James Gunn Officially Starts His DC Movies & TV Takeover: Here's What's Changing

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
James Gunn, DC, Justice League

DC Studios finally has its new CEOs in place with James Gunn and Peter Safran, but what does that mean for the franchise, and what happens next?

As Marvel Studios thrives under the leadership of its president, Kevin Feige, DC has been having some difficulty getting its cinematic universe off the ground. Part of that struggle has been finding the right figurehead to lead it, and that was first on the agenda for incoming Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) CEO David Zaslav.

Among his first acts, particularly following the departure of DC Films' controversial president Walter Hamada, was to find that leader - Feige himself was even approached. That search was just recently completed as the one-two combo of James Gunn and Peter Safran was announced to be taking control of DC Studios.

While the Guardians of the Galaxy director will tackle the creative side, Safran will be keeping his eye on business and production. And with Hamada now out, the new reign at DC has begun as the duo has now slid into their positions, but what does that mean for the future and the fans?

James Gunn Announces Start of DC Studios Leadership

Following the news that James Gunn and Peter Safran were set to take over DC Studios as co-chairs and co-CEOs, the duo has now entered their positions. The newfound executives assumed their new roles on Tuesday, November 1, kickstarting a four-year deal at the film, TV, and animation division. 

Gunn acknowledged the beginning of his DC tenure by sharing a Superman comic panel on Twitter, as he says, "got to restrain myself... or I may absent-mindedly punch this typewriter into twisted wreckage!"

James Gunn DC Comic

But now that Gunn and Safran have formally begun their time at the helm of DC Studios, what will the leadership duo be changing?

James Gunn Will Juggle Marvel and DC

Gunn and Safran will be leading DC Studios in unison, with the former expected to take the creative charge while the latter handles business and production. Having that balance will allow the director to continue to still develop his own projects, including finalizing his current work at Marvel Studios.

Oddly enough, Gunn, despite now leading DC, will likely be going on an MCU press tour for The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special this month. He'll also be hard at work finishing up work on Vol. 3 ahead of its release in May 2023, so it's tough to imagine him fully committing to his new role until that's completed.

But once The Suicide Squad director can finally get to work properly on setting up a new direction at DC, one can only wonder what will be changing. Even though Gunn may have other commitments to fulfill in the coming months, that doesn't mean he won't have plenty of work to be done in the immediate future.

What Will James Gunn Change at DC Studios?

Perhaps first up on the order of business will be to review the slate of projects currently in the works for movies and TV. This could lead to more cancelations, fast-tracks, overhauls, or creative switch-ups to any of the countless projects in some stage of development for various platforms and mediums. 

Also high on the agenda will be to assemble a team to work under Gunn and Safran that can assist in various elements of production. After all, even Marvel Studios has a Parliament of executives to work around Kevin Feige, so forming something similar would be logical. 

At one point, the goal for Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav was to build a team that had its focus set on building out a long-term plan for the franchise, akin to the structure at Marvel Studios. Now that Zaslav has found his Feige equivalent in Gunn and Safran, next will come filling out that larger hierarchy.

Also described on that agenda was building a ten-year plan with a focus on quality, a task that will involve both selecting projects to develop and forming a larger story, perhaps in the vein of the Infinity Saga. Building out that franchise direction will certainly be a task that takes a long time for the new studio leads.

As that future plan begins to take shape, Gunn has even already indicated which heroes will be most central to the franchise going forward. Among that list was Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Harley Quinn, indicating they will all take starring roles in multiple projects in the not-too-distant future.

But simply put, fans shouldn't expect to see Gunn take to a stage to deliver any major slate reveals, in the vein of Kevin Feige's famous convention appearances, for some time. At the absolute earliest, the DC Studios CEO may have some news to offer at San Diego Comic-Con 2023 in July, but even that would be a stretch. 

So while it will be some time before Gunn's DC era brings a project to screens, his second-to-last work at Marvel Studios, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, will premiere on Disney+ on November 25.

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.