New DC Slate: Gunn and Safran Share Key Insights Into The New DCU’s 10 Film & TV Projects And Beyond

The pressure is on for DC Studios’ Co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran to deliver with the brand new DCU. James Gunn dropped a six-minute video detailing five TV shows and five films in the first “chapter” of the new DCU entitled “Gods and Monsters”. 

The presentation might have been no frills, but his projects sound intriguing with some new characters few have heard of such as The Authority and Creature Commandos. The title “Gods and Monsters” for this line-up and expect that this title will be a major thematic throughline in this first chapter. 

Gunn promises that no film or TV show will move into production until the screenplay is perfect–throwing major shade over the MCU. And Safran added that the artistic integrity of filmmakers will not be compromised. He said, “Each set of filmmakers bring their own aesthetic to these films, and the fun is seeing how these tonally different works mash up in the future.”

It all sounds promising, and recently Gunn added that the DCU’s “Chapter 1” is more organized and fleshed out than the MCU’s “Phase 1” was in the beginning.

First, we’ll delve into the projects. And then we’ll detail the most recent insights given by Gunn and Safran.

1. Creature Commandos

Image: DC Studios

This title will certainly leave many people thinking–who?

First introduced in DC Comics in 1980, Creature Commandos is a military-trained team of classic monsters. Frankenstein’s monster, a werewolf, a vampire, and a gorgon joined forces to wreak havoc on Nazis in World War Two. In the years since the team has been altered to keep some familiar faces and add new ones. 

Gunn is updating the storylines of Creature Commandos for the modern era. He’s written all seven episodes of the series, which is already well into production. The show is animated which, according to Gunn, is so he can “tell stories that are gigantic, but without spending, you know, $50 million an episode.”

Gunn revealed these characters will also feature in live-action in the future. The same cast voicing them in animation will return to play them in live-action. 

His team will combine the familiar faces of Rick Flag Sr., and Weasel from The Suicide Squad with Eric Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Dr. Nina Mazursky, G.I. Robot, and Doctor Phosphorus.

So far it has only been confirmed that Gunn’s brother, Sean Gunn, will reprise his role as Weasel. But it is also likely Joel Kinnaman will return as Rick Flag Sr. Like Suicide Squad, Creature Commandos is formed by Amanda Waller. Though not confirmed, it is 100 percent certain Viola Davis will voice the part as she is set to return in her own standalone series, Waller

2. Waller

Image: DC Studios

Peacemaker Season 2 is on hold, but James Gunn stated that the spin-off, Waller, will serve as a “continuation”. Team Peacemaker will appear alongside Viola Davis’ character in the show. The series will focus on the consequences of Leota Adebayo exposing Waller’s Task Force X to the world in Peacemaker’s first season.

Jeremy Carver (Doom Patrol) and Christal Henry (Watchmen) will serve as executive producers and writers. Gunn and Safran praised Carver and Henry, with Gunn calling Waller “the greatest show ever.”

Amanda Waller is an extraordinary character in DC Comics, who often has Batman up against the wal. She’s fearless, a total badass that puts Nick Fury to shame. On that note, will she function in a similar role to Fury in the DCU? Seems likely, though she is far less nice.

3. Superman: Legacy

Image: DC Studios

Gunn is writing and may direct this new reboot of the Man of Steel, but no official confirmation has been made. The two previous titles (Creature Commandos and Waller) are meant to be “aperitifs”, according to Safran, with Superman being the real start for the new DCU. “It’s not an origin story,” Safran said. “It focuses on Superman balancing his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing. He is the embodiment of truth, justice, and the American way. He is kindness in a world that thinks that kindness is old-fashioned.”
Gunn tweeted photographs of himself reading All-Star Superman which gives an idea of the tone of this film. DC Comics also posted an image from the comic when announcing the movie, which may confirm the importance of this comic in the new Superman movie.
Because the film focuses on a far younger Superman, the story is unlikely to follow the actual events of All-Star Superman. But it is a seminal story of the Man of Steel and delves into unexplored human aspects of his character. Without giving much away, in this comic Superman finally knows what it is like to be vulnerable, like a human. The release date is set for July 11, 2025.

4. Lanterns

Image: DC Studios

This new TV series replaces Greg Berlanti’s long-anticipated Green Lantern TV series. Gunn teased a show that will bring both Hal Jordan and John Stewart together which depending on how you view it, is either a genius move or a dire one. Typically, Green Lantern fans are divided between either their love for Jordan or Stewart. Gunn and Safran’s thinking might be to appease both, which could backfire. Or they might want to show the strain among the fanbase in the relationship between the pair onscreen, which, depending on how it is handled, could be genius.

Safran made the comment: “Our vision for this is very much in the vein of True Detective.” The space cops are going to be “terrestrial-based” which is considerably different from the Lanterns’ typical intergalactic adventures. Rumors abound that the Green Lanterns will also get big-screen adventures in the future which, no doubt, is when we’ll see them go cosmic.

Safran said: “This plays a really big role in leading into the main story we are telling across film and TV.”

Gunn expanded on what that main story might be: “We find this ancient horror on Earth, and these guys are basically supercops on ‘Precinct Earth.'” Is it the Anti-Life Equation by any chance?

This is an intriguing set-up that brings the Lanterns into live-action DC in an unexpected way.

5. The Brave and the Bold (Batman and Damian Wayne)

Image: DC Studios

The Brave and the Bold pairs Bruce Wayne’s Batman with his biological son, Damian Wayne, as Robin. Damian has never appeared in live-action, and Gunn describes him as “our favorite Robin” and “a little son of a bitch.” Damian’s mother is Talia Al Ghul. It’s an intriguing storyline written by comic book king Grant Morrison, and it will be intriguing to see how Bruce relates to a son that has been hidden from him and trained to be a murderous assassin by the League of Shadows. Additionally, Damian’s grandfather is the famous villain, Ra’s al Ghul. How is Batman going to reconcile that the future heir of Wayne Enterprises could try to kill him? This is exactly what Damian tries to do in the comics shooting Bruce with a gun while referencing the similar fate of Bruce’s mother, Martha Wayne. But who knows what Gunn and Safran have in mind? Expect the unexpected.

And, according to Safran, expect the introduction of the Bat-Family. This storyline has history, though, and hopefully, Gunn and Safran can adequately compensate for why the DCU has skipped the first three Robins–Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Tim Drake–to bring us the fourth Robin, Damian. At least Grayson is almost certain to appear as Nightwing, the main character in the Bat Family. Hopefully, this movie will set up Grayson to become Batman in a future film, which is in line with Morrison’s Batman comic run.

This story covers so much ground and has the most potential but also the biggest pitfalls if the Bat Family is not done right.

6. The Authority

Image: DC Studios

This is a “passion project” for Gunn. The movie is based on a team of superheroes who use extreme measures to protect the planet. The team originated in the 1990s under the imprint Wildstorm, run by Jim Lee, who is now the head of DC publishing and an artist. According to Gunn, the Authority is “a very different kind of superhero story. They are basically good-intentioned, but they think that the world is completely broken and the only way to fix it is to take things into their own hands, whether that means killing people, destroying heads of state, changing governments—basically, whatever they want to do to make the world better. We’ll see how that journey goes for them.”

This superhero team, with their fascist overtones, has been around in DC comics over the past thirty years but is known only to those who read DC comics. They’ve been described as the anti-Justice League, and maybe they may serve aas the impetus for the Justice League to form. 

It is an interesting premise for sure. Although likened to The Boys, Gunn is sure to make them distinctive. He said he’s been “working really hard on it with the writers and we’re starting to put together the entire story.”

7. Paradise Lost

Image: DC Studios

The HBO Max series will explore Wonder Woman’s birthplace Themyscira–a.k.a. Paradise Island. “It’s going to be a Games of Thrones-ish story,” said Safran. “This drama is really about the political intrigue behind the society of all women. How did that come about?”

Gunn added: “It’s an origin story of how this society of women came about. What does it mean? What are their politics like? What are their rules? Who’s in charge? What are the games that they play with each other to get to the top? I think it’s really exciting.” There is some massive world-building going on here.

Is this a limited seeries? Or will it be over a multi-season arc? There is so much potential in this series. It hopes to capitalize on the huge popularity of fantasy series. 

The series might explore a civil war on Themyscira, like the comic series by Phil Jimenez and George Perez with the similar title, Paradise Island Lost. Also expect some connections with the DC Comic series, Historia. Also, there is much potential beyond a first season in showing the rivalry with Atlantis, the home of Aquaman.

The series will take place before the birth of Wonder Woman.

8. Booster Gold

Image: DC Studios

The series will explore Booster Gold, a time-traveler, who Safran described as, a “loser from the future who uses basic future technology to come back to today and pretend to be a superhero.”

Gunn added that Booster Gold has “imposter syndrome as a superhero.”

It’s a modern take exploring a fake and a fraud, who ultimately makes good and becomes the man he wants to be. Many expect Chris Pratt to play BG, and he is a fine choice. But the show should also introduce Blue Beetle.

9. Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow

Image: DC Studios

Superman will not get another origin story, but it looks like Supergirl will. Gunn teases a fascinating look at a jaded Supergirl who is far from how the Woman of Steel was presented on the CW. 

“In our story, we have Superman who was sent to Earth and raised by incredibly loving parents,” said Gunn. “Kara was on Krypton. She was on a piece of Krypton that drifted away from the planet and she lived there for the first fourteen years of her life in a horrible situation where she watched everyone around her die. So, she’s a much harsher and more f*cked up Supergirl than you’ve been used to thus far.”

The story is taken from Tim King’s comic book series of the same name. King has been working with Gunn on the DCU for some time. And his comic series–which was only released in 2021-22–has already become much-loved. It deals with Supergirl’s grief in a challenging and often violent story. But there are some hilarious encounters as Supergirl journeys from planet to planet and culture to culture to find some despicable villains.

Once again, if Gunn follows the comic closely, there is considerable world-building required. 

10. Swamp Thing

Image: DC Studios

Swamp Thing is a tough call–and maybe a tough sell–because there already was a great TV show on the ill-fated app, DC Universe in 2019. Hardly anyone watched it and the show was canceled at the end of its first season.

Safran said, “This is a film that will investigate the dark origins of Swamp Thing.” So it will cover familiar territory to the TV show. This, however, will delve into the horror more. And it will be influenced by the lurid Alan Moore comic series. It is just a beautiful thing to read and gaze at the artistry of the imagery on those pages. 

Could this set up Justice League Dark? If so, will Keanu Reeves Constantine appear to help lead audiences into their first team-up?

More Projects to Come in DCU’s “Chapter 1”

There are a lot of unanswered questions. And Gunn added, “We are actually developing a few other things as well, but for one reason or another, we can’t say them. This is the first batch of stuff, but there may be a couple of surprises to come.”

Gunn has hinted that these ten projects are not even close to being the full slate for “Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters”.

‘DC Elseworlds’ Announced

Elseworld tales will play an important part in this future. There will be stories that fall outside the DCU, which tell alternate stories about popular DC characters, something which is explored often in DC Comics. They will be called DC Elseworlds. So far three have been officially announced to carry that label. They are Reeves’s Batman universe, Todd Phillips’ Joker: Folie à Deux, and Ta Nahesi Coates’ Black Superman project. 
“The bar for an Elseworlds tale is going to be higher than the bar for a movie within the DCU,” said Gunn. “Not that we’re not always going to have a high bar, but it’s got to be something really special for us to tell that story outside of our regular continuity and to spend the money to make it.”

Each project will be connected, but they will not all have the same tone or be aimed at the same demographic…

“We’re going to give every story what it deserves,” said Gunn. “Some things we know. Superman is definitely something we know we’d like to be PG-13, so I’m going to make sure it is. Other things, like the Waller TV show, are a little bit more mature. And we have other things that are aimed a bit more at young women or at kids that are still within this world.”

No Hard Reboot For the DCU

Gunn and Safran sound confident in the DCU’s future. But Gunn in particular has received much criticism for not doing a hard reboot and bringing over his characters from The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker. Two days ago he stated the upcoming film, The Flash, “resets many things, not all things”. Ezra Miller and Jason Momoa are likely to stay in their roles as The Flash and Aquaman respectively. Gunn called The Flash one of the greatest superhero movies ever, and the early word from some insiders is that Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom delivers. 
If not, then there may not be a third Aquaman film starring Momoa. But he might just get to play Lobo, a character he loves and actually looks like! Apparently, he has been given a chance to choose which character he wants to play. 
The DCU could make or break for Warner Bros. Discovery. Will DC will finally get its chance to build a solid cinematic universe? They should be able to. They have the best superheroes in comics. But this could be their last chance to get it right before they lose audiences for a long, long time. 
49 More posts in DC category
Recommended for you
Was Heath Ledger Supposed to Be in The Dark Knight Rises?

Heath Ledger’s The Joker is considered one of the best villains of all time. Unfortunately,...