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As James Gunn Takes Over, The Future Of DC Movies, TV And Animation Suddenly Seems A Little Brighter

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The future of DC’s film and television efforts looks a little brighter all of a sudden.

Guardians of the Galaxy and Suicide Squad director James Gunn has been tapped to lead creative efforts at the newly formed DC Studios (which is replacing DC Films) while his long-time collaborator, producer Peter Safran, will be in charge of the production and business side of things.

The pair will be in charge of DC’s upcoming film, TV and animation projects, replacing DC Films boss Walter Hamada.

The Hollywood Reporter reports:

“In a stunning turn of events, filmmaker james gunn and producer Peter Safran have been tapped to lead DC’s film, TV and animation efforts as co-chairs and co-CEOs of DC Studios, a newly formed division at Warner Bros. that will replace DC Films.

“The unprecedented move, in which a top director will assume a top executive post, marks the end of a months-long search by Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav to replace DC Films boss Walter Hamada, who departed the studio last week. That search had all of Hollywood guessing and playing executive bingo for who would land one of the most coveted — and challenging — jobs in town.”

It really is a “stunning” twist to this story, and something that fans of all things DC should be pleased to learn. Placing a creative like Gunn in charge is an unexpected move, but one that could pay dividends.

Warner Bros. has not exactly knocked it out of the park when it comes to the DC Extended Universe, especially compared to Marvel’s wildly successful MCU. Some of the best content that’s come out of DC Films in recent years has been thanks to Gunn’s involvement, including the rebooted Suicide Squad and the surprisingly excellent Peacemaker HBO TV series starring John Cena.

The animated harley quinn has also been a massive success, and given Gunn’s involvement in the Suicide Squad it seems likely we’ll get lots more of the anti-heroin’s antics going forward. (She’s even namedropped in Gunn and Safran’s statement below, alongside Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman—but not Peacemaker!)

Just how much of DC’s film, TV and animation projects will fall under Gunn and Safran’s purview remains to be seen. Unlike Marvel’s MCU—which is finally absorbing the X-Men and the Fantastic Four thanks to Disney’s acquisition of Fox—DC is a bit more byzantine, though it sounds like that will slowly start to change going forward. Here’s THR again:

“Unlike Marvel Studios, DC has multiple films set in separate creative universes, and according to sources, Joker filmmaker Todd Phillips’ work on the upcoming sequel, which goes into production later this year, will not fall under Gunn and Safran’s purview and instead will be overseen by De Luca and Abdy. Matt Reeves, who worked under Hamada, has a budding universe based on his The Batman movie. It is unclear under whose purview Reeves’ future projects would fall, but everything else moving forward would be under Gunn and Safran’s.”

In some ways, having these other projects outside of the DCEU has been a blessing. Joker is the best DC movie since Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, untainted by any need to connect to any other DC film. And while Matt Reeves’s The Batman was about 45 minutes too long and three shades too dimly lit, it was still nice to get a Batman story set outside the DCEU. I’ve been arguing for a separate Gotham-centric film and TV universe for ages now. Make it so.

“We’re honored to be the stewards of these DC characters we’ve loved since we were children,” Gunn and Safran said in a statement. “We look forward to collaborating with the most talented writers, directors, and actors in the world to create an integrated, multilayered universe that still allows for the individual expression of the artists involved. Our commitment to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Harley Quinn, and the rest of the DC stable of characters is only equaled by our commitment to the wonder of human possibility these characters represent. We’re excited to invigorate the theatrical experience around the world as we tell some of the biggest, most beautiful, and grandest stories ever told.”

The future of DC’s film, TV and animation certainly seems brighter, though it’s impossible to say exactly how Gunn and Safran will shake things up. Given just how lackluster so many recent DCEU films have been—including the disappointing black adamI’d say they can only go up from here.

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