Meet the new guardians of the DC galaxy.
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn and producer Peter Safran have been hired to oversee the DC film franchise, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
They'll be getting the titles of co-chairs and co-CEOs of DC Studios, replacing Walter Hamada, who recently departed as president of DC Films. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said Gunn and Safran will be tasked with "overseeing the creative direction" of the DC universe and developing a "long-term strategy across film, TV, and animation." Gunn and Safran said they're "honored to be the stewards of these DC characters we've loved since we were children." Safran has produced several DC films, including Aquaman and The Suicide Squad.
The shock announcement came after it was reported that Zaslav was searching for new leadership at DC, which has struggled to compete with Marvel over the past decade. But the final choice was surprising on a number of levels. For one, the Reporter described it as "unprecedented" that a director was hired for this key executive position.
But there's also the fact that Gunn is best known for his work with DC's rival Marvel, having directed the Guardians of the Galaxy films. In 2018, he was fired from the third Guardians over controversial tweets, for which he apologized. Disney, which owns Marvel, later re-hired him, and he directed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, scheduled for release in May 2023.
But the Marvel firing gave DC an opportunity to hire Gunn for 2021's The Suicide Squad and its spin-off series Peacemaker — meaning he may never have gotten this top Hollywood gig had the controversy over his tweets never happened.
Gunn and Safran will be assuming their positions effective Nov. 1. The announcement came just hours after the trailer Gunn's new Marvel project, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, was released.