In the battle for superhero movie prowess, Marvel has been the clear leader, with an expansive universe that’s hard to beat. Rival, DC, has some great films under its belt, but they’ve never quite had the cohesion of its rival. That could all be about to change, with co-CEO James Gunn announcing the new DC Universe that’s coming from DC Studios over the next few years.
There’s a massive amount to unpack as DC Studios aims to reboot and unify its comic universe across film and television. Gunn, working with producer Peter Safran – both of which were hired as Co-Chairmen and CEOs of DC Studios by Warner Bros. Discovery – has unveiled ten projects. Five are movies and five are TV shows coming to HBO Max.
These ten are going to form the core of the connected DC Universe. Additionally, projects will exist outside of this central collection, such as Matt Reeves’ The Batman Part II and Todd Phillips’ Joker: Folie à Deux.
“Here at DC, we have Metropolis, Gotham, Themyscira, Atlantis, Bialya… This is the world that we’re creating,” Gunn said in a statement. “We’re coming into a world where superheroes exist and have existed for some time in one form or another, and that’s the universe. We are telling a big, huge central story that is like Marvel, except that I think we’re a lot more planned out than Marvel from the beginning because we’ve gotten a group of writers together to work the story out completely.”
Let’s get started on all these exciting projects.
So, the big one, Superman himself. There’s been quite a furore around previous Superman actor Henry Cavill being dumped but now things start to make sense. It won’t be an origin story, thankfully, with Gunn currently writing the movie.
“It focuses on Superman balancing his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing,” said Safran. “He is the embodiment of truth, justice and the American way. He is kindness in a world that thinks of kindness as old-fashioned.”
Safran hopes Gunn will also direct it. Superman: Legacy will need a good director as it marks the official launch of the DCU when it lands on 11th July 2025.
Less well-known is an ensemble called The Authority. They don’t offer the same idealism as Superman, taking a far more “the-ends-justify-the-means” stance to saving the world.
“The Authority’s a very different kind of superhero story,” Gunn explains. “They are basically good-intentioned, but they think that the world is completely broken and the only way to fix it is to take things into their own hands, whether that means killing people, destroying heads of state, changing governments—basically, whatever they want to do to make the world better.”
There’s no current release window for The Authority yet.
The Brave and the Bold
Now it’s time for DC’s next major character Batman. The Brave and the Bold will introduce a brand-new Batman for the DCU, separate from Robert Pattinson and his upcoming movie; The Batman – Part II.
For this project, we’ll get to see more of the Batman family. “This is going to feature other members of the extended Bat-Family,” Safran said. “Just because we feel like they’ve been left out of the Batman stories in the theatre for far too long.”
“This is a story of Damian Wayne, who’s Batman’s actual son that he didn’t know existed for the first eight to ten years of his life,” Gunn explains. “He was raised as a little murderer and assassin. He’s my favourite Robin. It’s based on the Grant Morrison comic run, which is one of my favourite Batman runs. We’re putting it all together right now.”
Again, no indication of where in the release timeline the film will fall.
Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow
Testament to Gunn and Safran’s desire to explore new narratives in this rebooted DCU, the upcoming Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El a far harsher backstory. This is based on Tom King (and Bilquis Evely)’s comics from 2021 and 2022.
“In our story, we have Superman who was sent to Earth and raised by incredibly loving parents. Kara was on Krypton. She was on a piece of Krypton that drifted away from the planet and she lived there for the first fourteen years of her life in a horrible situation where she watched everyone around her die. So, she’s a much harsher and more f*cked up Supergirl than you’ve been used to thus far,” Gunn reveals.
Lastly, there’s Swamp Thing, taking a complete left turn to the rest of the projects. Because this with have a completely different tone, horror.
This project will “investigate the dark origins of Swamp Thing,” Safran explains.
Not much else is mentioned, other than Gunn saying that: “This is a much more horrific film, but we’ll still have Swamp Thing interact with the other characters.”
The first TV show on the list is an animated series called Creature Commandos. Already in production with all seven episodes written by Gunn.
“What we’re doing with the DCU is we’re having animation tied directly into live action. Television, movies and games all intertwine within the same universe,” Gunn reveals. “We’re going to cast actors that are going to be able to play the characters in this, as well as in other things, some of which we’ve already cast.”
The Creature Commandos will consist of Rick Flag, Sr., Nina Mazursky; Doctor Phosphorus, Frankenstein—Eric Frankenstein; The Bride of Frankenstein (the lead), G.I. Robot and Weasel.
A live-action series coming to HBO Max, Waller follows up from Peacemaker and will sit between Peacemaker season one and season two. Season 2 of Peacemaker is currently on hold.
Executive produced by Jeremy Carver (Doom Patrol) with Watchmen writer Christal Henry onboard, Waller will see Viola Davis reprise her character, Amanda Waller.
Both Waller and Creature Commandos are expected before Superman: Legacy arrives.
Another live-action series for the streaming platform, Lanterns will feature two Green Lanterns—Hal Jordan and John Stewart. It goes down “a True Detective-type mystery” route, says Safran. The series will “find this ancient horror on Earth, and these guys are basically supercops on “Precinct Earth,” Gunn adds.
“The story is going to weave back and forth between the films and the television shows. Peacemaker is a good example of how that works, and that’s what we’re going to do with this big overarching story that we’re telling.”
This project will now replace the previously announced Green Lantern series being developed by Greg Berlanti.
An origin story based on Wonder Woman’s home island of Themyscira, this will take place way before Diana’s birth.
“This is a Game of Thrones-type story about Themyscira/Paradise Island, home of the Amazons and the birthplace of Wonder Woman,” Safran said. “This involves all of the darkness, drama and political intrigue behind this society of only women.”
Likely the most comedic project on this list, if you’ve not heard of Booster Gold, he’s a DC fan favourite. He’s from the future, using his technology to pretend to be a superhero.
His real name is Mike Carter, and he was a disgraced football player from the 25th century. Finding a time machine, he ends up in the present day.
“I think of it as basically the story of a superhero’s imposter syndrome. How do you deal with that?” says Gunn. It is: “how he tries to use this future technology to be loved by the people of today and what is really at the base of that.”
There was no indication of how far Paradise Lost or Booster Gold were through production.
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