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James Gunn Takes Charge of DC Movies and TV

Along with producer Peter Safran, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Peacemaker and Suicide Squad director is officially DC's answer to Marvel's Kevin Feige.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Expertise Films, TV, Movies, Television, Technology
Richard Trenholm
3 min read
Director James Gunn, wearing glasses and a suit and with silver spiky hair, in front of a poster for his movie The Suicide Squad.

Meet the new boss: James Gunn at the premiere of his DC comics movie The Suicide Squad in August 2021.

Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

James Gunn has been named as the boss of future DC movies and TV shows, along with producer Peter Safran. Gunn and Safran will spearhead DC Studios, a reorganized division of Warner Bros. Discovery, turning Superman, Batman, Black Adam and other DC comics characters into new film, TV and animation projects.

From the Arrowverse TV shows to the divisively gritty movies of Zack Snyder and standalone movies like The Batman and Joker,  DC's somewhat varied output of superhero movies and TV shows has been negatively compared to the unified vision of rival superhero studio Marvel. There were even recent reports that Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav was specifically searching for DC's own version of Marvel Cinematic Universe supremo Kevin Feige. Now it looks like DC has found the co-Feiges in Gunn and Safran.

Gunn has ties with Marvel thanks to his involvement in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, but he crossed over to DC to direct The Suicide Squad and the spinoff TV show Peacemaker when Marvel briefly fired him. His new job was announced Tuesday, just a couple of hours after Gunn released the trailer for his latest MCU project, the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, which hits Disney Plus on Nov. 25. He's also helming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, scheduled for a May 5, 2023, theatrical release, and has suggested that it'll be his last movie in that franchise.

According to a press release from Warner Bros. Discovery, Gunn and Safran will be co-chairmen and chief executive officers of DC Studios, which replaces DC Films. They'll oversee "the overall creative direction of the DC Universe across film, TV, and animation under a single banner" and "spearhead the development and execution of a long-term plan for the many properties licensed from DC Comics, focused on continuing the tradition of high-quality storytelling for the DC Universe across audio-visual media, while building a sustainable growth business out of the iconic franchise."

They start the new job on Nov. 1. Gunn and Safran will continue to direct and produce films and/or TV shows, though The Hollywood Reporter reports they'll work exclusively for DC for four years.

"We're honored to be the stewards of these DC characters we've loved since we were children," Gunn and Safran said in the statement. "We look forward to collaborating with the most talented writers, directors, and actors in the world to create an integrated, multilayered universe that still allows for the individual expression of the artists involved. Our commitment to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Harley Quinn, and the rest of the DC stable of characters is only equaled by our commitment to the wonder of human possibility these characters represent. We're excited to invigorate the theatrical experience around the world as we tell some of the biggest, most beautiful, and grandest stories ever told." 

Safran has produced various films for Warner Bros. and other film studios, including DC's highest grossing movie, Aquaman, and its upcoming sequel, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom; as well as The Suicide Squad and the Shazam movies. He also produced horror hits Annabelle and the Conjuring series.

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