Is Ezra Miller still the Flash? What's the deal with Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman? Everything you need to know about James Gunn's epic DC reboot.
James Gunn and Peter Safran have big changes in store for the DC Universe
This is how you replace the Snyderverse.... with a whole bunch of gods and monsters. Incoming DC Studios co-heads James Gunn and Peter Safran have unveiled their ambitious plan to remake the DC Extended Universe as we've known it since 2013's Man of Steel. And it all begins with a 10-project slate encompassing both feature films and television shows that the duo are calling "Gods and Monsters."
"We’re coming into a world where superheroes exist and have existed for some time in one form or another," Gunn told DC.com. "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."
"What we’re starting with is the first part of the first chapter of our universe," added Safran. "That first chapter’s called 'Gods and Monsters.' Many of the following projects are already being worked on, but we’re remaining flexible and we’re going to adjust because we’re never going to put a project into production before the script is right. This is a general timeline, but there will be flexibility within it."
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
But the duo also confirmed that not every DC project will be part of the "Gods and Monsters" storyline. Enter DC Elseworlds, an already-existing DC Comics label that's a home for alternate takes on classic heroes. Under the new DC regime, movies like Todd Phillips's currently-shooting Joker sequel, Matt Reeves's burgeoning Bat-verse and popular cartoons like Teen Titans Go! will live on under the Elseworlds banner. "We’re going to be focusing on one universe from that multiverse," Safran explained. "If something isn’t DCU... we’re going to make it very clear that those are DC Elseworlds, just the same way that they do it in the comic books."
In a separate press event for journalists, Safran acknowledged the steep hill they have to climb to transform DC back into one of Warner Bros. Discovery's crown jewels. "The stakes are enormous," he admitted. "It was a brand in chaos and it’s an opportunity to build an extraordinary standalone studio with the best IP and the best stories in the world."
The "Gods and Monsters" era will begin with the currently-in-the works animated series, Creature Commandos, and hit the big screen on July 11, 2025 when the Gunn-penned Superman: Legacy soars into movie theaters. Here's everything you need to know about this next phase of the DCEU.
What's up with Superman?
The Snyderverse launched 10 years ago on the muscular back of Henry Cavill, who donned Superman's red-and-blue tights in 2013's Man of Steel. Two years from now, the Last Son of Krypton will soar again in Superman: Legacy, which Gunn and Safran promise isn't a standard universe-launching origin story. "It focuses on Superman balancing his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing," Safran tells DC.com, adding that he hopes that Gunn will also decide to direct the film.
And Kal-El's not the only Kryptonian bound for the big screen. The duo are also developing Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow, the first feature film starring the Man of Steel's cousin since Helen Slater's cult 1984 adventure. Adapted from a comics storyline that originated with writer Tom King and artist Bilquis Evely, the movie will feature a "harsher" Supergirl than audiences have seen before due to her dramatically different living arrangements after Krypton exploded. "She was on a piece of Krypton that drifted away from the planet and she lived there for the first 14 years of her life," Gunn explains. "[She was] in a horrible situation where she watched everyone around her die."
Now the search begins for the performers that will continue the legacies of both Superman and Supergirl. So far, fan-casting suggestions for Clark Kent/Kal-El have ranged from Elvis star Austin Butler to Euphoria's Jacob Elordi, but there's one person who is definitely not getting the gig: Henry Cavill. Last October, the actor announced he was returning to the role after making a cameo in Black Adam, but that happened under DC's previous regime. Speaking with journalists, Gunn sought to set the record straight about Cavill's on-again, off-again return.
"We didn't fire Henry; Henry was never cast," the director said. "He was in a cameo and that was the end of his story. I like Henry. He’s a great guy. I think he’s gotten dicked around by a lot of people including former regimes of this company. But this Superman [in Legacy] isn’t Henry for a number of reasons."
Speaking of ex-Supermen, Gunn also confirmed that Tyler Hoechlin — who plays the Man of Steel on Superman & Lois on The CW — won't be wearing the S-shield for too much longer. "It’s a show everybody likes, so it’s going to keep going for a little bit," Gunn said, suggesting that it might run for "one or two more seasons," which means it would go off the air just before Superman: Legacy flies into theaters.
Even as Superman: Legacy moves full steam ahead towards its July 2025 release, another Superman project is waiting in the wings. Gunn and Safran noted that J.J. Abrams's long-gestating "Black Superman" project remains in development with Ta-Nehisi Coates still writing the script. If and when that movie gets the greenlight, that Man of Steel will join Joaquin Phoenix's Clown Prince of Crime and Robert Pattinson's emo-Batman in the Elseworlds bucket.
Sad Henry Cavill is not Superman anymore but if it means @ZackSnyder casting choices, snyderverse and hamadaverse are all gone then good. @wbd and @JamesGunn can start fresh with mentally stable actors who look the part and create a new DC world with no old verse legacy issues,
— Samuel A Gill (@samuelagill) December 15, 2022
Yes I loved Henry Cavill, and I mean I LOVE Henry Cavill, he was a great superman. But wow, James Gunn’s vision for DC sounds epic and I’m up for it. The whinging fans need to give up now. It’s time to move on.
— Simon Watson (@SimonMWatson) January 31, 2023
Bring Henry Cavill back as Superman and make Man of Steel 2 as an elseworld story!
— The Super Bat (@RSforyou722) January 31, 2023
Henry Cavill still the greatest Superman ever. pic.twitter.com/KY4svRbp6P
— Stallion (@Spagggs) January 31, 2023
The fact that we had the perfect Supergirl in Melissa Benoist and she won’t be doing the World of Tomorrow adaptation is my villain origin story
— Eva Friedman (@Eva_Friedman) January 31, 2023
Where's the Bat, man?
Guess that sit-down went well. Matt Reeves previously told Yahoo Entertainment that he would be meeting with Gunn and Safran to discuss how his Bat-verse — which so far encompasses a sequel to this year's Pattinson-led blockbuster and a spin-off HBO Max series starring Colin Farrell's Penguin — could complement their mainline DC-verse. The result of that meeting is that Reeves will continue to grow his version of Gotham City under the DC Elseworlds banner.
"The Batman is its own thing," Gunn told DC.com, adding that the officially-titled sequel, The Batman Part II, will be in theaters on Oct. 3, 2025 — four months after Superman: Legacy. "Matt’s hard at work on it. He came in and pitched us some amazing stuff, so our plan is for that to continue." Added Safran: "The Batman’s not a stepchild. It’s all under DC. We are fully invested in the success of The Batman just like we are everything else."
"Gods and Monsters" will feature its own Dark Knight in The Brave and the Bold, a team-up movie that pairs Batman with his boy wonder, Robin. But this Robin won't be Dick Grayson — the only version of the character to appear on the big screen so far. (Chris O'Donnell previously played the role in 1995's Batman Forever and 1997's Batman & Robin.) Instead, Gunn and Safran are building the movie around Damian Wayne, Batman's canonical comic book son, created by Grant Morrison. And additional members of the extended Bat-family — whose ranks include Batgirl, the Spoiler and Azrael — could appear as well.
Speaking at the DC press event, Gunn described The Brave and the Bold as a "very strange father-and-son story," and proudly referred to Damian as "a little son of a bitch," due to his upbringing as an assassin. Despite being a real-life dad, Ben Affleck won't continue Batman duties in the character's new incarnation, although he's still expected to make in-character cameos in The Flash and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. And Gunn and Safran are eagerly hoping to book him as a director on one of their "Gods and Monsters" features — maybe even The Brave and the Bold. Batman directing Batman? Wait'll we get a load of that.
The Brave and the Bold - Batman and Damian. I think it's good that they're trying to approach a Robin in the DCU. Damian is a bit over-saturated in the comics and animated market these days, but he is not widely known to the general audience. Could be good. #DCStudios
— Justice League Universe Podcast (@JLUPodcast) January 31, 2023
Some projects I habe little interest in but Im really excited for The Brave & The Bold tho, perfect way to set this Batman world away from Matt Reeves. Having it populated with Bat-Family members and have Batman older will make it completly different thankfully
— Dr FlashPoint (@DocFlashpoint) January 31, 2023
I am BEYONDDDD excited for The Batman Part II— all I’m saying is the part II better have as amazing of a soundtrack as the first 🦇🦇
— Relentless (@relentwayless) January 31, 2023
The Batman: Part II
Not enough information but the first movie was fun enough that I can be excited for the sequel.
— Daniel | BLM (@DanRemnant) January 31, 2023
All I wanted was one solo Batman film with Ben Affleck starring and directing.
One. Ben. Affleck. Batman. Solo. Film. Please!
Too late though, a real shame
— Taylor (@TheRealTaylor25) January 31, 2023
Enter the Speed Force
Saving The Flash was a superheroic effort in and of itself. After years in development hell, Ezra Miller's Scarlet Speedster — who the non-binary actor first portrayed in 2016's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice — was finally on track for a solo feature film. But Miller's much-reported off-screen troubles tripped up the Andy Muschietti-directed movie, to the point where some wondered whether Warner Bros. would have to scrap the film along with the discarded HBO Max movie Batgirl starring Leslie Grace. (Safran described that film as "not releasable" and credited controversial Warner Bros. Discovery head David Zaslav with the decision to pull it out of circulation. "It would have hurt DC.")
But Gunn and Safran aren't just forging ahead with plans to release The Flash — they're also speaking of it in glowing terms. "I will say here that The Flash is probably one of the greatest superhero movies ever made," Gunn remarked at the DC press event, adding that it plays an instrumental role in leading into the "Gods and Monsters" storyline in the way it "resets everything" about the current version of the DC Universe.
As for Miller's specific personal struggles and legal issues, Safran emphasized that DC Studios is "supportive" of the actor, while stopping short of saying they'd continue in the role after The Flash's release. "Ezra is completely committed to their recovery,” Safran said. "When the time is right, when they feel like they’re ready to have the discussion, we’ll all figure out what the best path forward is. But right now, they are completely focused on their recovery. And in our conversations with them over the last couple of months, it feels like they’re making enormous progress."
Gunn also addressed the recent controversy over Zachary Levi, star of 2019's Shazam! and the upcoming Shazam: Fury of the Gods. Over the weekend, the actor took to social media to post what some have interpreted as an anti-vaccination sentiments. "Actors and filmmakers that I work with are going to say things that I agree with and things that I don't agree with," Gunn remarked, suggesting that the door was open for Levi to continue in the role. "And that's going to happen. I don't have a list of things that somebody should say because of what I think. And you know, I can't be changing my plans all the time because an actor says something that I don't agree with."
So they got rid of Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, and Ben Affleck, but kept Ezra Miller? The most ‘problematic’ person out of the bunch. And no word on if Zachary Levi is staying in the DCEU? I’m honestly speechless (I know some of these people have had issues before, but really?). https://t.co/nF4GyWRjX1
— Marco (@Marc0Pol0_) January 31, 2023
If they keep ezra miller and zachary levi but not gal gadot I'm not watching anything. https://t.co/0pD4bZ4JpX
— karnstein (@xlefanu) January 31, 2023
reminder that Zachary Levi and Ezra Miller got to keep their jobs and movies while Leslie Grace got her entire movie deleted from history and Henry Cavill got fired from a job he left his biggest role since the one they fired him from twice for it
— Alex Winton (@doctoroak) January 30, 2023
Well, that explains the decisions being made about The Flash and Ezra Miller.
What I'm understanding is that movie is the linchpin of everything coming after. It's going to be the big event that resets the DCU.
It sucks, and I don't like the decision, but I understand. https://t.co/fM9kmZDQnP
— High Tweets, Inc (@HighTweetsInc) January 31, 2023
Who's left from the League?
With Ray Fisher, Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill officially out, and Ezra Miller in a holding pattern, the Snyderverse Justice League is essentially kaput. But Gunn and Safran notably declined to say that Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa would be handing in their League key cards as Wonder Woman and Aquaman respectively. Certainly, Momoa is still headlining Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, due in theaters on Dec. 25, and Safran told DC.com that there might be one more adventure in store for the Atlantean king. "Jason always thought Aquaman was a trilogy in his own mind." (As for the rumors that Momoa would transition into playing intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo, the duo's plan is to avoid having one actor play two characters in the same universe.)
Speaking of trilogies, Gadot and writer-director Patty Jenkins were expecting to close our their Wonder Woman series with a third and final feature. But those plans collapsed when Jenkins's Wonder Woman 3 treatment was reportedly turned down by DC's interim leaders, and she exited the project. Gunn and Safran didn't announce a new Wonder Woman movie as part of their slate, but they did reveal plans for an HBO Max prequel series called Paradise Lost, set on the character's birthplace of Paradise Island aka Themyscira.
Speaking with DC.com, Safran and Gunn compared the show to Game of Thrones, the HBO franchise that successfully launched its own prequel series last year with House of the Dragon. "[It] involves all of the darkness, drama and political intrigue behind this society of only women," Safran noted. Added Gunn: "It’s an origin story of how this society of women came about. What does it mean? What are their politics like? What are their rules? Who’s in charge? What are the games that they play with each other to get to the top? I think it’s really exciting."
Since the events of Paradise Lost take place before Wonder Woman's birth, Gadot wouldn't star in the series, although she could theoretically still appear in a present day framing device or any other kind of flash-forward. Neither Safran nor Gunn definitively stated that her time as an active Justice League member was up, in contrast to Cavill and Affleck.
Another League-adjacent character remaining gainfully employed is Amanda Waller, the government official whose role as the head of the Suicide Squad brings her into occasional contact (and conflict) with Superman, Batman and the rest of DC's heroes. Viola Davis has played the role since 2016's Suicide Squad, and recently appeared in Gunn's TV series, Peacemaker, a spin-off of his own 2020 movie about the expendable team of villains tasked with pulling off suicide missions. In addition to returning for more Peacemaker, Davis will also headline Waller, an HBO Max show set between the first and second seasons of the John Cena series.
"This is also going to have some of the Peacemaker team in it as regulars on the show," Gunn told DC.com. "We have two great creatives working on it: Christal Henry, who was a writer on Watchmen, and Jeremy Carver who created Doom Patrol. They have this incredibly marvelous story worked out that I think is really fantastic."
No Wonder Woman either? @Netflix and DC should come to an agreement and not let Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman go to waste. #SellSnyderVerseToNetflix #SellZSJLtoNetflix pic.twitter.com/FZlI3xURZy
— 𝒮𝘢𝘮𝘮𝘪𝘦 🏳️⚧️ | ꜱɴʏᴅᴇʀQᴜᴇᴇɴ (@SnyderQueen_) January 31, 2023
reeeally hoping paradise lost serves as an origin for wonder woman too rather than purely *just* a worldbuilding show focused on the amazons as a whole . combining the two sounds like such a good idea to me, wonder woman i feel is the one from the big 3 w the most rich background pic.twitter.com/Du4tEP3fTk
— (redacted) (@bottomkaeya) January 31, 2023
So either Jason Momoa isn't Lobo or he is Lobo and Aquaman 3 (if it happens) will be branded as an Elseworlds story https://t.co/tMofk5EvwF
— kothuboy21 (@kothuboy21) January 31, 2023
My guess is that this will be branded as Elseworlds to close out this Aquaman's story and Jason Momoa in the DCU will be Lobo https://t.co/RLFWese7tK
— kothuboy21 (@kothuboy21) January 31, 2023
Waller is a show I knew was going to happen after Peacemaker, because how do both you end on that note and have the incredible Viola Davis and NOT have a show about her character. I'm curious how this will play with the new history they're going to introduce, but we'll see. 7/
— Neo Geo (@GeordanGoldtrap) January 31, 2023
What other gods and monsters are we meeting?
So much for all the DC characters you know and love. The final five entries in the "Gods and Monsters" storyline will feature heroes and villains that are most likely unfamiliar to a wide swath of audiences. Good thing Gunn has some experience in that department, having previously taken an obscure Marvel Comics title — Guardians of the Galaxy — and turned it into one of the most beloved series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
On the TV side, the project with the most recognizable name is Lanterns, an HBO Max series that will bring the Green Lantern Corps back to live action for the first time since Ryan Reynolds's notorious 2011 flop starring the emerald ring-wearing space cop. Pitched by Safran as a True Detective-like mystery series, the show will feature the two best-known Lanterns, Hal Jordan and John Stewart. "We find this ancient horror on Earth, and these guys are basically supercops on 'Precinct Earth,'" Gunn teased to DC.com.
Joining Lanterns on HBO Max will be the Creature Commandos series, which is essentially an animated version of Suicide Squad complete with Rick Flag Sr., the father of the character that Joel Kinnaman played in both live action Squad movies. And then there's Booster Gold, a fan favorite comic character making the jump to live action. "[He's] a loser from the future who uses his basic future technology to come back to today to pretend to be a superhero," explained Safran.
Meanwhile Superman, Batman and Supergirl will be joined on the big screen by the members of The Authority, a "morally-gray" superhero team that originated in the pages of WildStorm comics. "They are basically good-intentioned, but they think that the world is completely broken," Gunn said. "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. We’ll see how that journey goes for them."
Last, but not least, Gunn will get back to his roots in Troma horror films with a new Swamp Thing feature, based on the Len Wein-created monster that Alan Moore took to new heights in a classic ’80s comic book run. Safran promises that the film will explore the "dark origins" of the character, who previously appeared in two enjoyably cheesy ’80s movies and a short-lived James Wan-produced TV series.
Okay. Okay. You got me.
Hopefully Swamp Thing leads to Justice League Dark.#DCStudios
— VincentMarshall (@VinceMarshall93) January 31, 2023
Swamp Thing is one of the most visually stunning and perfectly written comic books of all-time. Beyond intrigued how it translates to he new DC cinematic universe pic.twitter.com/GUvab0B0bx
— José Youngs (@JoseYoungs) January 31, 2023
I can’t believe there’s going to be a movie for The Authority. I can’t believe that the book that started wide screen storytelling is actually going to be on a BIG WIDE SCREEN.
— GiantSize_VR (@Giantsize_vr) January 31, 2023
I’m pretty excited for some of the projects, particularly The Authority. I’m interested to see how they manage with it since so much of that comic was deconstructing the idea of superheroes and that’s been visited in a lot of ways already in TV and film productions.
— Chris Carlson (@onetruecarlson) January 31, 2023
Green Lanterns Hal Jordan & Jon Stewart in a show that’s like True Detective in Space? I’m most interested in that.. https://t.co/v2g0hW7lrV pic.twitter.com/a6mHy4YRwi
— Jon Lawrence (@Iamjonlawrence) January 31, 2023
Jonathan Majors and Glenn Powell will be perfect as Hal & Jon #Lanterns pic.twitter.com/IZVlL2twyr
— THE PURP SHOW (@purpminded420) January 31, 2023