After having an appetite for destruction including a host of controversial cancellations, it seems Warners Discovery are finally ready to solidify some of its reconstruction of the on-screen DC universe. Well, probably… because all the following information is the new plan, though one could be forgiven for speculating on the strength of recent seismic u-turns that some of the details may still change before everything’s done…
In recent weeks, it seemed that Henry Cavill as Superman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam were either out as their characters or at least all the previous plans were put on enough ice to build a new Fortress of Solitude, though the new controllers of all things DC on the screen James Gunn and Peter Safran now seemed to suggest Gadot might reappear.
There are movies, made under the previous leadership that will still be released this year. Those are Shazam! Fury of the Gods (which reaches cinemas on 17th March) and The Flash (set to arrive 16th July). The latter has had a whole slew of troubles given changed release dates and the trouble that its star Ezra Miller has had with the law. However, it seems that Warners has always considered The Flash‘s release a priority and despite rumours has never really thought of pulling it from the schedule as it is the key to ‘changing everything’ about the DC movie universe going forward. That being said, Gunn also claimed that there was no reason that Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, and Zachary Levi’s Shazam couldn’t be part of that… so make of that what you will.
The first phase or ‘Chapter One‘ has an umbrella title of ‘Gods and Monsters‘ and is due to be rolled out over five movies between 2025-2027. It includes the James Gunn-penned Superman Legacy which is described as not an ‘origin’ story but the film that sets out the new DCU, a new Batman and Robin title called The Brave and the Bold, one that will feature Bruce Wayne and his son Damien as a version of that dynamic duo based on Grant Morrison’s comics run), a Swamp Thing movie and other films featuring Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow (based on Tom King’s comic book series from 2022) and the more subversive, cult team The Authority.
The tv part of the equation will include the animated Creature Commandos ( to be written by Gunn), a Peacemaker spin-off live action series featuring Viola Davis reprising the role of the duplicitous Waller with Viola Davis and many of the Peacemaker cast (though Peacemaker itself won’t get a second season), a Lanterns series (featuring, the characters of Hal Jordan and John Stewart with a True Detective vibe), a Booster Gold show and Paradise Lost. ( a ‘…Games of Thrones-ish story about Themyscira, the home of the Amazons and the birthplace of Wonder Woman…’ but set before her birth).
“One of our strategies is that we take our diamond characters — Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman– and we use that to help prop up other characters that people don’t know. Like what happened with the Guardians (of the Galaxy) in some way. Like taking teams like The Authority, which is I know is just as spectacular idea for a film that is completely different take on superheroes. Because it’s really connected to Superman. It’s about to use those well-known properties to help lead into lesser known properties,” said Gunn in a statement. “We’re going to promise that everything from our first project forward is going to be unified.”
It’s worth noting that beyond the above credits, very little is officially known about the writers, directors or actors involved with each of the projects.
Though we know that one of Gunn’s criticisms is that the DCU lacked any real cohesion and idea of a shared reality, Gunn and Safran have said that they are happy for the likes of high-profile projects such as Todd Phillips’ sequel Joker: Folie a Deux, Matt Reeves’ Batman sequel and HBO Max‘s Penguin series to continue, but they will be labelled as ‘Elseworld‘ stories – ie: those that specifically are not part of the main DC movie universe being created.
“People have become beholden to dates, to holding dates, to getting movies made no matter what,” Gunn explained. “At the end of the day, I’m a writer at my heart, and we’re not going to be making movies before the screenplay is finished. And if that means our plan has to shift a little bit–it’s going to happen, we know it’s going to happen…we’re not going to be making movies and putting hundreds of millions of dollars in a film where a screenplay is only two-thirds of the way done and we have to finish it while we’re making the movie…”
Gunn also underlined several key ‘rules’ going forward: That anyone cast on the DC TV side as a character will also respectively play that character on the film side, so there won’t be contradictions and that, despite the rumours regarding Jason Momoa, no actor will be actively playing more than one main part. However, slightly complicating the mandates once again Gunn and Safran have indicated The CW‘s Lois and Superman may yet run fior two more seasons… though that would likely mean it ends ahead of the movie reboots.