James Gunn Unveils DC Slate with Batman, Superman and Extra – The Hollywood Reporter
James Gunn Unveils DC Slate with Batman, Superman and Extra – The Hollywood Reporter
A brand new Batman film with out Robert Pattinson (however that includes Bruce Wayne’s murderous son). A Superman movie on the discharge schedule (mark your calendars for July 11, 2025). A Recreation of Thrones-style drama set on Marvel Girl’s house island of Themyscira (Amazonian palace intrigue). And an animated collection 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 over 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 projects and creators. A writers room was shaped to seek out an total story that may launch a unified DC Universe. Creators have been approached. And a plan — a minimum of a part of one for what’s being billed as Chapter 1: God and Monsters — was formulated, and a slate of initiatives put into improvement.
Now, after ambitiously promising followers that they’d have one thing to point out them by Feb. 1, Gunn and Safran have unveiled the primary a part of their slate. It’s a mixture of massive, well-known heroes together with lesser-known characters — who could grow to be massive, 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 in all our methods is to take our diamond characters — which is Batman, Superman, Marvel Girl — and we use them to prop up different characters that individuals don’t know,” defined Gunn.
Added Safran, “To construct these lesser identified properties into the diamond properties of tomorrow.”
Whereas plans could but shift, cautioned the duo, right here is the preliminary slate of initiatives for Chapter 1, within the order they’re deliberate to look.
Creature Commandos: A seven-episode animated collection, written by Gunn, that’s already in manufacturing. Initially a workforce of traditional monsters assembled to combat Nazis, it is a fashionable tackle the idea. The voice actors have but to be solid, however the executives want to discover individuals who can voice the animated characters and likewise painting the live-action variations when the antiheroes present up in motion pictures and collection.
Waller: In a derivative of Gunn’s personal HBO Max hit collection Peacemaker, Viola Davis will return because the ruthless and morally ambiguous head of a authorities job power. It’s being written by Christal Henry (Watchmen) and Jeremy Carver, the creator of the Doom Patrol TV collection.
Superman: Legacy: The film that includes the Man of Metal that Gunn is writing and should direct, though no commitments on that finish have been made. Whereas the 2 earlier titles are supposed to be “aperitifs,” 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 along with his human upbringing. He’s the embodiment of reality, justice and the American means. He’s kindness in a world that thinks that kindness is old style.” A launch date of July 11, 2025, has been penciled in.
Lanterns: Greg Berlanti’s long-in-the-works Green Lanterns TV series has been scrapped (and Gunn and Safran have parted methods with the longtime DC collection steward). As an alternative shall be a brand new tackle the area 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 should characteristic outstanding Lantern heroes Hal Jordan and John Stewart and is among the most necessary exhibits they’ve in improvement. “This performs a extremely massive function in main into the primary story we’re telling throughout movie and TV.”
The Authority: A film primarily based on a workforce of superheroes with somewhat excessive strategies of defending the planet that first originated within the late Nineties below an influential imprint often 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 versus unhealthy man, big issues from the sky come and good man wins. There are white hats, black hats and grey 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 a minimum of they consider that.”
Paradise Misplaced: The duo describe this HBO Max collection as a Recreation of Thrones-style drama set on the all-female island that’s Marvel Girl’s birthplace, Themyscira, stuffed with political intrigue and scheming between energy gamers. It takes place earlier than the occasions of the Marvel 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 bit of 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 characteristic a Batman not performed by Robert Pattinson. Nonetheless, there may be additionally …
The Batman sequel: Pattinson will proceed to painting the Darkish Knight in a minimum of another crime saga film directed by Matt Reeves. That film, the executives revealed, shall be launched Oct. 3, 2025, and is being titled The Batman Half II.
“2025 goes to be a really massive yr for DC,” crowed Safran. “Superman and Batman throughout the identical yr.”
Booster Gold: An HBO Max collection primarily based on a singular, lesser-known hero created in 1986. Safran mentioned of the collection, “It’s a couple of loser from the long run who makes use of fundamental future expertise to come back again to right now 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 miniseries, this film guarantees a unique take than what most consider when 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 rather more hard-core 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 collection, nonetheless, there’s a matter of this yr’s crop of 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).
Gunn and Safran are excessive on the quartet, made below the earlier movie regime and the aegis of DC Movies, run by former head Walter Hamada. Gunn calls The Flash, directed by Andy Muschietti, “in all probability one of many biggest superhero motion pictures ever made.”
He additionally mentioned the 4 leads of these movies may probably return to their roles in DCU initiatives down the road. “There’s nothing that prohibits that from occurring,” mentioned Gunn.
Amongst these actors is Ezra Miller, the troubled star of The Flash who has discovered themselves on the heart of a number of prison investigations (they pleaded guilty to trespassing earlier this month) and who, in August, introduced they were seeking treatment for “complicated psychological well being points.”
Safran mentioned the executives remained hopeful Miller is 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 determine what’s the most effective path ahead. However proper now, they’re fully targeted on their restoration. And in our dialog with them, within the final couple of months, it appears like they’re making monumental progress.”
The duo additionally mentioned their strategy to casting writ giant, whether or not it was returning or new actors. The TV collection will look to solid actors who may also play the elements on the large display. Simply as John Cena performed the violent determine Peacemaker in Gunn’s The Suicide Squad then within the Peacemaker collection, anybody solid as Hal Jordan and John Stewart in Lanterns, for instance, will then cross over into the movies.
“We don’t need the collection to really feel in any means like step-children or lesser-than,” mentioned Gunn. “It’s simply one other approach to inform a narrative.” (They like with 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 in a cameo in final yr’s Black Adam however who, in the long run, is not going to return as Superman, a lot to the chagrin of a vocal fan base.
“We didn’t hearth 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 now have need to solid? And for me, for this story, it isn’t Henry.”
He added: “I like Henry, I believe he’s an incredible man. I believe he’s getting dicked round by lots of people, together with the previous regime at this firm. However this Superman isn’t Henry, for a variety of causes.”
The executives additionally tried to stroll the road of if and learn how to cope with actors who step into controversy, with Shazam!’s Zachary Levi being the newest instance. Over the weekend, Levi tweeted phrases in opposition to pharmaceutical big Pfizer, identified 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 on account 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 unique story. And we now have to take that under consideration.”
Although Gunn and Safran are working in a single DC Universe, some tales will stand aside. Reeves’ Batman motion pictures and Todd Phillips’ sequel to Joker will fall below a banner titled DC Elseworlds, which can, simply as within the comics, fall exterior the bigger continuity of the DCU. The Black Superman mission, being written by Ta-Nehisi Coates below the earlier regime, stays in lively improvement and would additionally fall below that class. Teen Titans Go!, the favored and long-running cartoon collection on Cartoon Community additionally falls below that banner, the duo mentioned.
“The bar goes to be very excessive for initiatives to be exterior the DCU, the Elseworlds initiatives,” defined Safran. “However now and again there shall be one thing that lives as much as that.”
Gunn and Safran additionally confused the significance of robust screenplays, saying a spotlight there would forestall the dreaded feeling of “superhero fatigue” and likewise give the initiatives 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 had been working with … up to a degree.
“It’s not the Gunnverse, it’s not,” Gunn mentioned. “It’s obtained to be all these completely different feels from all these completely different tales. That’s what makes it so enjoyable. The tales are fully completely different, and every has the person expression of the writers and the director which can be making these initiatives.”
However, he added, “We’re not silly. Not each filmmaker goes to be comfortable. 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 had been the end result of over a half-year quest by Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav to seek out somebody to guide 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 to a seemingly infinite string of hits, all of the whereas telling a unified and interconnected story. Gunn turned an A-list filmmaker below 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 considering that is Marvel 2.0. It’s not.”
“Zaslav had a imaginative and prescient in thoughts of a stand-alone studio that may have every thing DC, centralized,” mentioned Safran. “And that was the attraction for us, coming in and gaining 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 and foiled Warner Bros. Footage’ plans for the comedian e book properties during the last dozen or so years. There was filmmaker Zack Snyder’s multimovie universe that sputtered midway by. There was an tried course correction by Joss Whedon that perhaps made issues worse. There have been 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 had been gifting away IP like they had been occasion favors at any creator who smiled at them.”
For Gunn, being handed the keys to a comic book e book universe is like one thing out of a childhood dream.
Rising up in St. Louis, Gunn described himself as “a misplaced, screwed-up child” who didn’t really feel like he belonged.
His father and mom had 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, an enormous comedian conference in Chicago. It stays the most effective weekend he’s ever had, a time that solidified a magic and connection to the medium and its colourful characters.
Gunn now desires to deliver that magic and connection to moviegoing and TV-watching audiences by revamping DC Studios in a means that hasn’t been completed earlier than.
“I’ve an extremely deep connection to those characters, to those tales, and to eager to create that kind of magic not solely within the child that I used to be, however within the connection that I had with my father, with associates in a while,” Gunn defined. “And eager to create a unified world in DC the place we inform tales.”
In the long run, each Gunn and Safran know not solely what’s at stake but in addition the big alternative being introduced them. For Safran, it’s the possibility to influence and alter the tradition, be it the corporate tradition of the way it approaches storytelling to the broader common tradition.
Gunn lit up in giddiness on the pure magic of all of it.
“This isn’t solely a once-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 may I say no to that?”
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