Details have finally been released on the TV shows and movies that will form the new DC Universe, which will kick off with what is being called “Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters.”
Filmmaker James Gunn and longtime producing partner Peter Safran, who since November of last year have filled the roles of co-chairmen and CEOs of DC Studios (fka DC Films), revealed the first wave on Monday evening, saying that the idea is to “take our diamond characters — Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman — and use them to prop up other characters that people don’t know,” per Gunn. “To build those lesser known properties into the diamond properties of tomorrow,” Safran added (per THR).
In recent weeks, Gunn teased some of his and Safran’s plan, tweeting that “the DCU will be connected across film and TV (and animation),” whereas up until now the likes of TV’s The Flash (save for one Ezra Miller cameo) and Superman & Lois have been detached from what’s happening in films such as Justice League. (Conversely, the Gunn-helmed Peacemaker not only was spun off of his The Suicide Squad, but it featured cameos from the movies’ Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller, as Aquaman and The Flash.)
Read on for what Gunn and Safran have planned in the first wave of their new DCU…. (And as always, any questions can be sent to InsideLine@tvline.com.)
THE NEW DCU: THE TV SERIES
DC’s TV slate is in all kinds of flux nowadays. DC’s Stargirl recently ended and The Flash is entering its final season next month, leaving behind on the live-action front only Superman & Lois (which has “one or two more seasons” left) and The CW’s yet-to-premiere, Batman-less Batman series Gotham Knights. Over on HBO Max, both Titans and Doom Patrol are in the middle of their fourth and newly announced final seasons; Peacemaker was renewed for Season 2 a while ago, though it’s been crickets since; Pennyworth Season 3 came and went this fall with little fanfare; and the adult animated hit Harley Quinn has a Valentine’s Day-themed special ahead, on top of a Season 4 for which dialogue was long ago recorded.
In the pipeline, meanwhile, there has been a Green Lantern series for HBO Max that recently went through a revamp (new detailed below); The Penguin, spun off of Matt Reeves’ The Batman; the Dead Boy Detectives not-quite-a-Doom Patrol-spinoff; and as far as anyone knows, J.J. Abrams’ Justice League Dark concept. and in early January, James Gunn teased that he was in the midst of penning an “unannounced DC TV show.”
Waller, starring Viola Davis, again featuring “Team Peacemaker,” and to be written by Christal Henry (Watchmen) and Jeremy Carver (Supernatural).
Lanterns, an “enormous TV event series” that follows intergalactic cops John Stewart and Hal Jordan as they uncover a dark mystery. “Our vision for this is very much in the vein of True Detective,” Safran said via THR. “This plays a really big role in leading into the main story we are telling across film and TV.”
Booster Gold, in which the fan-favorite character “uses basic technology from the future to pretend to be a superhero in present day.”
Paradise Lost, which is set in Themyscira, home of the Amazons and birthplace of Wonder Woman, and focuses on the genesis and political intrigue of an island of all women. (It is set before the events of the Wonder Woman films.)
THE NEW DCU: THE MOVIES
Already, Gunn and Henry Cavill sorta-jointly announced that the latter’s run as Superman is over, as the new DCU will revisit the Man of Steel at an earlier point in his life. Similarly, it appears that Dwayne Johnson’s stint as Black Adam will be limited to this past fall’s origin film. And prior to Gunn and Safran taking the reins, Warner Bros. Discovery abruptly pulled the plug on a Batgirl standalone movie starring Leslie Grace that was earmarked for HBO Max and would have, among other things, brought back Michael Keaton as Batman.
Matt Reeves’ Batman movies and Todd Phillips’s sequel to Joker will fall under a banner titled DC Elseworlds, which, as in the comics, falls outside the larger DCU continuity.
Confirmed release dates include Shazam! Fury of the Gods (out March 17), Ezra Miller’s The Flash (June 16), Blue Beetle (Aug. 18) and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (Dec. 25).
WHAT’S NEWLY ANNOUNCED:
Superman: Legacy, written by Gunn and on pace to hit theaters July 11, 2025, this movie will focus on Superman balancing his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing. “It’s not an origin story,” Safran made clear, via THR.
The Batman Part II: Robert Pattinson will again portray the Dark Knight in at least one more movie directed by Matt Reeves and earmarked for an Oct. 3, 2025 release.
The Brave and the Bold, in which the new DCU will introduce its Batman and Robin in “an unusual father-son story” inspired by Grant Morrison’s comic book series. “This is the introduction of the DCU Batman, of Bruce Wayne and also… our favorite Robin, Damian Wayne, who is a little son of a bitch,” said Gunn via THR.
Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow, a science-fiction adventure based on Tom King’s award-winning recent comics stories, presenting a Girl of Steel “that viewers are not used to seeing.”
Swamp Thing, which will investigate the dark origins of… well, Swamp Thing.
The Authority, in which characters from DC’s WildStorm imprint join the DCU as members of the titular organization and take matters into their own hands to do what they believe is right.
THE NEW DCU: ANIMATION
Most notably on the animated series front, Batman: Caped Crusader — which in May 2021 received a series order from HBO Max and Cartoon Network — is no longer being produced for HBO Max (though it continued production while Warner Bros. Animation shops it to other outlets). Batman: Caped Crusader is an animated reimagining of the Dark Knight’s mythology by way of Batman: The Animated Series‘ own Bruce Timm, with J.J. Abrams, The Batman‘s Matt Reeves and Ed Brubaker serving as EPs.
Merry Little Batman, an animated family action comedy, also was snubbed at HBO Max, while there will be no fifth season of Young Justice, since HBO Max had only ordered one season of the superhero team-up series and that original plan remains unchanged.
WHAT”S NEWLY ANNOUNCED:
Creature Commandos, a seven-episode animated show in which Amanda Waller (voiced by The Suicide Squad‘s Viola Davis) creates a black ops team out of monstrous prisoners; Gunn wrote all the episodes of the first season.
With the intention of any voice cast also playing live-action versions of their characters in other projects, the cast thus far includes David Harbour as Eric Frankenstein, a version of the classic monster; Indira Varma as Bride of Frankenstein; Sean Gunn (The Suicide Squad) as both Weasel and G.I. Robot; Alan Tudyk as Doctor Phosphorus; Maria Bakalova as Princess Ilana Rostovic; Zoe Chao as amphibious scientist Nina Mazursky; Steve Agee (The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker) as Economos; and Frank Grillo as Rick Flag Sr.
WATCH JAMES GUNN’S ANNOUNCEMENT VIDEO:
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