to tackle if the studio is to get back on track. No DC roster would be complete without a film about the last son of Krypton, and it looks like Superman: Legacy will try to reframe Kal-El as a big blue scout struggling to balance his alien and human nature. Even better, Gunn is writing it himself.

Of course, there’s also a Batman movie, The Brave and the Bold, and this one will be a challenge. Not since 1997’s Batman & Robin run has there been a live-action attempt to bring the Bat-family to the big screen, and we all know how that one ended. The Dublin City University fund will borrow from Grant Morrison’s famous seven-year comic book series, with a special focus on a Robin we’ve never seen before in the multiplexes. “This is the story of Damian Wayne, who is Batman’s actual son, who he didn’t know existed for the first eight or 10 years of his life,” Gunn explains. “He was raised to be a petty murderer and an assassin. He is a little boy. He is my favorite Robin.

Batman holding a spear next to Robin, both in masks

George Clooney and Chris O’Donnell in the highly regarded Batman & Robin game. Photo: United Archives GmbH/Alamy

Ben Affleck, meanwhile, looks set to retire the cape and cowl (again) for the last time after The Flash, although he will be used to lead the new regime. This seems like the right call, as the Oscar winner is up there with George Clooney and Val Kilmer in the race to be the worst dark knight of all time.

More esoteric fare is also on the slate. Swamp Thing, which James Mangold has just signed on to direct, is described as a film that will focus on the dark origins of the heroic hero. Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow will focus on Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El, and is based on the recent Tom King and Bilquis Evely comic book of the same name, a vengeful space western where Superman’s bitter cousin leaves Earth to help foreign woman. Track down the murderers who killed her father.

The Authority will adapt Wildstorm Comics’ team of “cynical, brutally pragmatic superheroes” known for a rather aggressive and no-nonsense approach to the whole “protect the Earth” fandango. Gunn is clearly excited at the prospect of bringing an ensemble often referred to as the Anti-Justice League to the big screen, though considering how weird the DCEU Justice League has been at times (you’re watching you, Batfleck guns), the person on the street may not notice much of a difference.

Questions remain, most notably: can Gunn really reinvent DC while retaining stars from the various creative regimes that came before him? Viola Davis is staying on as Amanda Waller in the next Peacemaker DCU Waller TV series, and she won’t be the only one. Then again, rival Marvel has had no problem with occasionally cribbing, and somehow retrospectively improving, not-so-good pre-MCU films like The Incredible Hulk – as evidenced by Tim Roth’s brilliantly moving performance in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. recently.

What’s more, this is ultimately an exciting, brave and unexpectedly engaging slate, brought to us by a man who has an immense passion for the comic book universe he’s creating. Only time will tell if he ends up as just another bright-eyed creative brought down by over-ambition and not being able to avoid the corporate forces always working behind the scenes of DC for gold. turning a comic book into a big screen lead. But let’s hope it goes the other way and Gunn is able to push the studio forward as it approaches. Frankly, it’s about time DC got its day in the sun.

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