The long-awaited reveal of James Gunn & Peter Safran’s new DCU slate across tv, film and animation is finally here! It’s packed full of some familiar, and not-so-familiar faces including Green Lanterns, Superman, Booster Gold, Batman and Damian Wayne, and so much more! Here is a breakdown of what was announced.
The “Old” DCU & Other Projects
Firstly, what to do with the four existing “old” DCU projects and where they fit in the new landscape.‘Shazam! Fury Of The Gods’ lands on March 17, 2023, and will “move directly into” ‘The Flash’, which is due to land on June 16, 2023. As we had been suspecting, ‘The Flash’ will be used as a big reset button for the DCU, due to it being based around the time-meddling of the “Flashpoint” storyline. Whether troubled star Ezra Miller remains in the role after this movie remains unclear. Next, we have ‘Blue Beetle’, which lands on August 18, 2023, and ‘Aquaman & The Lost Kingdom’ on December 25, 2023. That does seem to suggest that ‘Aquaman’ and ‘Blue Beetle’ will both be part of the new DCU.
“I think that we’ve gotten lucky with the next four movies because we have Shazam, which leads into Flash, which resets everything, which then goes into Blue Beetle, which is totally disconnected (from everything that came before) and can be a part of the DCU, which goes into Aquaman, which leads into Superman: Legacy, our first big project,” Gunn explains. “But the one thing that we can promise is that everything from our first project forward will be canon and will be connected. We’re using some actors from the past, we’re not using other actors from the past, but everything from that moment forward will be connected and consistent.”
On the subject of the other DC projects, such as the ‘Joker’ films or Matt Reeves’ ‘Batman’, they will be clearly branded as a “DC Elseworlds” project, not part of the main DCU timeline.
“The DCU’s a multiverse, but we’re going to be focusing on one universe from that multiverse,” adds Safran. “And if something isn’t DCU, we’re going to make that very clear. So, strictly adult fare like Todd Phillips’ Joker, or kids animation like Teen Titans Go!, we’re going to make it very clear that those are DC Elseworlds, just the same way that they do it in the comic books.”
The “New” DCU Slate
With that explained, we move on to the new projects, which Gunn has titled “Chapter One – Gods & Monster”. There are ten in total, in tv film and animation. None of these projects have dates, casting or production people attached unless otherwise specified. Here is the list.
Creature Commandos (Animated Series) – HBO Max
Gunn: The first series that we’re doing, and I’ve already written the entire series, is Creature Commandos. This is an animated TV series and this is art from the animation company that’s doing it. Creature Commandos is based on the great team from DC.
What we’re doing with the DCU is we’re having animation tied directly into live action. Television, movies and games all intertwine within the same universe. We’re going to cast actors that are going to be able to play the characters in this, as well as in other things, some of which we’ve already cast. I’ve written all seven episodes of this show and it’s in production now.
Waller (Live-Action Series) – HBO Max
Gunn: Viola Davis is coming back as her character, Amanda Waller. This is also going to have some of the Peacemaker team in it as regulars on the show. This basically follows up ‘Peacemaker’. We have two great creatives working on it: Christal Henry, who was a writer on ‘Watchmen’, and Jeremy Carver who created ‘Doom Patrol’. They have this incredibly marvellous story worked out that I think is really fantastic.
This is not a replacement for ‘Peacemaker’ Season 2, it will sit in between the two seasons.
Superman: Legacy (Live-action movie) – July 11, 2025
Safran: (This) is really the launch of the DCU. The first two projects are an amuse-bouche for what’s coming up with Superman: Legacy. James is currently writing it. We’re hoping that he will direct it. It’s not an origin story. It focuses on Superman balancing his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing. Superman represents truth, justice and the American way. He is kindness in a world that thinks of kindness as old-fashioned.
Gunn: With our stories, we want to take it away from good guy vs. bad guy. There are really good—almost saintly—people and Superman is among them. There are really terrible villains like Gorilla Grodd or the Joker. And then there’s everybody in between them, so there are all these shades of gray which allow us to tell complex stories.
Lanterns (Live-Action Series) – HBO Max
Safran: Our next project is another television series. We call it Lanterns and it is starring two of our favourite Green Lanterns—Hal Jordan and John Stewart. It’s going to be with HBO Max, as all of our series are that we’re going to talk about today. It is more of a True Detective-type mystery with our two Lanterns. A terrestrial-based mystery —
Gunn: — that leads into the overall story that we’re telling throughout the different movies and television shows. We find this ancient horror on Earth, and these guys are basically supercops on “Precinct Earth.”
Safran: The story is going to weave back and forth between the films and the television shows. ‘Peacemaker’ is a good example of how that works, and that’s what we’re going to do with this big overarching story that we’re telling.
The Authority (Live-action movie)
Gunn: This is one of my real passion projects. I’ve been working really hard on it with the writers and we’re starting to put together the entire story. This is a big movie. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the Authority. They’re WildStorm characters. WildStorm was a comics imprint that was bought by DC that I really love. We’re moving a lot of these WildStorm characters into the DCU.
The Authority’s a very different kind of superhero story. They are basically good-intentioned, but they think that the world is completely broken and the only way to fix it is to take things into their own hands, whether that means killing people, destroying heads of state, changing governments—basically, whatever they want to do to make the world better. We’ll see how that journey goes for them.
There are morally grey characters (in our DCU), of which these are.
PS: We love that they think the ends justify the means and they’re the ones that decide what the right ends are.
Paradise Lost (Live-Action Series) – HBO Max
Safran: This is a ‘Game of Thrones‘-type story about Themyscira/Paradise Island, home of the Amazons and the birthplace of Wonder Woman. This involves all of the darkness, drama and political intrigue behind this society of only women.
Gunn: It’s an origin story of how this society of women came about. 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.
Safran: The events really take place before Diana’s birth.
The Brave and the Bold (Live-Action Movie)
Gunn: This is the introduction of the DCU’s Batman. It is not Robert Pattinson. It is not Ben Affleck. We’re working with Robert on The Batman – Part II with Matt Reeves, and we’re working with Ben Affleck, who has been a part of our team trying to bring things together and he really wants to direct one of our projects. We’re excited for him to do that.
This is a story of Damian Wayne, who’s Batman’s actual son that he didn’t know existed for the first eight to ten years of his life. He was raised as a little murderer and assassin. He’s my favourite Robin. It’s based on the Grant Morrison comic run, which is one of my favourite Batman runs. We’re putting it all together right now.
Safran: This is going to feature other members of the extended Bat-Family. Just because we feel like they’ve been left out of the Batman stories in the theatre for far too long.
Booster Gold (Live-Action Series) – HBO Max
Safran: A total fan favourite, as you know. A loser from the future who uses his basic future technology to come back to today to pretend to be a superhero.
Gunn: I think of it as basically the story of a superhero’s imposter syndrome. How do you deal with that? (It’s about) how he tries to use this future technology to be loved by the people of today and what is really at the base of that. It’s a character story that’s going to be a very different type of show, and we’re talking to an actor about it now.
Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow (Live-Action Movie)
Gunn: This is based on Tom King (and Bilquis Evely)’s wonderful comic. Tom has been one of the architects of this entire situation. He’s been one of the guys in the room with us, along with four or five other writers. I love his take on these characters. He just turns them slightly to be something very unique.
In our story, we have Superman who was sent to Earth and raised by incredibly loving parents. Kara was on Krypton. She was on a piece of Krypton that drifted away from the planet and she lived there for the first fourteen years of her life in a horrible situation where she watched everyone around her die. So, she’s a much harsher and more f*cked up Supergirl than you’ve been used to thus far.
Swamp Thing (Live-Action Movie)
Safran: The final film we wanted to talk about is Swamp Thing. We bring it up because it’s important to point out that in these stories, although they’re interconnected, they’re not all tonally the same. Each set of filmmakers bring their own aesthetic to these films, and the fun is seeing how these tonally different works mash-up in the future.
This is a film that will investigate the dark origins of Swamp Thing.
Gunn: We are actually developing a few other things as well, but for one reason or another, we can’t say them. This is the first batch of stuff, but there may be a couple of surprises to come.
So that is all the new projects announced. Personally, I’m over the moon about us getting the extended Bat-Family in the DCU, particularly Damian Wayne, based on the Grant Morrison run. I’m also happy to see the brilliant Booster Gold getting a series too, along with the various Lanterns.
Most of these projects do not yet have dates, but we’ll let you know when we hear more!