Nolte: James Gunn’s New DC Slate Looks Like a Real Mess

Director James Gunn at the 2022 Comic-Con International held at the San Diego Convention Center on July 23, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty Images)
Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty Images

Newly-installed DC Studios chiefs James Gunn and Peter Safran laid out their vision for what’s called “Chapter 1” of the rebooted DC Universe, and it looks to me like a real mess.

Superhero fatigue is already an issue affecting not just DC but the once invincible Marvel, so I have some sympathy for Safran and Gunn. It’s like taking over the Happy Days franchise right around the Joanie Loves Chachi era.

Still, they know this, so you would think they would aim to offer moviegoers something truly cool, different, and exciting.


More Superman.

More Batman.

Something-something Green Lantern.

Something-something Wonder Woman.

Something-something Supergirl.


Once Shazam! Fury of the Gods (March 17), The Flash (June 16), and Aquaman 2 (December 25) hit this year, these two take over, and it sounds not only like more of the same but a confusing universe that’s more like a multiverse because there will be two DC Universes… To which I can only ask, Why?

See if you can follow this…

We’ll get Superman: Legacy sometime in 2025, which we’re promised is not another origin story. But we’re also going to get a Black Superman movie.


Superman: Legacy is part of the DC Universe. Black Superman is part of something called DC Elseworlds.

We’ll also get a DC Universe Batman with something called The Brave and the Bold. But then there will also be a completely separate DC Elsewhere Batman with the sequel to last year’s The Batman starring Robert Pattinson.

Oh, and then there’s a third Batman universe with the upcoming sequel to Joker.

You need an abacus to keep this straight.

Supergirl: World of Tomorrow promises us a “hardcore” Supergirl. Looks like she’ll be 14 and bitter. That sounds like a lot of laughs.

Wonder Woman is going to TV — HBO Max — specifically. The series will be called Paradise Lost and take place on Wonder Woman’s all-female island, which is “filled with political intrigue and scheming between power players.” The vibe is Game of Thrones. Whatever. The only question I have is, Will there be cleavage?

There’s a couple of other dumb TV shows, including one starring Viola Davis “as the ruthless and morally ambiguous head of a government task force,” which she played in Gunn’s dreadful Suicide Squad movie. Another one is called Lanterns, that features “space cops with power rings. ”

Granted, I’m not an under-employed, 35-year-old virgin living in an efficiency apartment with a blow-up doll named Ginger but does anything here sound fresh or cool or new or different or worth the effort to go and see?

The mistake, I think, is this exhausting “universe” stuff. When Marvel was hitting on all cylinders, the “universe” idea was a good one. You had to see everything to catch up but you also wanted to see everything. That idea feels played out, like it will dissuade people from seeing your movie: Oh, man, I haven’t kept up with the movies and TV shows, so let’s skip it.

Why do all these titles have to connect?

Why not make good movies as the ideas come along?

Nowadays, it feels like there’s homework attached to every new superhero movie.  

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


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