As the year comes to a close, so will the failed experiment that James Gunn is inheriting known as the DCEU (more commonly known as “The Snyderverse”). Aquaman: and the Lost Kingdom will limp into theaters nursing injuries sustained by years of terrible decisions and fan backlash.
I wrote in my very first article for GNN back in 2022, the DCEU as we knew it needed to be razed and given a hard reboot. James Gunn is the right guy for the job and he has already made the tough decisions. Gunn and his partner, Peter Saffron, seem to be taking this seriously and appear to be dedicated to winning the fans back by taking bold and drastic steps.
The DC Casting Changes Were Necessary
While fans of Henry Cavill and the rest of the Justice League lineup were understandably upset about their ouster, it was a logical move. To move forward with the franchise, you have to have fresh talent. You can’t have the fans looking at Zack Snyder’s cast and second guessing you. It is an unnecessary headache.
Gal Gadot will be missed, Ezra Miller did himself in when he turned the press tour for The Flash into a series of felonies and a manhunt. Jason Momoa will reportedly accept a new role as Lobo. Ben Affleck and Ray Fisher had their own issues with the studio and more likely than not declined to return.
By starting with a clean slate, this will be a project that will give Gunn and Saffron credit without the rabid Snyderverse fans claiming that James Gunn built his potential success off of Zack Snyders foundation.
DC’s Casting Decisions Are On Point
While they have ways to go to finish the casting process, the decisions made so far seem to have been thoughtful both with talent, and accuracy to the source material in mind. The casting for Superman: Legacy has been superb.
- David Corenswet is a dead ringer for a young Superman. Sorry, Cavill fans. This looks to be the right choice.
- Rachel Brosnahan will be protraying Lois Lane. Fans old enough to remember Margot Kidder in the role will immediately fall in love with this decision.
- Skyler Gisondo (Known for comedic roles in shows such as Psych and The Righteous Gemstones) scores a victory for red headed characters everywhere with his casting as Jimmy Olsen.
- Geek Community favorite Nathan Fillion will bring his experienced and wide acting range to the table as the hard nosed Guy Gardner, a popular wielder of The Green Lantern.
- One of the more risky casting decisions is the casting of Maria Gabriela de Feria as The Engineer. Introducing a character from Wildstorm Comics into your flagship Superman movie seems like an odd choice, until you realize that The Engineer is a founding member of The Authority and an adaptation of that property is also going to be in phase one of Gunn and Saffron’s planned out DCU.
- Nicholas Hoult is one of the more interesting choices Gunn has made. Despite Michael Rosenbaum being a fan favorite and expressing interest to return to the role of Lex Luthor, Gunn has decided on casting Hoult for the role. Hoult has experience in the superhero genre, as he played Hank McCoy/Beast in Fox’s X-Men series of films. There are also no hard feelings, as Rosenbaum has given a sincere congratulations and welcome to the Lex Luther family to Hoult.
- On the more controversial side of casting, Gunn has cast his brother Sean as prominent villain Maxwell Lord. Personally, I don’t see a problem with this the way that Zachary Levi does. Directors use friends and family all the time. Helena Bonham Carter is in almost every Tim Burton movie. If Sean and James have a good working relationship, more power to them.
With more casting decisions yet to be made, the cause for excitement is here. We have a confident, comics accurate cast. The lineup of characters so far indicates a fun, chaotic story that will have DC fans packing the theaters and finally getting a story they love and will want to see more of.
The Rest Of The DCU’s Phase One Does Raise Questions
While the decision to not make Superman: Legacy an origin story is refreshing and welcome, the rest of the DC Phase One lineup looks to be a little risky. While Matt Reeve’s The Batman and Todd Phillip’s The Joker franchises won’t be part of this iteration of the DCU, Gunn has had very little to say about Bruce Wayne’s, or any other member of The Justice League’s role in this rebuild.
To me, that is a small cause for concern. Naturally, you would think that Gunn would start with Superman and then branch out to the rest of the franchise’s big players like a family tree. This isn’t the case, as phase one has some offbeat choices rounding out Gunn and Saffron’s blueprint, titled Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters.
- The Authority will get their big screen debut under Gunn’s leadership. It is a property that was originally under the Wildstorm Comics label about a group of anti-heroes willing to save the world at any cost. While I like the concept, how many people will compare this concept to the Suicide Squad?
- Grant Morrison’s Brave and the Bold will get a film treatment. It isn’t a bad story to adapt into film, but a Batman movie that is going to lead to a Justice League formation would be more welcome.
- Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow and Swamp Thing are both properties worth exploring, but I’m not sure if they are properties that are well known or solid enough to kick off an entire cinematic universe.
- The TV side of things has the Amanda Waller vehicle Creature Commandos which will feature Peacemaker. A Booster Gold Vehicle, Lanterns which will feature Hal Jordan and John Stewart solving mysteries and Paradise Lost, a tv show featuring Wonder Woman which focuses on Amazonian politics.
Having Batman detached from the Superman project, leaving The Flash out, and relegating Hal Jordan, John Stewart, and Wonder Woman to the small screen raises a lot of alarms for me as a lifelong DC fan. However, Aesop did teach us that slow and steady wins the race. Maybe Gunn and Saffron are throttling things so we don’t get blitzed with too much content and get bored.
Despite choices that I find to be odd, I have confidence in James Gunn’s vision for the DC Universe. Not only is he a fan, but he is a fan with knowledge and is willing to take risks in order to tell a great story. Hollywood needs more people like him in charge of things.
While Kevin Feige bends the knee to the bullies on social media, and worries more about the hat he refuses to take off than his actual job, Gunn is making a brazen attempt. He is set to give us the classic stories that we all cherish and share with us the lesser known stories that he loves and wants to pass on to us.
It is a clean slate and a bright future for DC characters on film. Let’s give Gunn and Saffron a chance and relax while the greatest characters in comics finally get their time to shine.
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Thank You for reading! When I am not writing I enjoy spending time with my wife Barbara, my three year old daughter Frances, and my loyal hound Marbles. For more hot takes, follow me here and on our brand new YouTube channel. You can also check out more of my content on my author’s page.
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