8 Big Questions We Still Have After Gunn’s DCU Chapter 1 Announcement

Whether how the old relates to the new, or when to expect some of the classic big hitters, fans still have some big questions to the new DCU slate.

Split Image of Wonder Woman from comics and Henry Cavill's Superman

James Gunn’s announcement of Chapter 1 of the new DCU did leave some big questions that need answering. Fans and skeptics alike were interested to learn what Gunn and Peter Safran would think up for their first slate as heads of DC Studios. The plans thus far paint a promising future for the DCU with exciting endeavors for fan-favorite characters like Superman and Batman and more obscure surprises such as The Authority and Booster Gold. Excitedly, shortly following the announcement and specifically clarification about what comics are serving as source material and inspiration, DC Comics has seen incredible sales in their comics. Fans are clearly interested and eager.


The 10 new projects announced are only part 1 of Chapter 1: “Gods and Monsters,” so there’s even more on the horizon. While fans will likely have to wait to learn more, the plans do point to what they can expect from the new DCU and how it will differentiate itself from the old regime. Like the DCEU, Gunn is jumping right in, but instead, there seems to be a more clear and overarching vision with a focus on establishing broad and stable foundations for the DCU. More will become clear in the near future, but some questions need to be answered sooner rather than later.

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What Is The Secret Movie James Gunn Is Working On?james gunn with the new logo for the dcu

James Gunn has repeatedly spoken about a special project that he is developing for the new DCU, however, he’s keeping it secret. Following his hiring he’s been quite vocal on social media, sharing teases to his upcoming work. His teases for Superman and Batman are clearly already part of his plans, but some other teases from Gunn are still missing, such as for Deadman and Mister Terrific. These could all come into play as his secret project. Right now, it’s too early to predict confidently. The 10 projects he announced will logically span through till 2027, so the wait will likely be long.

Nevertheless, it’s evident that the DCU is setting up big things for the second half of Chapter 1 and beyond. Most likely this project could be a big team-up and event film. As such, a Justice League film is a feasible postulation, but it does beg the question of what of the many iconic storylines it could adapt and if Gunn is the best person for such a project. With the likes of Peacemaker and The Suicide Squad, he has excelled with a particular set of comedic characters and tone, so there might be other heroes and teams Gunn is a better fit for as writer and director.

Why Did The DCU Not Keep Henry Cavill (But Did Others)?Henry Cavill's Man of Steel and All-Star Superman

After months of rumors and speculation, Gunn did confirm that Henry Cavill would not be reprising his role as Superman in the new DCU. He had finally returned, albeit for a small cameo, in Black Adam which many had assumed portended a sequel to Man of Steel and Superman’s rightful return to the DCU’s center stage. However, that’s obviously not the case anymore. Funnily enough, Gunn had somewhat foreshadowed this decision when the Justice League featured in Peacemaker. Only Jason Momoa’s Aquaman and Ezra Miller’s Flash appeared. Although this was primarily due to contract and scheduling conflicts, it did still show that Cavill’s future as Superman wasn’t certain.

It’s important to note that Henry Cavill wasn’t fired, but rather he doesn’t fit the creative vision Gunn and Safran have for the DCU. Superman: Legacy will jump in with a younger Superman. However, others with baggage from the old regime are still carrying over. Significantly, Viola Davis is staying on as Amanda Waller, and getting her own HBO Max series, Waller, which will also bring along key characters from Peacemaker. Momoa is continuing as Aquaman with Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom leading directly into Chapter 1, and presumably, Zachary Levi will carry on as Shazam as Gunn’s clarified he’s been largely removed from the larger DCEU.

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Will Anyone Else Be Carrying Over?Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn

With the news of some people leaving and some staying, it all begs the question as to the fate of those yet to be announced. It wouldn’t be surprising if the DCU decided to start over in a lot of ways. That’s the plan for Batman in The Brave and the Bold. Ben Affleck won’t be returning to the role, but he could as a director. The biggest questions surround Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, and Margot Robbie. Particularly, Gadot’s future is in question following the cancelation of Wonder Woman 3, and the premise of the new HBO Max series, Paradise Lost. DC Studios might want new blood for the role.

Miller is surrounded by controversies due to their dangerous actions over the past few years. Unfortunately, they can’t speak on their future as Barry Allen, as they need to see how The Flash plays out at the box office. DC Studios does have the perfect excuse to hire someone new or move on to Wally West’s Flash to continue the character’s pivotal role in the franchise since The Flash is resetting the DCU. However, recent comments paint a likelihood that Miller’s here to stay. Warner Brothers is interested if their recovery progresses well, and Gunn himself has praised The Flash as one of the best superhero movies he’s ever seen.

Given her involvement with Gunn on The Suicide Squad and the character’s ceaseless popularity, it’s interesting to consider whether or not the DCU’s plan thus far includes anything for Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. In the wake of the problems plaguing Superman, Batman, and the Justice League’s appearances, she became the franchise’s most consistent and stable figure. Robbie has expressed interest in continuing her journey, and especially exploring Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy’s relationship. Hopefully, DC Studios can clarify her and her fellow Suicide Squad characters’ futures sooner rather than later.

How Much Of The DCEU Will Be Canon?James Gunn in front of members of the DCEU Justice League

While The Flash will reset the timeline, the announcement that certain things will carry over does confuse as to what from the old regime will be considered canon. Gunn did say that because of their release after The FlashBlue Beetle and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will be saved from the restructuring – although that does bring up whether the plot of Aquaman is official canon or rather pre-Flashpoint content. Intriguingly, despite preceding The Flash, Gunn did say that Shazam! will carry over to the new DCU, as will Shazam! Fury of the Gods.

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Should Gal Gadot stay on as Wonder Woman, her past will be confusing. Many fans would love to abandon Wonder Woman 1984 to obscurity with other pre-Flashpoint content. However, 2017’s Wonder Woman is a different case. It’s arguably the DCEU’s best movie overall, so it would be a shame to treat it the same. Thankfully, its status as a prequel could actually save it as it doesn’t really play into the larger DCEU much. Naturally, The Flash can better clarify everything, but people shouldn’t really expect answers immediately as the DCU could instead just pick and choose certain elements to carry over rather than entire movies.

When Will Wonder Woman Appear In The DCU?Split Image of Paradise Lost promo and Wonder Woman flying through the sky

Importantly, Wonder Woman is not included in this first slate of projects. Yet, there is Paradise Lost, which will set Wonder Woman up nonetheless. The prequel series is set in Themyscira before Diana’s birth. Reportedly with Game of Thrones as inspiration, Paradise Lost will develop Themysciran culture and history, giving Wonder Woman even stronger foundations to flourish when she does arrive. She may come into play in part 2 of Chapter 1, but as stated before, that could mean she doesn’t feature in the flesh again until 2027. Logically, that doesn’t paint a good picture for Gadot in the role, but fans need clarification.

Who Will Be The DCU’s First Major Villain?Split Image: Superman flying down a street; Rogues Gallery of DC villains including Lex Luthor, Bizarro, Catwoman, Two-Face, Black Adam, and the Riddler

There’s a lot the new DCU can do to distance itself from the DCEU. While it’s largely jumping right into the mix and skipping overdone origin stories, the DCU doesn’t seem to be rushing things. It’s building broader foundations, so the entirety can excel rather than careening to a Justice League movie before half of the members are even established. Another way it can reflect a new creative vision and overarching narrative is by not only featuring different villains but unique perspectives on them. People shouldn’t expect to see Darkseid or the forces of Apokolips feature this early into the franchise.

Since Gunn has said Chapter 1 of the DCU is styled somewhat similar to the MCU’s Phase 1, it’s feasible that they won’t have a uniting Thanos-level villain for a while. Nevertheless, there can still feature some important antagonists like Brainiac, Ra’s al Ghul, and Sinestro, and lay the groundwork for the catalyst for the Justice League to form. Intriguingly, one of the surprise announcements could provide that opportunity. The Authority film will introduce the WildStorm team who operate quite differently than the Justice League. Their particular approach could help Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman come together to form their own team and oppose them.

RELATED:James Gunn’s DCU Slate Won’t Stop Those Snyderverse Calls – Yet

Where Is Chapter 1 Leading To?Amanda waller Green lantern swamp thing

While some things are clear based on the plans, there are questions about where it could all be leading to. It’s all too early to foresee accurately. When Iron ManThor, and Captain America: The First Avenger came out, it portended the arrival of the Avengers, but no one could’ve expected the vastness of the Infinity Saga from it. It’s the same thus far from Chapter 1. They can easily establish Justice League as the Chapter’s big event ending, but they could take all sorts of alternative paths. For example, Swamp Thing and its introduction of supernatural elements could start the journey to a Justice League Dark team-up.

Even long-term the plans do generally indicate what the DCU could develop into, but overall thanks to the broader approach they’re taking, the possibilities are nearly boundless. The Green Lantern-centric Lanterns show could eventually lead to a Blackest Night adaptation. Some of his unaddressed teases could indicate opportunities for various characters and teams like the JSA, Adam Strange, and Jonah Hex, for example. This is a question that will only be answered as Chapter 1 begins to unfold, so only time will tell.

What Should People Expect From DC Elseworlds?James Gunn DC Comics Elseworlds Movies

A big part of the DCU announcements was the reveal of DC Elseworlds for properties that would continue outside the parameters of the DCU. Such would include, for instance, Matt Reeves’ The Batman universe, Todd Phillips’s Joker films, Harley QuinnTeen Titans Go, and other animated series. Presumably, these independent projects will progress further and more DC Elseworlds projects will be announced. Overall, these are perfect to explore the vast possibilities DC Comics provides with distinct perspectives and artistic approaches.

While they will have to consistently clarify how each of these does or does not relate to the DCU for extremely casual audiences, it’s a great opportunity for DC Studios to give something for everyone. This is an approach that Marvel Studios could certainly adopt as the MCU has a near monopoly on all Marvel entertainment with very little existing outside its purview anymore. Hopefully, Gunn and Safran can continue to reveal more of what they have planned for DC Elseworlds. This question and others will remain unanswered for some time, yet fans can rest assured and confident in the DCU’s future based on what’s been revealed thus far.

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