Can James Gunn reunite the DC Extended Universe?

James Gunn will oversee the creative vision for the DC Extended Universe, but can he reunite an entire cinematic universe?

james gunn dceu

James Gunn and Peter Safran have been announced as the co-CEOs of DC Studios and Gunn will oversee the creative vision for the DCEU, but can he reunite an entire cinematic universe? 

Fans have all but lost their minds over a tweet Gunn posted earlier this week. The image that Gunn posted seems to be a reference to a 90s DC comic Kingdom Come. The tweet was captioned with a cheeky “Making plans.” 

He earlier teased the “Biggest Story Ever Told” for the studio.

But Gunn has a mammoth challenge ahead of him. The DC Extended Universe, in its current form, is fragmented and tonally all over the place. You’ve got the remnants of the SnyderVerse visible in films like Black Adam, but those darker tones are contrasted by the more playful tone of Shazam! and, hopefully, it’s upcoming sequel Fury of the Gods

On top of that, DC has multiple different ‘universes’ going on. Matt Reeves’ The Batman has nothing to do with the main universe in which Shazam and Black Adam exist. Joker exists completely separate from any superheroes, as its own, very successful anomaly. 

But the question remains, can James Gunn juggle all of this and somehow bring this shattered cinematic universe together coherently? 

Is Zack Snyder returning to the DCEU? 

We hate to break it to you, but probably not. 

Snyder, during the press tour for his cut of Justice League, commented that there were no plans to continue the so-called Snyderverse. Since those days, Warner Bros. management has gone through several changes so, never say never. 

zack snyder's justice league

Credit: Warner Bros.

Perhaps the DCEU would benefit from new blood and a change of pace. Snyder’s films are heavily stylised and dark and moody. Don’t get me wrong, so are Gunn’s, but Gunn has also proved able to juggle emotional narratives with the necessary spectacle while bringing a much-needed levity to the genre. 

What’s happening with The Flash?

It seems that The Flash is still going strong and scheduled for release next summer. Arriving on our screens on 23 June, 2023, The Flash stars controversial actor Ezra Miller, who has been in heaps of trouble lately. 

Ezra Miller

Ezra Miller as The Flash in 2017’s Justice League. Credit: Warner Bros.

The recent allegations against them, including assault and grooming minors, has cast doubt over whether the film itself would be shelved all together. It’s still going straight ahead, but Ezra Miller will reportedly not be returning to the role after The Flash

Will James Gunn continue to make Marvel films? 

No. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which just got a spanking new trailer, will be the director’s last Marvel outing. Again, never say never, but for the foreseeable future, Gunn will be plenty busy with handling all things DC. 

It seems that more than anything, Gunn will be tasked to make DC into a similar juggernaut as Marvel, which is currently dominating the superhero market. That includes cinemas and TV with their numerous Marvel TV series. 

guardians 3

Credit: Marvel Studios

Marvel’s approach has attracted plenty of criticisms and isn’t without his faults, but no one can deny how effective it has been. Gunn will need to level the playing field and bring DC up to that level. Whether we like it or not, Marvel has now set an almost impossible standard for the whole industry. 

What does this mean for the DCEU?

Frankly, we don’t know. We can only speculate at this point. 

It’s possible, if unlikely with all the on-going franchises, that Gunn will just make a clean start and create a whole new main timeline. This seems highly unlikely since Warner Bros. just committed to bringing back Henry Cavill as Superman in Black Adam’s mid-credits scene

Black Adam dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam. Credit: Warner Bros.

It’s more likely that Gunn will bring in a roster of new heroes and try to make the current DCEU into a more coherent universe. So far, Gunn has teased Lobo and Mr. Terrific on Twitter but the man loves to tease us. 

Although it’s unlikely we’ll ever see another Justice League film, Wonder Woman 3 is still in development, having been green-lit in 2020 following Wonder Woman 1984. DC has not announced any film release dates past 2023, so it’s clear that things are in flux at the studio, in the best possible way. 

Gunn clearly has his work cut out for him, but at the same time, this gives hope to those who have been consistently disappointed in the lacklustre efforts of such an exciting studio. 

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