The DCU, DC Comic’s film universe, has had a rocky past. For years the DCU has faltered in capturing the same magic Marvel blockbusters invoke.
But since the news in late October of last year that film industry veterans James Gunn (writer/director of the “Guardians of the Galaxy”) and Peter Safran (producer of over 60 films and shows) were stepping in to manage DC as co-chairmen and chief executive officers, fans have been abuzz in speculating what their plans for the future are.
After much anticipation and theorizing by the community, their questions were finally answered on Jan. 31 when Gunn posted a six-minute announcement video detailing the vision and slate for the DCU. The new DCU, titled “Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters,” seeks to shake up the superhero status quo audiences have grown used to seeing.
1. “Creature Commandos” (TV)
First in the new universe is “Creature Commandos,” a seven-episode animated series written by Gunn. Originating in the comic “Weird War Tales #93,” the Creature Commandos are a team of supernatural military monsters created to fight against the Axis powers in World War II.
This version of the Creature Commandos is a mashup of previous iterations and even includes new members with the likes of Rick Flag Sr., father to Rick Flag Jr. (leader of the Suicide Squad), Doctor Phosphorus, a Batman villain who can manipulate radiation and Weasel, a human-sized anthropomorphic weasel.
Returning members include Nina Mazursky, a creator of the Creature Commandos in the newer comic continuity who experimented on herself to join the team, Frankenstein, the product of stolen body parts and alien blood, The Bride, created to be Frankenstein’s betrothed and J.A.K.E. II, a G.I. robot.
The niche nature of the Creature Commandos lends itself perfectly to Gunn, with his bread and butter being turning unknown D-list characters into stars that can stand on their own.
2. “Waller” (TV)
Spinning off of the show “Peacemaker,” “Waller” follows Viola Davis’ titular character as she allies herself with the likes of Peacemaker (John Cena), Vigilante (Freddie Stroma) and the rest of Team Peacemaker.
Though “Peacemaker” was written and directed by Gunn, “Waller” will be handled by Christal Henry (writer and supervising producer for the “Watchmen” show) and Jeremy Carver (creator of the “Doom Patrol” TV series). Further details have yet to be told, but Gunn describes it as “a fantastic story that’s out of this world.”
3. “Superman: Legacy” (Film)
is the embodiment of truth, justice, and the American way,” Safran said at a press event, “He is kindness in a world that thinks that kindness is old-fashioned.”
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“The true beginning of the DCU,” as Gunn puts it, “Superman: Legacy” is the first solo Superman movie since 2013’s “Man of Steel.”
Henry Cavill, the previous portrayer of the Kryptonian, will not be returning; the studio instead opting for a younger actor. Written by Gunn, the story is inspired by the legendary duo Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s comic, “All-Star Superman.” Arguably the greatest Superman comic ever made, the series captures the heart and touching humanity of Superman that makes him, well, super.
The film is expected to release in theaters on July 11, 2025.
4. “Lanterns” (TV)
Ever since 2011’s box-office bomb of “Green Lantern,” the cosmic police force has been off the table for live-action. But a “Green Lantern” series by executive producer Greg Berlanti was already in the works at HBO Max since late 2019, and while scripts for a full eight episodes had already been completed, the high budget of the project and the constant restructuring of power at its parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, left the series stuck in development hell.
Scrapping Berlanti’s work, “Lanterns” will focus on famed Green Lanterns Hal Jordan and John Stewart as they watch over precinct Earth. Safran describes the show as being “very much in the vein of ‘True Detective.” Gunn teases that in the series, Jordan and Stewart “discover a terrifying mystery that ties into [Gunn’s] larger story of the DCU.”
5. “The Authority” (Film)
Heralded as Gunn’s passion project, “The Authority” is a movie that looks at superheroes in a different way. Originally starting in the 90s under the name Stormwatch, the surviving members of that team go on to form The Authority.
While this team has humanity’s best interests in mind at all times, they’re willing to do whatever it takes to achieve that, often turning to and reveling in extreme methods of violence.
Team members include pseudo-leader Jenny Sparks, reborn every 100 years and on this rebirth given the powers of electricity, Apollo, essentially Superman, The Midnighter, essentially Batman and also Apollo’s lover, The Doctor, a shaman with powerful magic abilities, The Engineer, a woman whose body is made entirely of nanotechnology that she can manipulate, Jack Hawksmoor, a psychic with super strength and Swift, who can grow wings and claws. Though they were in their own contained bubble in DC comics for a while, they’ve broken into a crossover with a newer variation of the team working directly with Superman himself, a possible glimpse into what could eventually be.
6. “Paradise Lost” (TV)
“Paradise Lost” is a television series centered around the island nation of Themyscira (also known as Paradise Island), home to the warrior Amazons and the birthplace of Wonder Woman, taking place before her rise.
Political backstabbing and power struggles aplenty are expected, and even more excitingly, an expansion into the Amazons. Though not key players in any of the movies, many of the Amazons are important supporting characters to Diana’s solo comic adventure, so an entire series dedicated to them is sure to flesh out and set up relationships. Not only that, but Themyscira itself is a big player in the wider landscape of DC’s Earth, holding immense power as one of the strongest militaries in-universe.
Giving characterization and screen time to Wonder Woman’s ensemble of sisters can only add to the depth of her inevitable origin.
7. “The Brave and the Bold” (Film)
“The Brave and the Bold” will not only introduce a new Batman but also the first live-action Robin since 1997’s “Batman and Robin.”
The movie will delve into Damian Wayne, Batman’s biological son. Hidden from his father until he was 10, Damian trained under his mother as an assassin, putting him leagues above in combat despite his age. Damian’s hyper-violent and selfish nature often clash with Bruce’s (Batman) ideals as the father-son duo grapples with their rocky relationship.
Of the five Robins in the main DC Comic Universe, Damian is the newest, begging the question of how present Nightwing, Red Hood, Red Robin, Spoiler and the rest of the Bat-family will be in Gunn’s DCU. Safran revealed the answer, stating, “It’s going to feature other members of the extended Bat-family just because we feel like they’ve been left out of the Batman stories in the theater for far too long.”
8. “Booster Gold” (TV)
Following the trend of fan-favorite characters, the television series “Booster Gold” brings the cult hero into the spotlight. Gunn characterizes Booster Gold best, calling him “a loser from the future who uses future technology to come back to the present day to become a superhero so that people will love him. It’s basically the superhero story of imposter syndrome.”
Though a bit of a joke, Booster Gold’s main draw is in his eccentric showmanship and more importantly, his iconic bromance with BFF Ted Kord, the second mantle of Blue Beetle. No mention of Kord for the series has been disclosed as of yet, but it’s hard to have Gold without his Blue.
9. “Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow” (Film)
“Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow,” based on the Tom King comic of the same name, centers around Superman’s famed cousin. Although Supergirl is known for her similarly compassionate and caring personality, Gunn’s version will show audiences a bleaker side. He frames her as “a character who was raised on a chunk of Krypton. She watched everybody around her perish in some terrible way, so she’s a much more jaded character.” Not only does the comic boast gorgeous artwork by the incredibly talented Bilquis Evely, but the story serves to further help Supergirl step out of her cousin’s shadow – the perfect choice for building up their distinct identities in the new DCU.
10. “Swamp Thing” (Film)
Last but not least is “Swamp Thing,” a film about the monstrous protector of the environment. Gunn indicated that “Swamp Thing” would be a dark horror story following his origins. This won’t be the first time the nicknamed Avatar of Green comes to live-action, as he was given his own 72-episode television series back in 1990, as well as the more recent 10-episode show on the CW Network in 2019. What truly boosted the character to such heights was writer Alan Moore’s 1982 run on “Swamp Thing,” which defined the character and was also home to the first appearance of the wildly popular John Constantine.
Wrapping up the presentation, Gunn leaves viewers with these final words, his attitude a reassurance to fans that DC’s future is in good hands: “One of the things that’s very important for me in all of these movies and TV series is that the director’s vision and the vision of the writers and all of the creators is unique and something special. Storytelling is always king. That’s all that matters to us, and I want to be true to those stories. I want to be true to [fans] and really give [audiences] something different than you’ve ever seen before.”