James Gunn, Peter Safran and the future of the DCU

By Ethan Charles

The DC Universe, or DCU, has struggled immensely with becoming comparable to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, but this unprecedented announcement from the Warner Brothers aims to change that.

Much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s success came about at the hand of the president of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige. While the Warner Brothers company does not have a comparable equal, the recent announcement to appoint James Gunn and Peter Safran as co-CEOs of DC Studios seems like an attempt at changing that.

The announcement was unexpected, but not without reason. Walter Hamada resigned this October from his position as president of DC Films (now DC Studios), and it seems this new position comes as an attempt to finally create cohesion within the DCU.

Both Safran and Gunn have extensive experience producing films for the Warner Brothers company and have even worked together on a few different projects set in the DCU (HBO’s Peacemaker is just one example).

The unexpected promotion for Gunn might be a shock to some Marvel fans, as he has directed both of the Guardians of the Galaxy films and is scheduled to direct the third in the franchise. While these plans seem to be unchanging, it appears that Gunn will separate himself from the MCU after his last scheduled movie and transition right into heading off its competition.

According to Andre Joseph of Comic Book Resources, or CBR, Gunn and Safran have a ten-year plan in the works which is set to include not only films but animated series and video games as well. One single overarching story similar to what Marvel has created, but with hopes of even more moving pieces to bring together.

So far, according to Thinking Machines Data Science, a database with research in the field of film revenue and critical analysis, “overall, Marvel trumps DC in all the metrics we explored: box office gross, Metacritic scores, and return on investment.”

This move is just the latest in a series of attempts by Warner Brothers to create a similar media giant like Marvel’s MCU. It was only weeks ago the company changed the name of the universe from the DCEU to the familiar-sounding DCU.

This era of interconnected storylines creates an interesting parallel to what comic books did years ago, only now the story is a much greater investment for film studios. It will be interesting to see just how long this method of filmmaking will continue; will it branch out into other film genres? Will it crash and lose all popularity? Will DC ever be able to measure up to the corporate conglomerate that is Marvel Studios? These are all questions fans are having at the news of Warner Brothers’ latest attempt at cohesion, and one we are still unable to answer with any certainty.

One certainty is that James Gunn and Peter Safran have some big plans for DC Studios, but they have a long way to go before the franchise can compete with Marvel at the box office.

Ethan Charles is a Junior Organizational Communication student with an interest in writing and reporting, and he works as a Barista in his free time for Coffee Hub Ohio.

Image courtesy of The Direct.

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