James Gunn and Peter Safran have finally announced the slate of new DC movies and TV series, and there’s plenty to get excited about. We’re getting a new Superman movie, a new Batman movie, loads of TV spin-offs, and even a Swamp Thing film.
This new raft of film and TV projects is collectively known as Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters (think of it as the DC equivalent to the Phases the Marvel movies use), and honestly, we’re feeling really optimistic about the whole thing. That said, there are a few things we’d like Gunn to do in these superhero movies and series.
So here are five things we want to see from the DCU. James, if you read this, don’t worry. It’s not a list of demands… OK, the Super Sons entry is, but everybody gets one demand, right? That’s how it works?
Not every character is Batman
If you’ve never read a comic, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the DC universe was the grim and gritty one while everything in Marvel land is sunshine and rainbows. But actually, the opposite usually is true.
In the DC universe, the cape and cowl crowd are generally revered as paragons of virtue and widely respected by most people for their heroism and bravery. This optimism is something that was severely lacking from not just the DCEU but most adaptations of DC characters, with the possible exception of the Christopher Reeves Superman movies.
A lot of this is probably because some of DC’s more successful films have been Batman movies, and as a result, studios and filmmakers fall into the trap that all their movies have to be dark and brooding, but that’s just not true. There’s room for a more optimistic spirit in these films, just like in the comics.
DC has more villains than the Joker
If your only exposure to the DC universe came from the movies, then you’d be forgiven for thinking that most superheroes have about three bad guys who they fight in an endless loop. Again that’s not true.
There’s a reason they’re called ‘rogues galleries’ because most DC heroes have a whole parade of weirdos in purple spandex (why’s it always purple?) chasing after them. We’d love to see Gunn’s universe use some of the more neglected bad guys.
We want to see Batman battle Kite Man, Superman trick Mr Mxyzptlk, The Flash race Gorilla Grodd, and the Lanterns face off against Larfleeze. Honestly, the list of DC villains is endless, and we don’t have to keep using the bloody Joker.
Don’t just make action movies
If Gunn (and Feige over at Marvel) want to avoid becoming the westerns of tomorrow, they need to keep expanding what people think a superhero movie can be. That means pushing the boundaries of the genre further. They can’t just be action movies with a giant sky laser in the third act. They have to be something more.
Marvel’s definitely experimenting with this, and Gunn’s science fiction movies, the Guardians of the Galaxy, were essentially the blueprint for that experiment. It’s good to hear that Swamp Thing is going to be a horror movie, and we hope we get other genres baked into the new DCU.
Please make the Super Sons movie
OK, this one’s definitely not happening, but this is our list, and we’ll write what we want. There was an incredible comic series in 2017 called Super Sons that was essentially a team-up book that brought together Batman’s son Damien and Superman’s son Jon.
Despite their different philosophies on vigilantism (Damien likes stabbing people a bit much for Jon’s tastes), the pair were the best of friends, and their dynamic was one of the sweetest relationships in comics. We’d love to see it brought to the big screen, although the age gap between Supes and Bats will probably make this problematic.
Don’t rush to the Justice League
One of the biggest problems in the DCEU was the race to get to the big team-up before the groundwork of the universe had been laid. Now we can argue whether that was the result of poor planning, studio interference, or whatever, but it’s an important lesson Gunn can’t ignore.
Time must be spent establishing these characters before we get to the Justice League. After all, the MCU didn’t do Iron Man and then jump to Avengers. It spent time establishing its universe and characters.
Looking at the DCU’s Chapter 1, it’s good to see there doesn’t appear to be a significant team-up because it suggests Gunn knows these characters need to stand on their own before their mates show up.
No one needs to see the Waynes die again
So what don’t we want to see? Can we please spare the Waynes from being shot down Crime Alley yet again? We all know how they die at this point. We know Batman’s origin. We don’t need to see the pearls hit the dirt again.
If you love epic battles between good and evil, check out our list of the best action movies. We’ve also got a guide to all the new movies coming in 2023 and beyond, including Oppenheimer, Aquaman 2, and more.