Heroes in Culture: New DCU and James Gunn, Bright Future?

Bryan Rodriguez-Velazco, Staff Writer

It’s typically noted that the DCU (DC universe) is as horrible as that one Catwoman movie made all those years ago, a hot mess. Yet, with James Gun now in charge of changing the franchise in its entirety, can this hot mess be salvaged? Ever since the first Justice League movie came out with director Joss Whedon, the DCU has been a garbage franchise. Unsurprisingly, Warner Bros. sacked the former chairman of DC Studios and put James Gunn alongside Peter Safran in charge as co-CEOs of the division. With this in mind, can the DCU finally get the justice it deserves? Gunn himself has just announced how the DCU will work as well as the future and what it may hold for the franchise. With ten upcoming projects, he plans to produce for the next following years. 



As of now, James Gunn has announced that the DCU will have a slight reboot instead of an entire one. This along with the announcement of a phase called “Gods and Monsters” to start the reboot. This phase will include ten projects that are both movies and shows. Meaning some previous movies will now not be canon to the main universe of the DCU. To combat the confusion, James Gunn has said that future projects and previous projects can be classified as Elseworlds projects, implying that these projects will not be canon, but just side works.


Upcoming Projects

Superman: Legacy: From George Reeve, Christopher Reeve, Tom Welling, Brandon Routh, and Henry Cavill, the role of Superman is now ready for a new face. Project details have not been told, but it’s apparently going to focus on Clark trying to balance his human and Kryptonian sides. Mainly building the foundation for him to become who Superman is and where he stands. Personally speaking, Superman these days has not truly been the character we’ve seen in the comics. He’s more serious rather than how chill and charming he is in other iterations besides the movies. Hopefully, this version of Superman will be more cheerful and show fans and non-fans who he really is. After all, the big blue boy scout stands for truth, justice, and the American way.

The Brave and The Bold: The dark knight has always been an icon for superheroes with many adaptations by actors and with many different styles. However, none have truly focused on one main factor in Batman’s character and story, Robin. The only other movie that has done this would be Batman & Robin from 1997, which was a crime against humanity in its own right. Nevertheless, this concept can bring less grit to Batman’s character as the last few iterations have been extremely dark. While Dick Grayson (the first Robin in the comics and then becomes Nightwing) would be the typical route to introduce Robin, Gunn has shocked everyone by choosing Daimen Wayne (Batman’s biological son and current Robin in the comics) to be the Robin in this film. This does pose one problem as this new Batman will be clashing with Matt Reeve’s Batman as the sequel is going to start production later this year. 

The Authority: This is a group of heroes on the more edgy side and isn’t all too known by DC fans. Nevertheless, this group can bring more moral issues into the franchise and dig deep into the morals of heroes. The Authority truly believes in saving the day, but will go to anything to achieve it, no matter the cost. This might bring some conflict within the hero world of the DC universe that will finally be on the big screen. 

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow: Supergirl has been very low on the radar in the film industry with the exception of the CW’s rendition of the character which was a massive success among its audience. This does bring the question if the Supergirl we’re seeing in the new Flash movie will be the same actor for this movie. Sasha Calle seems like a promising new actress for the role. This upcoming film is going to be interesting to see and how it will fit in with the rest of the universe. 

Swamp Thing: What is what now? Swamp Thing has never been a really famous character in the DC universe. So it’s interesting that DC Studios is relishing the idea of introducing him so early into the franchise. The weirdest thing of all is that it’s reported that it will be a horror-like film. This however might bring up some controversy as the MCU already has a similar take to their version of Swamp Thing, Man-Thing. Werewolf by Night which was released last year already has a horror aesthetic to its plot as well. Only time will tell how the DCU will make its character stand out more than the MCU’s and not let fans be confused about which is which. 

Waller: We know and love her, and now Amanda Waller will finally be getting her own television show. Although many don’t actually know her, she is infamous for starring in the Suicide Squad films. Just like her Marvel counterpart Nick Fury, Amanda Waller is a part of Project Cadmus (a slightly evil version of S.H.I.E.L.D). Waller will be a curious show to watch and will have expectations on how they portray her and her group. 

Creature Commandos: What? Creature Commandos will be an animated show following the adventures of the group of the same name. These characters are monsters and freaks bunched up to be a superhero military group, set in the second world war. In addition, this brings new characters otherwise not known into some light. It perfectly fits with James Gunn’s type of projects as these characters are extremely weird. 

Lanterns: After a decade, FINALLY DC is planning to bring back the Green Lantern Corp after the disaster of a movie back in 2011 starring Ryan Reynolds. The project will be a show revolving around Hal Jordan and John Stewart dealing with becoming Green Lanterns. Flipping the tables and being a crime/mystery type of show. Lanterns seem like a very interesting and curious portrayal of the famous space cops. Especially with the two main Lanterns being the main characters, as they’re often switched upon in previous works. However, this can be a slight risk with such a big part of the Corps being introduced early in the universe. With it having a huge presence in the comics, the show will probably have high expectations from fans. Gunn himself did make a great choice to make it a show rather than a film as it allows for the character and concept to be expanded on more thoroughly.  

Booster Gold: The only superhero that is a brand. Booster Gold will be another show and will follow Michael Jon Carter going back in time to become a hero. Doing this can truly bring more comedy to the show after the dark and gloomy phase DC went through. Although he is a hero, Booster Gold is not really so heroic. Hopefully, the show will follow him becoming the laughable hero while also being humble in what he does.

Paradise Lost: A new side to Wonder Woman? Ever since the two movies came out starring Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman has been drifting off into space. While the movies tried to show what life was like in Themyscira (or Paradise Island), it was limited by time. This now being a show, will explore life on the island further. Exciting as not many really know the Amazons all too much besides comic lore.  


New Actors and Problems

With new CEOs at the helm of things, it means new actors for these upcoming projects. Yet, there is controversy that some of the old actors are staying, while some are leaving. The most infamous actor leaving is Henry Cavil as Superman, especially with the cameo in the post-credit scene in Black Adam where fans hoped he’d be back as the man of steel. However, some actors are staying, but with very harsh resistance from fans such as Ezra Miller. They have had a lot of trouble with authorities and have committed multiple crimes for which they have been promptly arrested. Nevertheless, the upcoming Flash movie is still set to come out in theaters this June and could potentially be how the DCU resets its continuity. So, this slight reboot allows for new actors to star and can have a positive effect on the franchise if done right. 


What this Can Bring to the Table 

Overall, Gunn’s plans are ambitious, to say the least. With these projects set to be the new phase of James Gunn’s DCU, can this really save it? It has to if it wants to compete against the likes of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) which is already a powerhouse. With all its failures time and time again, it can’t afford that luxury. So, this phase has to succeed no matter what if it wants to survive. This means giving the fans what they want while also strictly following the original source being the comics and stories within. Both James Gunn and Peter Safran have a lot of expectations to live up to the fans, especially with James Gunn directing blockbuster hits like the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, as well as the Suicide Squad movies. If one thing is for certain, he’s got to hit it out of the ballpark to save this franchise.