“Peter and I chose to helm DC Studios knowing we were coming into a fractious environment, both in the stories being told and in the audience itself and there would be an unavoidable transitional period as we moved into telling a cohesive story across film, TV, animation and gaming,” Gunn tweeted Thursday. “But, in the end, the drawbacks of that transitional period were dwarfed by the creative possibilities and the opportunity to build upon what has worked in DC so far and to help rectify what has not.”
Gunn’s decision to speak out was catalyzed by a lengthy story posted Wednesday by The Hollywood Reporter, which broke the news that a sequel to 2020’s “Wonder Woman 1984” was not moving forward at Warner Bros. with director Patty Jenkins. Variety confirmed that aspect of the report, but sources cautioned that several other assertions within it — that potential sequels to “Man of Steel” with Henry Cavill and “Black Adam” with Dwayne Johnson were likely also dead, and that Jason Momoa might transition from playing Aquaman to the DC anti-hero Lobo — were far more speculative.
On Thursday, Gunn said of the THR report that, “some of it is true, some of it is half-true, some of it is not true, and some of it we haven’t decided yet whether it’s true or not.”
Gunn and Safran are due to present their current plans for the DC Universe across film, television and gaming next week to Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, and insiders say they’ve been keeping their strategy close to the vest within the company.
Whatever Gunn and Safran elect to do will have to contend with the DC storytelling universe inaugurated by filmmaker Zack Snyder, starting with 2013’s “Man of Steel.” Several films within that universe are still set to debut in 2023, including “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” “The Flash,” “Blue Beetle” and “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” but they were developed and produced by previous studio leadership. Gunn and Safran have a mandate to craft, in Gunn’s words, “the next 10 years of story,” so the DC Universe can match the gargantuan success of Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it remains an open question what, if any, elements from the Snyderverse would survive. (Todd Phillips’ sequel to “The Joker” and Matt Reeves’ plans to follow 2022’s “The Batman” with a new film and at least one series for HBO Max would not be affected, as they exist within their own exclusive storytelling bubbles.)
More than almost any filmmaker in the genre space, Gunn has maintained a regular dialogue with his fans, responding to questions about his DC and Marvel projects on Twitter (or debunking false rumors or out-of-control speculation), so he is uniquely aware of just how contentious and controversial the DC fandom has become — and how fraught departing from the Snyderverse would be for its most passionate and strident fans.
Gunn addressed that tension head on in his Twitter statement.
“We know we are not going to make every single person happy every step of the way, but we can promise everything we do is done in the service of the STORY and in the service of the DC CHARACTERS we know you cherish and we have cherished our whole lives,” he wrote. “As for more answers about the future of the DCU, I will sadly have to ask you to wait. We are giving these characters and the stories the time and attention they deserve, and we ourselves still have a lot more questions to ask and answer.”