DC Studios announces new Gunn-led roster, Safran

DC Studios — the subsidiary of DC Comics, publisher of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman — announced a new slate of movies and TV series on Tuesday that go beyond the stories and worlds of the company’s aforementioned “Trinity” of superheroes.

what you should Know

  • DC Studios announced a new slate of movies and TV series on Tuesday, the first in a block led by new co-chairmen and CEOs James Gunn (director/writer, Guardians of the Galaxy and Suicide Squad) and Peter Safran (Producer, Aquaman ” and “Shazam!”)
  • The projects include a handful of live-action films and animated films and TV series planned to include DC’s core “Trinity” of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, as well as lesser-known characters
  • This new DC Universe does not rule out the existence of other projects, such as a sequel to “The Batman” from 2021, starring Robert Pattinson
  • The purpose of these projects, Gunn said, is to allow creators to showcase their styles — a frequent criticism of the films created by DC’s main rival, Marvel

Recently hired co-chairmen and CEOs James Gunn – the director best known for his turns with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy series and DC’s Suicide Squad – and Peter Safran – a producer who has helped helm some of the more successful recent DC film entries, such as Aquaman and Shazam!—helped guide the announcement, teasing multiple universes of adult fare and children’s animation alongside the mainline DC Universe offerings.

“What we’re doing with the DCU is we have animation tied directly to live action,” Gunn said in the company’s announcement. “Television, movies and games are intertwined in the same universe.”

Some of the projects, like the HBO Max series “Waller” — in which Viola Davis will reprise her role as Amanda Waller from the “Suicide Squad” franchise — carry over from recent projects like the hit series “Peacemaker.”

Others, such as the live-action films “Superman: Legacy,” “Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow” and “The Brave and the Bold,” centered on Batman and Robin, and the Wonder Woman prequel HBO Max series “Paradise Lost” are tune in for a fresh look at long-loved characters in the Justice League universe.

The announced lineup also makes a foray into Gunn’s specialty: teams of underutilized, misfit players.

The Creature Commandos animated series employs a handful of heroes (Rick Flagg, Sr. and Nina Mazursky and GI Robot), villains (Doctor Phosphorous), monsters (Eric Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein) and weirdos (Weasel, recently seen briefly in ” The Suicide Squad”). The live-action film The Authority brings together a handful of morally gray, by-any-means superheroes from DC’s Wildstorm comics imprint. The preview image includes glimpses of Midnighter and Apollo (Batman and Superman counterparts romantically intertwined), among others.

Other projects take a peek at long-loved DC characters like the intergalactic cops of the Green Lantern Corps, lovable loser Booster Gold, and the anthropomorphic plant elemental Swamp Thing.

“We’re coming into a world where superheroes exist and have existed for a while in one form or another, and that’s the universe,” Gunn said. “We’re telling a big, huge central story that’s like Marvel, except I think we’re a lot more planned than Marvel from the beginning because we’ve assembled a group of writers to craft the whole story.”

Many of the projects announced Tuesday are in the works in some form, “but we remain flexible and we will adjust because we will never put a project into production until the script is right,” Safran said. “This is a general timeline, but there will be flexibility in it.”

DC also clarified that the DC Universe list announced Tuesday is not the end-all, be-all and doesn’t rule out other projects, such as a 2022 sequel to Robert Pattinson’s Batman — which was explained as part of a separate universe ” Elseworlds’, separate from the new offerings.

And while Gunn and Safran will steer the ship, they plan to allow creators the freedom to showcase projects in their own style, a counterpoint to frequent criticism of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“I want each project to have the feelings of the individual artist working on it and give them a lot of freedom – as long as it works – to create something special, because what I found through Marvel wasn’t exciting was when the movies were tonally the same Gunn said. “(T)o see seemingly tonally mismatched things come together is part of the fun of it all.”

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