Let us take you through the big DC Universe news that’s broken over the last week. Watch above or read below!
Warner Bros. is replacing their DC Films division with the newly formed DC Studios – and filmmaker James Gunn and producer Peter Safran have signed a four-year deal (for now) as its co-chair and co-CEOs. The two will be steering the DC’s movies, television, and animated efforts. The deal is effective from November 1st.
Now, what will Gunn and Safran be taking care of? Well, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the outlet that initially broke the news, Gunn will be handling the creative side of the universe’s direction and Safran will be focused on the production and business side of things.
Gunn and Safran
James Gunn, for those that may not know, is a filmmaker who has worked on both DC and Marvel projects. For DC, he directed 2021’s The Suicide Squad and is behind John Cena-starring series Peacemaker. For Marvel, Gunn has directed The Guardians of the Galaxy Parts 1 and 2, as well as the upcoming Part 3 and the soon-to-be-released Disney Plus special, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. His other film credits as director include 2006 horror-comedy film Slither and 2010 vigilante dark-comedy Super, and as screenwriter he penned Zac Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake and the 2002 and 2004 Scooby Doo movies.
As for Safran, he’s a longtime producer whose many credits include Gunn projects The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker, as well as DC universe films Aquaman and Shazam. Safran’s move up in WB likely wasn’t an absolutely complicated deal to finesse, seeing as Safran already has a first-look deal at the studio. His Warner Bros-connected credits also include the films in the hit-horror franchise that is the Conjuring universe.
It’s important to note that Gunn and Safran are expected to continue their respective directing and producing gigs. So plenty of work ahead for these two, and it will be interesting to see how Gunn – in particular – juggles with overseeing so much and occasionally focusing on his own creative WB/DC endeavours. After all, we’re talking a passion for directing, writing and producing.
I should also point out that, under this deal, Gunn will reportedly only be working on films and television series that fall under the Warner Bros Discovery and DC banners. So, that means no more Marvel projects, for a while at least, after Guardians 3 and the Guardians Holiday Special.
“We’re honoured to be the stewards of these DC characters we’ve loved since we were children,” said James Gunn and Peter Safran in a joint statement.
“We look forward to collaborating with the most talented writers, directors, and actors in the world to create an integrated, multilayered universe that still allows for the individual expression of the artists involved. Our commitment to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Harley Quinn, and the rest of the DC stable of characters is only equaled by our commitment to the wonder of human possibility these characters represent. We’re excited to invigorate the theatrical experience around the world as we tell some of the biggest, most beautiful, and grandest stories ever told.”
Going Ahead and Reporting to the New Boss
Gunn and Safran will be reporting to Warner Bros Discovery boss David Zaslav, who moved into the position as DC Films President Walter Hamada exited. Walter Hamada had been president of DC films for the past four years.
According to Deadline: “We hear Hamada knew his days were numbered and that this would be the outcome even before he ever met Zaslav, who has been transparent in his desire to bring an exec like Marvel chief Kevin Feige to run DC across all mediums.”
As for which upcoming DC projects Gunn and Safran will be overseeing, it’s mixed at the moment as some projects had already been coming together before this deal was locked in. Planned Joker sequel Joker Folie a Deux, for example, which will have Joaquin Phoenix with Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn, won’t be under the eye of Gunn and Safran.
It’s also unclear whether Gunn and Safran will have a hand in the projects spawned from The Batman. The Batman director Matt Reeves has a sequel in the works and there are series spinoffs that have been in development. So the good news on the batman end of things is that things are still moving forward there, considering the cancellation of DC projects such as Supergirl, Wonder Twins, and Batgirl. Batgirl, which had finished filming, was just shelved with no word on whether we’ll ever see it released.
But apart from Joker 2 and this Batman-verse, it looks like Gunn and Safran have a big hand in the DC Universe’s overall direction going forward.
So, what does Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige think of James Gunn leaving Marvel altogether to take on a giant gig with the competitor? Hey, they’re buddies, so don’t expect any Marvel vs DC heat coming from either side.
When asked about his thoughts on Gunn’s new role, Feige told Deadline: “Well, he has got a lot of work to do for Marvel between now and May, which he’s well aware of. But after that, I’ll be first in line to see anything he does.”
And James Gunn was asked on Twitter if he hated Kevin Feige now. Gunn’s response:
“Not only do I love Kevin, he was the 1st person I told after I did the deal with DC ( @JohnCena was the 2nd). Contrary to popular belief, a dollar less for Marvel is not a dollar more for DC. DC & Marvel have the common goal of keeping the theater-going experience vibrant & alive!”