DC Studios launches revamped new film and TV universe anchored by Superman, Batman and Swamp Thing – after dumping $90M Batgirl movie and bringing on new bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran
- Studio bosses announced plans for ‘Chapter 1’ of new DC Universe on Tuesday
- Unified slate of movies and TV shows includes Superman film set for 2025
- Gunn and Safran also inherited slate of films due for release over next two years
New DC Studios bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran have unveiled their plans for a revamped and newly unified DC Universe of films and television series.
Dubbed ‘Chapter 1’ of a planned decade-long DCU storyline, the slate included a new Superman film in 2025 that won’t star Henry Cavill, a Batman movie that won’t star Robert Pattinson, and a Swamp Thing origin film.
In all, Gunn and Safran laid out plans for five new films and five new TV series in a presentation Tuesday, outlining their bid to bring cohesion and fresh creativity to the DCU after years of fitful success and some much-maligned duds.
Last year, Warner Bros axed its $90 million Batgirl movie, starring Leslie Grace, with Gunn and Safran calling the decision ‘bold’ because it was ‘not releasable’.
‘It would not have been able to compete in the theatrical marketplace, it was built for the small screen,’ Safran told Variety.
New DC Studios bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran’s DCU slate will launch with Superman: Legacy on July 11, 2025, described as about Superman balancing his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing
Last year, Warner Bros axed its $190 million Batgirl movi , starring Leslie Grace, with Gunn and Safran calling the decision ‘bold’ because it was ‘not releasable’. ‘It would not have been able to compete in the theatrical marketplace, it was built for the small screen,’ Safran said
New DC Studios bosses James Gunn (above) and Peter Safran have unveiled their plans for a revamped and newly unified DC Universe of films and television series
‘The history of DC is pretty messed up,’ said Gunn, who previously directed the Guardians Of The Galaxy movies for rival Marvel Studios, and was tapped last year to revamp DC Studios alongside veteran producer Safran.
‘We’re going to promise that everything from our first project forward is going to be unified,’ he added.
The first chapter of the new DCU, dubbed ‘Gods and Monsters,’ uses some of the DC Universe’s best-known super heroes to introduce audiences to a new generation of characters. Gunn said he worked with a team of five writers to sketch out one connected story.
New DC Universe slate
Creature Commandos: Animated series currently in production.
Waller: TV series staring Viola Davis as director of the Suicide Squad.
Superman: Legacy: Film set for release July 11, 2025. Superman’s casting has not been announced, but Gunn said Henry Cavill will not star.
Lanterns: Series featuring multiple Green Lanterns, described as similar to the show True Detectives.
The Authority: Movie about an ensemble of superheroes with extreme methods.
Paradise Lost: Series set on the island of Wonder Woman’s birth, Themyscira
The Brave and the Bold: Batman movie reboot, featuring Bruce Wayne’s son with supervillain Talia al-Ghul as Robin.
Booster Gold: TV series based on little-known character from the 1980s.
Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow: Movie featuring a ‘much more hardcore’ Supergirl.
Swamp Thing: Horror film on the origins of Swamp Thing.
The first phase will launch after several inherited projects that are set to debut in the next two years – including The Flash, with Ezra Miller, which Gunn said ‘resets the entire DC Universe’.
Gunn remained cryptic about Miller’s future in the DCU following the actor’s guilty plea in a criminal trespassing case earlier this month, saying there is ‘nothing that prohibits’ any previously cast actors from reprising their roles in the new universe, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Gunn and Safran’s DCU slate will launch with Superman: Legacy on July 11, 2025, which Gunn is writing, and is described as about Superman balancing his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing.
No casting has yet been announced, though Henry Cavill has departed the role despite a recent cameo in 2022’s Black Adam – a sequel to which also isn’t part of Gunn and Safran’s plans despite Dwayne Johnson’s impassioned lobbying.
Gunn insisted that Cavill ‘was never cast’ in the film.
‘For me, it’s about, Who do I want to cast as Superman, and who do the filmmakers we have want to cast? And for me, for this story, it isn’t Henry,’ he told The Hollywood Reporter.
‘I like Henry, I think he’s a great guy. I think he’s getting d****d around by a lot of people, including the former regime at this company. But this Superman is not Henry, for a number of reasons.’
An uncast in-universe Batman film is also coming at an unknown date: The Brave and the Bold, a Batman and Robin tale inspired by Grant Morrison’s comic series, focused on Batman’s son with supervillain Talia al-Ghul as Robin.
Another planned film is The Authority, about an ensemble of superheroes with extreme methods.
Also coming is Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow, based on Tom King’s comics, and a big-screen standalone for the Swamp Thing.
Television plans include Lanterns, an eight-hour detective series, scheduled to stream on HBO Max.
Other TV projects include Waller, with Viola Davis reprising her Suicide Squad role as Amanda Waller, and Paradise Lost, the origin story of Themyscira, the island where Wonder Woman was born.
The DCU reboot also includes an animated television series, Creature Commandos, in which Waller forms a black ops team out of monstrous prisoners, is in production.
An uncast in-universe Batman film is also coming at an unknown date: The Brave and the Bold, a Batman and Robin tale focused on Batman’s son with supervillain Talia al-Ghul as Robin
Television plans include Lanterns, an eight-hour live action detective series featuring multiple Green Lanterns, scheduled to stream on HBO Max
Another planned film is The Authority, about an ensemble of superheroes with extreme methods
At the same time, the studio will release stories that fall outside this central DC Universe narrative, dubbed DC Elseworlds, as with the comic books. One example is Joker: Folie a Deux, the sequel to the 2019 Oscar-nominated drama.
Robert Pattinson’s Batman will also return in Matt Reeves’ The Batman Part II, opening October 3, 2025 — another Elseworlds film outside the main continuity.
Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates also is working on a script for a Superman project in which a black actor portrays the man of steel, as a DC Elseworlds project.
Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav is hoping to reap the financial rewards of a reinvigorated DC franchise.
The media company’s shares have fallen 43 percent in the past year as the company aims to deliver $3 billion in savings from combining Warner Media and Discovery Communications.
‘The stakes are enormous,’ said Safran, who has produced two ‘Aquaman’ films and two ‘Shazam’ movies. ‘It’s a brand that was in somewhat chaos, and it’s an opportunity to build an extraordinary stand-alone studio.’
Live-action shows for HBO Max include Waller starring Viola Davis (left) returning as Suicide Squad mastermind Amanda Waller (right, from the comic books)
Swamp Thing will get a big-screen standalone horror film as part of the first phase
While Marvel has become the highest-grossing film franchise in history, DC Studios has had mixed results.
A dark ‘Joker’ film became an Oscar nominee and billion-dollar hit, but ‘Black Adam’ and ‘Justice League’ struggled to generate superhero-sized returns.
Four DC film projects that were completed before Gunn and Safran took over the studio will be released to theaters this year: Shazam! Fury of the Gods, The Flash, Blue Beetle and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.
Zaslav cut some costs by scrapping plans for a third Wonder Woman film and a $190 million Batgirl movie that was headed to streaming. The movie division also has cut jobs in marketing and distribution.
Safran said the film had ‘a lot of incredibly talented people in front of and behidn teh camera’ but it was ‘not releasable’.
‘I actually think that Zaslave and the team made a very bold and courageous decision to cancel it because it would have hurt DC. It would have hurt those people involved,’ he told Variety.
‘It would not have been able to compete in the theatrical marketplace, it was built for the small screen. So, again, I think it was not an easy decision, but they made the right decision by shelving it.’
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