3 big takeaways from the new DC superhero plans
At long last, we have a clear picture of DC's future. Director James Gunn and producer Peter Safran were made co-chairs of DC Films last year, and this week they finally unveiled their plan for an interconnected DC superhero universe across films and TV that they hope will match the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
There's a lot to chew on in this announcement, but since EW put together a wishlist of things we'd like to see from Gunn and Safran's plans, it feels only natural to see how well we did. Below, check out some of our major takeaways from DC's new slate.
DC Comics (2) Adaptations for 'Booster Gold' and 'The Authority' are on DC's slate.
They're utilizing interesting characters!
The major DC trinity of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are all present in DC's plans in one form or another. Superman is getting a new movie written by Gunn (recasting the role despite Henry Cavill's dreams), Batman is getting a new interpretation in addition to the ongoing Robert Pattinson/Matt Reeves saga, and a new TV series will explore the politics of Wonder Woman's homeland of Themyscira.
But as we said previously, the DC Universe is so much bigger than that main trinity, and the people in charge would do well to explore some of the other characters that exist within it. Luckily, they seem to be doing just that. The time-traveling hero Booster Gold (who uses basic technology from the future to seem like a powerful genius in our present) is getting a TV show. Booster Gold plays a major role in both Justice League International and 52 — two all-time great DC comics that we hoped the studio's new regime might draw from.
We also named Swamp Thing as an off-the-beaten-path character who could make a good adaptation, and indeed there is now a Swamp Thing movie in the works. Some of you may remember that there was actually a short-lived Swamp Thing TV show on the now-defunct DC Universe streaming platform, but it didn't last more than one season. It makes sense to revive Swamp Thing now since the character taps into the same era of dark/magical DC comics as The Sandman, which has been a big success at Netflix since it premiered last year.
Similarly, DC has announced a movie about The Authority is in the works. A hyper-violent homage/parody of the Justice League created by DC's Wildstorm imprint in the late '90s, The Authority makes sense to adapt in a superhero landscape where The Boys and Invincible now loom so large — unless viewers see it as a rip-off of those successes rather than their progenitor. In any event, The Authority is also notable for featuring a central gay romance between its Superman and Batman equivalents (known as Apollo and Midnighter) so fans of this week's special The Last of Us episode can look forward to that.
Clay Enos/Warner Bros. Viola Davis as Amanda Waller in 'Suicide Squad.'
New TV shows are coming, and they sound pleasantly familiar
With the recent cancellations of Titans and Doom Patrol and the upcoming series finale of The Flash, one era of DC superhero TV shows is coming to an end. But Gunn and Safran's new plan makes clear that another era is beginning — and they seem to have learned important lessons from past successes.
Waller, a follow-up to Peacemaker and The Suicide Squad starring Viola Davis' spymaster, will be written by Watchmen's Christal Henry and Doom Patrol's Jeremy Carver — creative minds from two of the most beloved DC shows of the last half-decade. Creature Commandos will be an animated series, hopefully in the humorously violent vein of Harley Quinn. And though a planned Green Lantern show never came to pass as part of the CW's Arrowverse, a slightly different incarnation has been greenlit as The Lanterns — and Gunn is citing HBO's True Detective as inspiration for those space-cop stories.
Speaking of HBO inspirations, Paradise Lost — the series about the Amazons of Themyscira — is supposedly inspired by Game of Thrones. But since this would be a story of political struggle amidst female warriors, the right touchstone seems more like the recent Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon, which centers on a civil war led by two powerful women.
DC Comics (2) 'Batman & Robin' and 'Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow' are touchpoints for upcoming DC films.
New comics are a source of inspiration
Lately, the MCU has found a lot of success drawing on recent, successful Marvel comics for inspiration. Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness incorporated elements (such as the Illuminati and incursions) from writer Jonathan Hickman's New Avengers series from 2012-2014, while the Hawkeye series on Disney+ was a pretty direct adaptation of the 2012 comic by writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja.
In contrast, DC has mostly hewn to tried-and-true classics — pretty much every Batman movie director still cites '80s standbys like The Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke as their inspirations. But that looks to be changing now. The Brave and the Bold, the new Batman movie announced by Gunn and Safran this week, will be based on writer Grant Morrison's Batman and Robin comic from the late 2000s. This means that those fearing Bruce Wayne oversaturation might not need to worry since Morrison's Batman and Robin featured Dick Grayson in the Batman cowl and Bruce's assassin-trained son Damian Wayne as Robin.
More surprisingly, Gunn and Safran announced the film Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow, based on the comic miniseries of the same name by writer Tom King and artist Bilquis Evely that wrapped up just last year. Perhaps Paradise Lost, the aforementioned Themyscira TV series, will also draw on the incredible trilogy of super-sized Wonder Woman: Historia comics (by writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artists Phil Jimenez, Gene Ha, and Nicola Scott) that told the history of the Amazons before Diana was even born. There are lots of good comics to choose from, and it's a good sign that DC Films is starting to draw on more of them. Speaking of Morrison, the team behind The Lanterns should probably also look to their recent work on Green Lantern with artist Liam Sharp.
As for our call for better villains... guess we'll all have to see how these movies shake out when more details become available.
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