It's a bird, it's a plane, it's … a reboot! After taking over as co-CEO of DC Studios, James Gunn has revealed his plans for the film franchise. He hopes to take the series in a new direction following several poorly reviewed movies and box office disappointments, and his road map includes a Superman reboot, multiple Batmans, and more. Here's everything we know about the new era of DC:
The first chapter of DC's new era is dubbed 'Gods and Monsters'
This new series of interconnected DC movies, shows, and video games is being referred to as the "DCU," whereas the previous universe that began with 2013's Man of Steel was best known as the "DCEU." A priority for DC Studios Co-CEO James Gunn is to ensure the franchise is more closely connected across multiple properties than it has been.
Less than three months after officially taking the reins, Gunn revealed he has an "8-to-10 year" plan for the DCU, and the "first chapter" is being referred to as "Gods and Monsters."
More immediately, DC still has four movies slated for 2023 that were made under the old leadership, including The Flash starring Ezra Miller. That film "resets the entire DC universe," according to Gunn. It has been speculated the plot of The Flash may allow Gunn to move the series in a new direction without completely ignoring what came before. The film involves time travel, so, for example, the Flash messing with the timeline could cause some characters — like Henry Cavill's Superman and Ben Affleck's Batman — to be swapped out for different actors, while others stay the same.
But Gunn said the final film under the previous regime, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, "leads directly" into his first few projects.
A 'Creature Commandos' animated series is in the works
The first official project under the new DC leadership will be an animated series titled Creature Commandos, and Gunn himself wrote all the episodes.
In the comics, the Creature Commandos is a military team consisting of various supernatural characters, including Frankenstein's monster. Some of these characters from the animated show will also appear in live-action projects, with their voice actors playing them on screen.
"We're going to have characters move into animation, out of animation," Gunn said.
Viola Davis will star in an Amanda Waller TV show
In the first sign that Gunn doesn't plan to ignore everything that came before his tenure, he announced a live-action TV series is in the works titled Waller. It will see Viola Davis reprise her character, Amanda Waller, from the Suicide Squad films and Gunn's Peacemaker series. Christal Henry, a writer for HBO's Watchmen, is working on the show along with Doom Patrol creator Jeremy Carver.
"This is also going to have some of the Peacemaker team in it as regulars on the show," Gunn told DC.com. "This basically follows up Peacemaker."
The show will also feature at least one of the main characters from Creature Commandos, who will jump from animation to live-action.
A new Superman movie is set for 2025
Gunn confirmed in December 2022 that he's writing a new Superman movie, which will not star Henry Cavill — even though Cavill just returned as Superman in October's Black Adam via a cameo that was hyped for weeks by star Dwayne Johnson.
But Gunn said this new film will be "focusing on an earlier part of Superman's life," which is why Cavill isn't returning. He provided further details in January 2023, revealing the film is titled Superman: Legacy and will be the "true beginning of the DCU." It will not be an origin story.
"We didn't fire Henry," Gunn clarified, per Deadline. "Henry was never cast. He was in a cameo, and that was the end of his story."
Superman: Legacy is set to be released on July 11, 2025. This will be separate from a Superman movie that was reported to be in the works from writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, though if that goes forward, it won't be part of the DCU continuity.
There will be a 'True Detective' style Green Lantern TV show
Back on the TV side, a new Green Lantern series titled Lanterns is in the works. It's a "terrestrial-based TV show" that's "almost like True Detective," revolving around several Green Lanterns, "space cops watching over precinct Earth," Gunn said. The featured Green Lanterns will include John Stewart and Hal Jordan, the latter of whom was played by Ryan Reynolds in a poorly reviewed 2011 movie.
According to Gunn, the plot of Lanterns will tie into the broader DCU story.
Meet The Authority
A movie titled The Authority will center on the group of superheroes of the same name from the comics, who "think the world is broken, and they want to fix it by any means necessary," Gunn said.
"We love that they think the ends justify the means and they're the ones that decide what the right ends are," DC Studios co-CEO Peter Safran said.
Like Gunn's own Guardians of the Galaxy, these are fairly obscure characters. But during a presentation, Gunn said DC's aim going forward is to "take our diamond characters — which is Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman — and we use them to prop up other characters that people don't know," per The Hollywood Reporter.
Gunn also noted the Authority will be "really connected to Superman" but will also "interact with all of our primary DCU characters."
Themyscira from 'Wonder Woman' is getting a 'Game of Thrones' style show
Next up is a live-action TV series titled Paradise Lost, which revolves around Themyscira (a.k.a. Paradise Island). That's the birthplace of Wonder Woman, which we saw in the Wonder Woman films starring Gal Gadot. Gunn compared the show to Game of Thrones.
"It's an origin story of how this society of women came about," Gunn teased. "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."
The show will take place before Wonder Woman's birth, likely ruling out a Gal Gadot appearance.
'The Brave and the Bold' will introduce yet another Batman
There are soon to be at least three different Batmans floating around in the DC world, but make way for a fourth.
A Batman movie titled The Brave and the Bold is in the works based on a run of comics by Grant Morrison. It's "the story of Batman and his actual son, Damian Wayne," a.k.a. Robin, a "little assassin who Batman tries to get in line," Gunn said.
Notably, the Batman of this film will not be played by Robert Pattinson, star of 2022's The Batman, nor Ben Affleck, the DCEU Batman. Instead, Gunn said The Brave and the Bold will be the "introduction of the DCU's Batman."
The Pattinson movies will continue, but they will be "clearly labeled as DC Elseworlds," meaning they're not canon to the DCU. The same goes for the Joaquin Phoenix Joker movies. A Joker sequel called Joker: Folie à Deux remains on track for a 2024 release, while a sequel to Pattinson's The Batman is set for Oct. 3, 2025, the same year as the Superman reboot.
A 'Booster Gold' show will center on a 'loser from the future'
Back on the TV side, a live-action TV series titled Booster Gold will center on the character of the same name from the comics, who Gunn described as a "loser from the future" who returns to the present to become a superhero using futuristic technology.
"It is basically the superhero story of imposter syndrome on an HBO Max series," Gunn said.
Supergirl will get her own 'big science-fiction epic'
On top of Gunn's Superman movie, a Supergirl film is also in the works titled Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow. It will be based on the comic run of the same name by Tom King, in which "an alien girl seeks her out for a vicious mission" after her planet was destroyed, per DC.com.
"We're gonna turn that into a big, science-fiction epic film," Gunn said, noting that in this story, Supergirl was raised on a chunk of Krypton and "watched everybody around her perish," so she's a "much more jaded character."
Supergirl is set to be played by Sasha Calle in 2023's The Flash, but since that's a pre-Gunn project, it wasn't clear if she'll be brought back for this movie.
'Swamp Thing' will be a 'dark horror story'
The final project Gunn announced in January 2023 is a film based on Swamp Thing, the swamp monster from the DC comics. This will be a "very dark horror story" telling the monster's origin, according to Gunn. The film will be "totally outside of" the rest of the DCU but will "still feed into the rest of the stories," he said.
James Mangold, the filmmaker behind Logan and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, is reportedly in talks to direct.
Black Adam isn't returning anytime soon
You may notice Black Adam went completely unmentioned during Gunn's phase one announcement despite Dwayne Johnson just debuting as the character in October 2022.
Well, Johnson confirmed in December 2022 that Black Adam will not be part of the "first chapter of storytelling" that Gunn has planned, though he said he and Gunn agreed to "continue exploring the most valuable ways Black Adam can be utilized in future DC multiverse chapters." That seemed to suggest Black Adam won't be part of the new DCU at all, but could potentially return in a DC Elseworlds project. But Black Adam's box office numbers probably made that less likely.
'Wonder Woman 3' has been canceled
One of the first major DC shake-ups to occur after Gunn's hiring came in December 2022, when it was announced that a third Wonder Woman film that was in the works starring Gal Gadot was no longer moving forward.
Director Patty Jenkins later denied reports she was the one to walk away from the project, saying it was "my understanding there was nothing I could do to move anything forward at this time." According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jenkins submitted a treatment for the film, but Gunn and Safran told her it didn't fit within their new plans. This left Gadot's future as Wonder Woman up in the air, though Gunn denied a claim that he "booted" her from the franchise.
Some of the previous actors could still return
In fact, the future of almost every actor with a DC role prior to Gunn's takeover seemed up in the air when the new slate was announced. But DC Co-CEO Peter Safran told Deadline that Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa's Aquaman, Zachary Levi's Shazam, and more characters from the old regime could all potentially return, even though they don't have projects lined up at the moment.
"There's no reason why all the people you mentioned couldn't be part of the DCU," he said.
Gunn also told DC.com, "We're using some actors from the past, we're not using other actors from the past, but everything from [the first DCU project] forward will be connected and consistent."
Even though Ezra Miller has faced multiple criminal allegations, Gunn and Safran also sounded open to potentially keeping the actor around as The Flash. "When the time is right, when they feel they are ready to have the discussion," Safran said, "we'll all figure out what the best way forward is."