Unlike the well-oiled machine that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the DCEU has never quite gotten its stuff together. It’s had its hits, but it’s also had its boondoggles. It’s struggled to find a consistent voice. (On the other hand, that also means more variety, like Joker and The Batman. Plus their films don’t require a cheat-sheet to understand them.) But on Tuesday, Warner Bros. Discovery announced new leadership for its comic book wing, and it’s a bit of a surprise.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, writer-director James Gunn and producer Peter Safran will be taking over the newly renamed DC Studios, formerly DC Films. Why the name change? In part because the pair will be overseeing not only movies but also TV and animation wings of the company’s comics-related section. They’ll be replacing newly departed DC Films head Walter Hamada, who decamped last week.
It’s a big deal, handing the reins of a portion of a mass media empire over in part to a filmmaker. Gunn and Safran will neatly divide their duties, with the Guardians of the Galaxy director handling the creative side and Safran the business.
Gunn landing such a plum position is a reminder of what a chaotic career he’s had. He cut as teeth at the gleefully Grade-Z exploitation maestros at Troma, directed low budget efforts like Slither and Super (and got screenwriting credits on the 2004 Dawn of the Dead and the aughts-era Scooby-Doo diptych), then scored the gig handling Guardians of the Galaxy. There was a silly social media scandal, but that wound up proving fortuitous, freeing him up to cross over from the MCU to the DCEU with The Suicide Squad, while still on the docket for the third Guardians. Now look at him.