Up, up, and away: All the new DC projects announced by James Gunn

Up, up, and away: All the new DC projects announced by James Gunn

The new stewards of DC Studios have an extensive plan for films and TV series, from Superman and Supergirl to Swamp Thing and Booster Gold

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Booster Gold (Hi-Fi/DC Comics), Superman (Jim Lee/DC Comics), Damian Wayne (Frank Quitely/DC Comics)
Booster Gold (Hi-Fi/DC Comics), Superman (Jim Lee/DC Comics), Damian Wayne (Frank Quitely/DC Comics)
Graphic: The A.V. Club

When Warner Bros. tapped James Gunn and Peter Safran to run DC Studios, we expected they’d draw a new roadmap for the turbulent comics-to-film universe. Now that they’ve revealed plans for their upcoming projects, we have our first sense of what the map looks like, at least for the near future. This first chapter, which Gunn and Safran are calling “Gods and Monsters,” will include 10 new film and TV projects. Gunn and Safran have said they intend to focus on screenwriting and allowing other creators to put their stamp on familiar characters as well as more obscure ones from the comics.

These titles will exist in their own corner of the DC universe, distinct from upcoming releases that predate Gunn and Safran’s tenure. Still to come this year are Shazam! Fury Of The Gods on March 17, The Flash on June 16, Blue Beetle on Aug. 18, and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom on Dec. 25. Once those are cleared from the slate, the pair expect to launch two films and two series per year from 2024 on. The only DC projects that have broad release dates so far are Superman: Legacy and The Batman: Part II, both due in 2025. Read on for a complete list of all the newly announced titles.

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Creature Commandos (TV)

Creature Commandos (TV)

Image for article titled Up, up, and away: All the new DC projects announced by James Gunn
Image: © 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

This animated series is already in production for HBO Max and will have seven episodes, all written by Gunn. It’s an updated version of a 1980s comic about a group of monsters assembled to fight Nazis in World War II. If the premise sounds similar to The Suicide Squad, that’s no coincidence with Gunn at the helm. The character Weasel from Gunn’s sequel film will be part of the series, as will the father of Rick Flag (Rick Flag Sr.). No voice actors have been cast yet, but the studio is reportedly looking for actors who could possibly play the characters in live action as well.

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Waller (TV)

Waller (TV)

Viola Davis as Amanda Waller
Viola Davis as Amanda Waller
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Another Gunn-related project, this upcoming series will be a spinoff of Peacemaker (which was itself a spinoff of The Suicide Squad) starring Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, the uncompromising head of a secret government organization called A.R.G.U.S. (Advanced Research Group Uniting Superhumans). The show will feature other characters from Peacemaker as well, serving as a continuation of that series in lieu of a second season. Christal Henry (Watchmen) and Jeremy Carver (Doom Patrol) have been tapped as showrunners. Both Waller and Creature Commandos are expected to premiere sometime before 2025, as “aperitifs” to the next Superman installment.

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Superman: Legacy (film)

Superman: Legacy (film)

Superman on the cover of Action Comics #1000
Superman on the cover of Action Comics #1000
Image: Jim Lee/DC Comics

We don’t know much about highly anticipated new Superman film at this point, but there are some details we can confirm—Gunn is writing it and may direct it too; it won’t be an origin story; it’s scheduled for release on July 11, 2025; and Henry Cavill will not be playing the Man of Steel. Everything else (including the recasting of the lead character) is under wraps for now. The film will officially launch the new DCU into high gear. Rebooting one of the signature characters from DC comics was a priority for Warner Bros. even before Gunn and Safran came on board, so expect this tentpole film to be hyped from here to the ruins of Krypton and back.

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Lanterns (TV)

Lanterns (TV)

Hal Jordan and John Stewart on the cover of Green Lantern #1 80th Anniversary 100 Page Spectacular
Hal Jordan and John Stewart on the cover of Green Lantern #1 80th Anniversary 100 Page Spectacular
Image: Neal Adams/DC Comics

The previously announced TV series based on the Green Lantern Corps from Arrowverse producer Greg Berlanti is out; a new version inspired by HBO’s True Detective is in. The show will be “terrestrial-based” and feature Green Lanterns Hal Jordan and John Stewart teaming up to investigate a mystery. Following in the Marvel model, the characters will eventually be integrated into the larger DCU and may pop up on the big screen as well (something the studio has avoided doing with its TV characters in the past).

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The Authority (film)

The Authority (film)

The Authority on the cover of Action Comics #1036
The Authority on the cover of Action Comics #1036
Image: Sami Basri & Daniel Sampere/DC Comics

One of the lesser-known superhero teams is getting the big-screen treatment in a film based on the 1990s Wildstorm comic series created by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch. Gunn and Safran seem to have an affinity for antiheroes, and many of the upcoming projects in the new DCU involve characters that live in the spaces between good and bad. This one certainly fits the mold. The diverse team is known for its extreme approach to crime fighting on Earth and elsewhere in the galaxy. It sounds like Gunn is leaning into that approach: “Not every film and TV show is going to be about good guy versus bad guy, giant things from the sky [come] and good guy wins. There are white hats, black hats and gray hats.”

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Paradise Lost (TV)

Paradise Lost (TV)

Wonder Woman #601
Wonder Woman #601
Image: Don Kramer & Michael Babinski/DC Comics

This HBO Max show will take place on the island of Themyscira, the birthplace of Wonder Woman, and is being described as a Game Of Thrones-style drama with an all-female cast of Amazons. We expect they’re talking about the political intrigue and fighting over a throne rather than the gratuitous sex and violence, but you never know. It will be a prequel to the Wonder Woman films, set before Diana’s arrival. That’s one way to do Wonder Woman without actually having to recast the role.

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The Brave And The Bold (film)

The Brave And The Bold (film)

Damian Wayne on the cover of Teen Titans #89
Damian Wayne on the cover of Teen Titans #89
Photo: Frank Quitely/DC Comics

Once Robert Pattinson gets one more lap in the Batmobile in The Batman: Part II (not a part of the new DCU), yet another actor will take the wheel for the foreseeable future. This will be that actor’s debut. The film will also introduce Batman’s son, Damian Wayne, for the first time in live action. If he’s anything like the character in the comics—raised by assassins and prone to violence—the new Batman will have his hands full with this kid. Gunn tellingly describes him as a “little son of a bitch.”

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Supergirl: Woman Of Tomorrow (film)

Supergirl: Woman Of Tomorrow (film)

Supergirl on the cover of Supergirl: Woman Of Tomorrow
Supergirl on the cover of Supergirl: Woman Of Tomorrow
Image: Bilquis Evely/DC Comics

In addition to bringing on talent with experience writing superhero films and TV shows, Gunn and Safran are also looking to comics writers to make the transition from page to screen. One of them is Tom King, who wrote the comics series this film will be based on. If your image of Supergirl has been shaped by Melissa Benoist’s portrayal in the Arrowverse series or the 1984 film starring Helen Slater, this version of Superman’s cousin may come as a surprise. A hardened survivor raised on a rock chip off of Krypton, King’s Kara Zor-El is far more hardcore than you might expect.

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Booster Gold (TV)

Booster Gold (TV)

Booster Gold on the cover of Booster Gold: Past Imperfect
Booster Gold on the cover of Booster Gold: Past Imperfect
Photo: Hi-Fi/DC Comics

The closest thing to a comedy on the current roster, a new series based around Booster Gold is headed to HBO Max. The character is basically a fraud, a time-traveling guy from the future who uses advanced technology to convince the world he’s a superhero. There’s a lot of potential for the series to go places that other superhero shows haven’t gone before, but it’s all going to depend on the creative team they hire to develop it. The casting of the main character will also be key, as they’ll have to effectively walk the fine line between smarmy and likable. The audience has to want to come back week after week to hang out with this guy.

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Swamp Thing (film)

Swamp Thing (film)

Swamp Thing
Swamp Thing
Photo: Stephen Bissette/DC Comics

Swamp Thing has been done before, most recently in a 2019 series that was canceled after one season (and featured a plot thread about a growing epidemic). There hasn’t been an adaptation that has properly reflected comic writer Alan Moore’s influential take on the character, though. With Gunn’s affinity for horror, this film is primed to go in that direction. It’s supposed to be the final entry in the “Gods and Monsters” phase of the DCU. Gunn and Safran have indicated that the character will eventually be integrated into the wider universe.

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DC Elseworlds

DC Elseworlds

Robert Pattinson as Batman
Robert Pattinson as Batman
Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

There are also a handful of projects in the works which will stand apart from the DCU that Gunn and Safran are building. Many of them were previously announced but their status has been in limbo as the new direction comes into focus. As previously mentioned, The Batman: Part II from director Matt Reeves will be Robert Pattinson’s final appearance as Bruce Wayne before the role is recast. It’s expected to hit theaters on October 3, 2025. Todd Phillips’ upcoming musical Joker sequel Folie À Deux will also fall under this umbrella, as will a Superman film from writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and producer J.J. Abrams. The studio has also thrown Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans Go into this mix for good measure.

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