After several months of searching, Warner Brothers/Discovery CEO David Zaslav has selected director James Gunn (The Suicide Squad, Guardians of the Galaxy) and producer Peter Safran (Peacemaker, Aquaman) to co-run the newly branded DC Studios. In what is shocking news, many executives around Hollywood hesitated to take the job due to the cancelation of Batgirl in August. The cancelation led DC Films (now titled DC Studios) head Walter Hamada to exit the studio.
While DC has multiple cinematic universes going on, Gunn is expected to handle the creative strategy, and Safran will handle the business side as they press forward. The Joker sequel from director Todd Phillips will not directly report to the duo but to Warner Brothers bosses Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy. It’s unknown what banner Matt Reeves Batman universe will fall under as he shapes multiple films and TV projects together.
However, Gunn will still also direct several projects for the studio, including Peacemaker season 2. As they once again try to reshape the DC Universe to compete against Marvel Cinematic Universe. Though it’s not specified, it is still expected to move away from the Snyder-verse setup in 2013’s Man of Steel. However, it should be noted that after years of disagreements, actor Henry Cavill returned to the role of Superman following Hamada’s exit. Gunn’s also had several producing credits at Marvel Studios when they initially developed their cosmic side of the universe, including Avengers: Infinity War. He most likely learned much about the creative strategy behind the studio under Kevin Feige. He will finally try to weave together possible crossover storylines after the mishap that was 2017’s Justice League.
In a joint statement from Warner Brothers Discovery, the two said
“We’re honored to be the stewards of these DC characters we’ve loved since we were children. 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. We’re especially enthusiastic about doing all of this with Mike, Pam, Casey, Channing, and the whole Warner Bros. Discovery team, and are grateful to David Zaslav, whose bold vision for the future of the franchise we share and allows for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Most of all, we can’t wait to bring you all into the story of the DCU.”
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) October 25, 2022