The news from DC this week has been a crazy rollercoaster of rumours, debunked rumours, facts and half-truths, so I wanted to pull together all the reports into one place.
As many of you are probably aware, back in October, James Gunn and his longtime producing partner, Peter Safran, became joint CEOs of the newly formed DC Studios, which will now take control of all DC’s tv, film, animation and game output. This was done to (hopefully) sort out the tangled mess of disconnected projects and streamline them through one unified entity.
Gunn and Safran set about working on a “DC Bible”, i.e. their vision for this new DC across all formats, but actual news about what was in and what was out from the existing DC projects following their appointment had been a bit quiet. On the TV side, the WBD overlords had already shuttered The CW’s Arrowverse prior to the Gunn-Safran hire, cancelling many of the shows and bringing ‘The Flash’ to an end. On the big screen, the new WBD execs made the eyebrow-raising decision to ditch the already filmed ‘Batgirl’ movie. The bigger question was what would happen with the existing DC Extended Universe (DCEU – aka the “Snyderverse”) films, and would any of the cast transition to this new DC unified universe?
Then, last week, THR dropped an article which made a number of claims about what was happening at DC under Gunn-Safran, but these were the key points:
- Patty Jenkins’ ‘Wonder Woman 3’ is not moving forward and is considered dead.
- They would be “closing the curtain” of the “Snyderverse”, so No ‘Man of Steel 2’, and no more ‘Aquaman’.
- Henry Cavill’s cameo which was shot for ‘The Flash’ movie may no longer be included, and ‘The Flash’ movie itself remains an “unlocked picture” (i.e. they are still making changes to it).
- Jason Momoa could return to DC, not as Aquaman, but as Lobo…
- Matt Reeves Batman universe which star Robert Pattinson would remain untouched and continue as a separate entity.
This prompted a response from Gunn himself, who took to social media saying “So. As for the story yesterday in the Hollywood Reporter, some of it is true, some of it is half-true, some of it is not true, & some of it we haven’t decided yet whether it’s true or not…” He continued “Although this first month at DC has been fruitful, building the next ten years of story takes time & we’re still just beginning. Peter & I chose to helm DC Studios knowing we were coming into a fractious environment, both in the stories being told & in the audience itself & there would be an unavoidable transitional period as we moved into telling a cohesive story across film, TV, animation, and gaming. But, in the end, the drawbacks of that transitional period were dwarfed by the creative possibilities & the opportunity to build upon what has worked in DC so far & to help rectify what has not. We know we are not going to make every single person happy every step of the way, but we can promise everything we do is done in the service of the STORY & in the service of the DC CHARACTERS we know you cherish and we have cherished our whole lives.”
There were then further reports saying that WBD didn’t cancel ‘Wonder Woman 3′, but Patty Jenkins had walked off the project claiming WB execs “…didn’t understand her, the character, character arcs and didn’t understand what Jenkins was trying to do.” This prompted Jenkins to take to social media to call out these articles as BS – you can read her full response below:
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) December 14, 2022
The next rumour to pop up, this time from Variety, was that Gunn and Safran were “exploring the possibility” of folding the Reeves/Pattinson Batman into their new universe. This was, again, quickly debunked by Gunn, who commented “this is entirely untrue,” so it seems the part in the original THR article point about Reeves/Pattinson’s Batman universe being a separate entity from the new Gunn/Safran DC universe was correct.
Then today, Gunn himself released a statement which gave some clarity to what was happening with Henry Cavill and Superman… Unfortunately, it was not the news that many fans (or Cavill himself) wanted to hear…
“Peter & I have a DC slate ready to go, which we couldn’t be more over-the-moon about; we’ll be able to share some exciting information about our first projects at the beginning of the new year,” Gunn said on social media. “Among those on the slate is Superman. In the initial stages, our story will be focusing on an earlier part of Superman’s life, so the character will not be played by Henry Cavill. But we just had a great meeting with Henry and we’re big fans and we talked about a number of exciting possibilities to work together in the future.”
So, Cavill is out as Superman, but Gunn seems to say the actor could be back in some other role or way in the future. Henry himself then confirmed this meeting, although seems slightly more down about it…
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In further posts, Gunn confirms he is writing the script for the new film, which focuses on a younger Superman, but is not an origin movie, and they are looking for a director. When someone asked if it’s possible Ben Affleck could be the director, Gunn responded “Met with Ben yesterday precisely because he wants to direct & we want him to direct; we just have to find the right project.”
So, where does that leave us?…
Well, it would seem that the Gunn-Safran regime is going for a “clean slate” approach to things, bringing in new actors to take over key roles in the franchise. There will be a new, younger, Superman, and given that ‘Wonder Woman 3’ has stalled, and that comment in the THR article that ‘Aquaman’ was done, would suggest the rest of the current DCEU cast would be out too.
Batman is a little trickier, given they still have Reeves/Pattinson’s Batman off in his own universe, however, it would not be impossible to cast another version of the Caped Crusader for the Gunn-Safran-verse. My personal wish would be for an older Batman, alongside an established Bat family (Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl etc…), but we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
As for the remnants of the current DCEU, 2023 will see a number of films drop in cinemas – ‘Shazam: Fury of the Gods’ is due to land on March 17, 2023, with ‘The Flash’ on June 16, 2023, ‘Blue Beetle’ on August 18, 2023, and ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ on December 25, 2023.
So, that is where things stand at the moment. It’s a transition period, which was always going to be messy, and as Gunn said in his post “we are not going to make every single person happy every step of the way”. We’re now going to have to wait for Gunn and Safran to lay out a clear roadmap for the future. Whether you love or hate the changes, on the plus side, at least it does now seem that DC does actually have a map… and a road… and two experienced drivers behind the wheel.