Conflicting reports swirl around "Black Adam" and Henry Cavill's Superman return as James Gunn and Peter Safran start planning the future of DC Studios.
There’s a big announcement coming next week from James Gunn and Peter Safran, the duo in charge of DC’s line of films, and already there are conflicting reports, and seemingly alarming ones, too.
The biggest news to break on Wednesday was that Patty Jenkins script, co-written with DC Comics superstar scribe Geoff Johns, for “Wonder Woman 3” has been rejected, possibly shuttering Gal Gadot’s film franchise.
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Gunn and Safran have been getting their capes in a row ahead of a reported meeting with Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav where they’re expected to lay out their future plans for the superhero line, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
While not much is yet known, and much could still change, THR cites multiple sources as saying “WW3” is dead, with the new team atop DC Studios (Warner Bros. Pictures co-chairs and co-CEOs Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy, along with Gunn and Safran) telling her it no longer fit with their plans for the line.
Of course, this by no means makes it definitive that Gadot is done in the role or that there might not be another “Wonder Woman” film in her future — just that this particular film, building on the previous two, isn’t happening.
The news would come to appear as a surprise to Gadot, though, who tweeted on Tuesday that she was looking for to sharing Wonder Woman’s next chapter with fans.
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It could be bigger than that, though, as one scenario that’s been picking up some traction is that it’s not just Jenkin’s “WW3” that’s being put down, but the entirety of what’s come to be known as Zack Snyder’s “Justice League.”
The piece noted that De Luca and Abdy at one point were considering another go round with Snyder’s version of the DC superheroes, culminating in another “Justice League” film. Instead, it would appear the new heads of DC Studios are looking to possibly shed the past entirely.
That could also mean the end of Jason Momoa as Aquaman — though the actor could shift to the anti-hero DC fans have been wanting him to play along (more on that in a bit) — and, perhaps even more awkwardly, the end of Henry Cavill’s run as Superman after that surprise “Black Adam” cameo.
According to THR, when Cavill touted his excitement at returning, even stepping away from his starring role in “The Witcher” to put back on the cape, Warner Bros. was reportedly developing a sequel to his “Man of Steel,” with the goal of a more hopeful tone.
Last month, TheWrap pumped the brakes on those hopes, indicating that insiders were reporting the project was put on hold while Gunn and Safran fine-tuned their long-term plans. Further, the site reports there is no deal with Cavill to return.
Already swirling around the rumor mill is the fate of “Black Adam,” with THR’s scenario saying that it’s unlikely to warrant a sequel. Their insiders say the film will be lucky to break even, though its star begged to differ.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson pushed back against a Variety report that the film would lose more than $50 million theatrically, insisting instead that it would profit by about that margin, citing a Deadline breakdown that rejected Variety’s assertion.
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In fact, earlier in the day on Tuesday, Deadline’s original story made mention of a “Black Adam” sequel in development, as well as one centering on Aldis Hodge’s Hawkman being “mapped out by [Dwayne] Johnson’s Seven Bucks.” The piece acknowledged the franchise would come into clearer focus once Safran and Gunn solidify their plans in early 2024. As noted by ComingSoon, this paragraph has since been removed.
Johnson has been very bullish about “Black Adam” being a key part of the new direction for DC, and crediting himself with pushing hard to bring Cavill back into the fold, which THR says “may not be endearing him to the new management.”
As for Momoa, it’s possible that the upcoming “Aquaman: Lost City” (out December 25, 2023) could be his swan dive as the King of Atlantis, but not necessarily his departure from the franchise. That film would mark the end of the first iteration of DC, leading to a possible hard reset.
That could free him up to take on the role he was born to play, if you ask many DC fans, the intergalactic bounty hunting bastich himself, Lobo.
Ahead of the next Aquaman are three other DC films that would appear to be building on the past, with “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” coming March 17, followed by multiversal mashup “The Flash” on June 16, and “Blue Beetle” August 18.
It does appear, per THR, that Matt Reeves’ expanding “The Batman” line of films and television series remains untouched at this time, which is easy enough to manage as none of it strays much from Gotham City at this point. Also untouched at this time is the “Joker” sequel.
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It’s also at least possible that some pieces of the existing DC movie universe as it exists will survive into the presumed relaunch. “Blue Beetle” has virtually no connection to existing films, while Zachary Levi’s “Shazam!” series stands mostly alone, as well. Not to mention, “The Flash” affords a rare opportunity to pick and choose what to keep and what to reject.
Based on the popular “Flashpoint” story, “The Flash” a bevy of DC heroes from across multiple DC continuities, including Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck as Batman. Momoa and Cavill have already filmed cameos, though the same reports indicate uncertainty as to whether or not Cavill’s will be used, as they don’t want to promise something they have no intention of delivering.
While it had at one time been touted as a turning point for the DCEU, “The Flash” has become a problematic project for the studio due to the off-screen controversies of its star Ezra Miller. It might be seen as easier at this point to just sever that relationship and start over. But the film could still be used to set the stage for the new DCU.
It would appear that Gunn and Safran are looking to build something more akin to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which means interconnected stories and continuity. That’s something DC began to shy away from after tepid responses to various of its DC Extended Universe films.
If plans are solidified in time, it could be that a new post-credits bumper — or a new scene entirely — is prepared for “The Flash” or any of the other upcoming DC films, to set the stage for whatever the new DC is going to look like come 2024 and beyond.
However it plays out — and it could still change dramatically as Gunn and Safran continue to develop their strategy with Zaslav, De Luca and Abdy — there is a lot of momentum behind DC Studios and excitement about its new co-CEOs coming at the properties with a unified, long-term vision for the future.
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