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7 things we want James Gunn to do in the DC Extended Universe

It’s official! James Gunn and Peter Safran are both the new co-heads of DC Films. With Gunn overseeing the creative part of the studio, fans are excited to see how the director of Guardians of the Galaxy and The Suicide Squad will run the entire DC Universe alongside Safran.

The studio still has a few movies it needs to go through before entering Gunn’s new DC Universe, but there are some intriguing things the public could see from it.

Create more tie-in video games

Batman overlooking city in Batman: Arkham Asylum.

While some video games based on Marvel Cinematic Universe films have been released in the past, Marvel’s flow of tie-in games has died down in recent years. DC can now get the upper hand in this department since Gunn has revealed on Twitter that he plans to release games that will be linked to his new batch of superhero movies.

DC has produced some spectacular games over the years, such as the Batman: Arkham series and the Injustice duology, so the studio focusing on creating more games like this could help its cinematic universe stand apart from the MCU.

More lesser-known characters will get the spotlight

The cast of The Suicide Squad.

With films like Guardians of the Galaxy and The Suicide Squad, Gunn has garnered unprecedented success taking relatively unknown comic book characters and making them household names. Though DC has had plans to give many characters their own live-action projects, a lot of those plans fell through after spending time in development hell. More recently, films like Ava DuVernay’s New Gods and Batgirl were shelved, and the latter was in the middle of post-production.

However, Gunn will likely follow through on his plans to introduce less-popular characters to live-action. While one may argue that the obscure characters this director has adapted were only successful in team-up films, Gunn has proven otherwise by having Peacemaker helm a solo series, which only helped the antihero’s popularity soar to greater heights.

Zack Snyder will return

Zack Snyder at San Diego Comic-Con 2016.
Wikimedia Commons

This may sound like a longshot and an eye-roller to some, but James Gunn may actually want to bring Snyder back to expand the DC Universe, given their shared history. Snyder and Gunn have been friends since they worked together on 2004’s Dawn of the Dead. They’ve also shown support to each other in their cinematic pursuits online, so chances are they would both be open to working together again if Snyder isn’t too busy making his films for Netflix.

Snyder’s return wouldn’t necessarily #RestoretheSnyderVerse, as Gunn and his team may not follow all the same storylines that Snyder had helped plan before leaving the DC Universe. Nevertheless, bringing back the man who laid the groundwork for the franchise as a whole could be another step toward putting it back on track.

Directors will have greater control over their films

Bruce Wayne staring at a hologram of Superman in Zack Snyder's Justice League.

DC films have long been the unfortunate victims of studio interference, with Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, and Justice League being the most notable examples. But with an auteur superhero director calling the shots, Gunn may side with his fellow directors and give them enough freedom to practice their craft and make successful blockbusters.

Gunn proved how terrific director-driven films could be in the DC Universe with his critically-acclaimed passion project, The Suicide Squad, so giving more filmmakers that kind of creative power may very well help DC’s films be seen as more than just standard superhero blockbusters.

A more well-balanced tone

Warner Bros.

In an effort to compete with Marvel, DC steered away from producing dark and gritty stories like Man of Steel and Batman v Superman and tried to integrate lighthearted humor into their films. This has led to varying success over the ears, as it created a clash in tones for both Suicide Squad and Justice League. While the studio has gotten better at presenting more easygoing films, it has usually done so at the cost of presenting enough serious drama for the characters and the world around them.

Not every film in the DC Universe has to have the same tone, as each character’s project should be unique to best fit their story and to keep the cinematic universe feeling fresh to audiences. However, they should all have the right balance of lighthearted comedy and poignant drama to be successful. Gunn has proven himself to be a master of presenting both of these things at just the right amount in his superhero projects, allowing the audience to hold them in high regard without having to take them too seriously.

More original characters

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, screaming

While most modern superhero movies used characters based on existing comic book characters, Gunn has proven himself adept at creating entirely original characters for the DC Universe. This was the case with Peacemaker since Gunn created the evil alien Butterflies and their giant Cows purely for the series.

DC Films may continue to create new characters for future projects, which could change the company’s comic book canon as Harley Quinn did following her popular debut in Batman: The Animated Series.

An actual plan

DC

Ever since Justice League‘s critical and commercial failure in 2017, the DC Universe seems to have veered off in multiple directions. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe has the Infinity and Multiverse Sagas, the DC Universe was left without an overarching narrative. Plans for the Justice League to fight Darkseid were all but abandoned, and the studio spent most of its time trying to pull the franchise back together. At the same time, DC started producing standalone features like Joker and The Batman, both based on canceled projects and have no relation to the company’s ongoing cinematic universe.

Fortunately, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Gunn and Safran have been hard at work devising their 8-to-10-year-long plan for the DC Universe going forward. This means moviegoers will likely see more connections established between the heroes’ respective projects, as was recently seen with Peacemaker and Black Adam. Thus, audiences may finally see DC Universe build up to another crossover epic akin to Justice League in the near future, which can make it the blockbuster franchise it was meant to be.

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