James Gunn Announces First DCU Project Now In Production

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
James Gunn, DC characters

DC Studios CEO James Gunn confirmed one project in the Chapter 1 slate has already begun production.

After just three months of ruling over DC Studios, Gunn unveiled his master plan for the future of DC at the end of January. Included in the announcement were ten projects, among the first being the big-screen Superman: Legacy and HBO Max's Waller and Creature Commandos.

Although only Superman received an official release date of July 11, 2025, recent evidence may have hinted toward the actual release order of the projects. Nonetheless, one project seems to be further along than the others.

Creature Commandos Is Well Underway at DC Studios

In response to a comment on Twitter questioning whether DC Studios' Creature Commandos had begun production yet, co-CEO James Gunn confirmed "It is in production, yes."

The animated HBO Max series has previously been described as the "first project" of the new DCU slate, indicating it will release before July 2025's Superman: Legacy movie:

"The one thing that we can promise is that everything from ... our first project [Creature Commandos] forward will be canon and we’ll be connected."

Creature Commandos has been described as a modern take on the DC Comics team of monsters that hunted Nazis during World War II.

Additionally, Gunn confirmed during a private press event for the Chapter 1 slate announcement "everything is crossing over throughout" in this new DCU, adding that "in Creature Commandos, one of the main characters shows up in Waller:"

"Everything is crossing over throughout. These characters are all interacting throughout the different stories. It doesn’t mean always, you know; Brave and the Bold may just be Batman and Robin and the characters involved in that. But I know a lot of other times the characters cross over. I know in Creature Commandos one of the main characters shows up in Waller."

Creature Commandos
DC Studios

In an official DC site blog post promoting the Chapter 1 slate, the co-CEO noted that Rick Flag Sr. - furthest to the left - is "going to show up in other stuff," implying he may be the member of the Creature Commandos to show up in Viola Davis' Amanda Waller series:

"In the image (going from left to right), that's Rick Flag, Sr. He's going to show up in other stuff. Then Nina Mazursky. Doctor Phosphorus, a Batman villain. Frankenstein—Eric Frankenstein, specifically. The Bride of Frankenstein, who's the lead. Finally, G.I. Robot and Weasel."

The superhero movie titan added that when casting for Creature Commandos, they will be choosing actors "to play the characters in this, as well as other things," including live-action and animation. He noted that they have "already cast" some of the characters:

"What we’re doing with the DCU is we’re having animation tied directly into live action. Television, movies, and games all intertwine within the same universe. We’re going to cast actors that are going to be able to play the characters in this, as well as in other things, some of which we’ve already cast. I’ve written all seven episodes of this show and it’s in production now."

Gunn has already "written the entire [seven-episode] series," with the previously shared look at the series coming from the unknown animation company that is developing the project:

"The first series that we’re doing, and I’ve already written the entire series, is Creature Commandos. This is an animated TV series and this is art from the animation company that’s doing it. Creature Commandos is based on the great team from DC."

As shared in a separate DC blog post, Gunn and his co-CEO Peter Safran called Creature Commandos a "good example" of something that would be "too expensive to be done" in live-action, so "they're all digital characters:"

Safran: "... In terms of animation, it’s sometimes just a fun way to introduce characters or introduce stories that would frankly be too expensive to be done otherwise."

Gunn: "Creature Commandos is a good example of that."

Safran: "With Creature Commandos, they’re all digital characters."

Creature Commandos Production Explained: When Will It Release?

To summarize, James Gunn himself has finished the scripts for all seven episodes of Creature Commandos. Production on the actual animation also seems to have begun, although the animation company working on the show currently remains unclear.

Casting to play these characters in both live-action and animation has begun, with some of the characters already cast. At least one of these actors will be joining Viola Davis' ARGUS leader and Team Peacemaker - ahead on the "on hold" Season 2 - in Waller, with this honor likely going to Rick Flag Sr.

So that leaves the question of when Creature Commandos will actually begin on HBO Max. Well, while DC Studios has yet to offer a release window, its current production status and place as the new DCU's first project do offer some guidance.

After releasing the final four DCEU movies of the last regime in 2023, DC has a rather blank year ahead in 2024. So far, all that is expected to come next year is Colin Farrell's The Penguin and October 2024's Joker: Folie à Deux.

This leaves a somewhat empty year before things really kick into gear on the DCU in 2025, but perhaps Creature Commandos could swing in to help out. The animated series could begin somewhere later in the year, or, perhaps more likely, early in 2025.

One has to wonder whether Gunn was already working on Creature Commandos before he took over DC Studios in November 2022. After all, it seems unlikely he managed to write all seven episodes and enter production in just a few months, all while working on Superman: Legacy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and his DCU slate.

Perhaps the animated HBO Max series was even the secret DC project he was developing as far back as late 2021. This could explain how Creature Commandos seems so far along in development, with it only now being more closely integrated into a larger DCU slate.

Creature Commandos has yet to set an official release date.

- In This Article: Creature Commandos
Release Date
Indira Varma
- 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.