tasked with curating DC Studios superheroes movies, James Gunn and Peter Safran have unveiled the first part of their slate, dubbing it “Chapter 1: God and Monsters.” The slate includes TV shows, movies, and some wild surprises, including an Authority movie, a Waller TV show featuring Viola Davis, and a True Detective-style Green Lanterns project called Lanterns.
All told, there are ten projects revealed today via The Hollywood Reporter, and as a comic book fan, I couldn’t be more excited. “One of our strategies is to take our diamond characters, which is Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and we use them to prop up other characters that people don’t know,” explained Gunn.
Given Gunn’s statements on being honest with filmmakers if the projects aren’t working, it sounds like we’re in good hands. “It’s not the Gunnverse, it’s not,” Gunn said. “It’s got to be all these different feels from all these different stories. That’s what makes it so fun. The stories are completely different, and each has the individual expression of the writers and the director doing those projects.”
Comics fans, in particular, should be excited as all hell. We’re getting a live-action Damian Wayne, and an Authority project, both relatively new projects in the grand scheme of comics. Somewhat shockingly, the Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow series is also getting a TV project, and that comic is so new the ink has barely dried.
In general, there’s a good mix of projects that are completely unknown or carry forward characters that are played by the same actors we’ve seen in recent movies. Read below for my thoughts on each of the projects.
Here are just a few of our plans. Up, up, and away! #DCStudios #DCU @DCComics pic.twitter.com/8XNDNLUEPq
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) January 31, 2023
DC Studios ‘Chapter 1: God and Monsters’ Movie projects
Superman: Legacy: The movie featuring the Man of Steel that Gunn is writing and may direct, although no commitments on that end have been made. While the two previous titles are meant to be “aperatifs,” in Safran’s words, Superman is the true kick off for the duo’s DCU plans. “It’s not an origin story,” Safran said. “It focuses on Superman balancing his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing. He is the embodiment of truth justice and the American way. He is kindness in a world that thinks that kindness as old-fashioned.” A release date of July 11, 2025 has been penciled in.
The Authority: a movie based on a team of superheroes with rather extreme methods of protecting the planet that first originated in the late 1990s under an influential imprint known as Wildstorm, run by artist and now head of DC publishing, Jim Lee. “One of the things of the DCU is that it’s not just a story of heroes and villains,” said Gunn. “Not every film and TV show is going to be about good guy vs. bad guy, giant things from the sky comes and good guy wins. There are white hats, black hats and grey hats.” Added Safran: “They are kinda like Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men. They know that you want them on the wall. Or at least they believe that.”
The Brave and the Bold: “This is the introduction of the DCU Batman,” said Gunn. “Of Bruce Wayne and also introduces our favorite Robin, Damian Wayne, who is a little son of a bitch.” The movie will take inspiration from the now-classic Batman run written by Grant Morrison that introduced Batman to a son he never knew existed: a murderous tween raised by assassins. “It’s a very strange father-and-son story.”
And, importantly, it will feature a Batman not played by Robert Pattinson…
The Batman sequel: Pattinson will continue to portray the Dark Knight in at least one more crime saga movie directed by Matt Reeves. That movie, the executives revealed, will be released Oct. 3, 2025 and is being titled The Batman Part II.
“2025 is going to be a very big year for DC,” crowed Safran. “Superman and Batman within the same year.”
Swamp Thing: a horror film that promises to close out the first part of the first chapter.
Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow: Taking its cues from the recent Tom King-written mini-series, this movie project promises to have a different take than what most think of when the idea of Superman’s cousin comes to mind. “We will see the difference between Superman, who was sent to Earth and raised by loving parents from the time he was an infant, versus Supergirl, raised on a rock, a chip off of Krypton, and who watched everyone around her die and be killed in terrible ways for the first 14 years of her life and then come to Earth. She is much more hardcore and not the Supergirl we’re used to.”
This slate should ease minds while also exciting fans. There’s no doubt The Authority is the biggest surprise of the movies and television shows revealed today. It’s originally a Wildstorm project that was not so secretly a take on the Avengers, but what if they were evil? Created by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch, this series has the adult flavor of The Boys that fans seem excited about these days, while comic fans in their 30s will love to see it simply because it’s a nostalgic project that brought a high level of violence to superheroes. Something unheard of at the time.
The Batman Part II is a no-brainer and a sequel we already knew was coming, but it’s nice to see it mentioned. Nearly everybody loved The Batman, and while it’s not necessarily taking place within the continuity of the other projects, we now know it’s coming out on October 3, 2025.
For those seeking in-continuity projects, The Brave and the Bold is where we’ll begin to understand who Batman will be going forward in Gunn and Safran’s plans. It also smartly weaves in Grant Morrison’s Damian, who is a favorite in modern comics.
It’s also reassuring to see that Superman: Legacy is not an origin story. Given we’ve seen Superman’s origin three times in the film, this is a smart choice. It also appears to be focusing on Superman’s conflict as an alien living among humans.
Swamp Thing is another project that has huge potential, and while details are scarce, it’s nice to see there’s a plan with the character in it.
Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow is another example of Gunn and Safran being influenced by modern comics as this will be based on Tom King and Bilquis Evely’s recently finished series.
DC Studios ‘Chapter 1: God and Monsters’ Television projects
Creature Commandos: An animated seven episode series, written by Gunn, that is already in production. Originally a team of classic monsters assembled to fight Nazis, this is a modern take on the concept. The voice actors have yet to be cast but the executives are looking to find people who can voice the animated characters and also portray the live-action versions when the anti-heroes to show up in movies and shows.
Waller: A spin-off of Gunn’s own HBO Max hit series, Peacemaker, Viola Davis will return as the ruthless and morally ambiguous head of a government task force. It is being written by Christal Henry (Watchmen) and Jeremy Carver, the creator of the Doom Patrol TV series.
Booster Gold: an HBO Max series based on a unique and lower-tiered hero created in 1986. Safran said of the series, “It’s about a loser from the future who uses basic future technology to come back to today and pretend to be a superhero.” Gunn described it as “imposter syndrome as superhero.”
Lanterns: Greg Berlanti’s long-in-the-works Green Lanterns TV series has been scrapped and the duo have parted ways with the longtime DC series steward. In its place will be a new take on the space cops with power rings. “Our vision for this is very much in the vein of True Detective,” Safran described. “It’s terrestrial-based.” It will feature prominent Lantern heroes Hal Jordan and John Stewart and is one of the most important shows they have in development. “This plays a really big role in leading into the main story we are telling across film and TV.”
Paradise Lost: The duo describe this HBO Max series as a Game of Thrones-style drama set on the all-female island that is Wonder Woman’s birthplace, Themyscira, filled with political intrigue and scheming between power players. It takes place before the events of the Wonder Woman films.
Shows like Waller are a no-brainer too, since the character Viola Davis has played multiple times is etched into fans minds. She gives the DC Studios launch a much-needed familiarity.
It’s also exciting to see the slate play with projects set in different eras. Booster Gold being set in 1986 and Creature Commandos dealing with the Nazis should give the slate an ample amount of variety.
Lanterns may be the ace in the hole for DC Studios television, as the project takes an edgier and darker turn with the Green Lanterns. Simply titled Lanterns, the show will lean into the detective side of being a space cop.
Paradise Lost is another surprise entry for television since it can draw fans of shows like Game of Thrones while enriching what we know about Themyscira and by extension Wonder Woman.
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