The First Chapter Of James Gunn’s DCU: Gods And Monsters, Explained

Establishing a universe where different IPs of the same franchise crossover has been a staple in pop culture for almost two decades, as seen in franchises like “MCU,” “Star Wars” and “Transformers.” DC Extended Universe, aka “DCEU,” was such a platform for DC Comics-oriented adaptations, which began with the release of “Man of Steel” in 2013. Unfortunately, due to overall poor reception, studio interference, and miscommunication with actors, the DCEU ship sank within a decade of its journey. Last year, after the Warner Bros Discovery merger, James Gunn and Peter Safran were appointed as the head of DC Studios to properly handle the DC-related IPs and take the franchise in the right direction.

Advertisement

After months of cryptic hints and speculation being exchanged in social media about the possible roadmap of the newly formed DC Universe, Co-CEO of DC Studios, Director James Gunn, has finally unveiled part of the first chapter of the interconnected storytelling. During the announcement, Gunn, straight off the bat, addressed the biggest problem that has been plaguing the DC media since the past attempts at a proper world-building, i.e., a lack of cohesiveness—something that has confused the general audience and fans, and the reflection can be seen in the box-office results of recent DC ventures. To deal with this glaring issue, an intrinsically connected universe has been planned by James Gunn and Peter Safran, which will span across live-action movies, series, animated content, and games. It should be mentioned that the announced part is a portion of the first chapter and not the entire slate. The first chapter is named “Gods and Monsters,” which consists of five movies and five series to date. We will briefly discuss each of the announced projects and run wild with our speculations!


Creature Commandos: An Animated Series

Going by the sequence James Gunn has unveiled the projects, the first one is a seven-episode animated series based on the relatively obscure superteam of the same name, “Creature Commandos.” The superteam consists of classic movie monsters fighting alongside the Axis Forces in World War II. Created by Len Wein and J. M. Dematteis, “Creature Commandos” debuted in the 1980s and was a result of an amalgamation of War comics of the 40s and Pulp Horror comics of the 70s. In the comics, the team was created as a part of Project M (it goes without saying that M stands for Monster) – a covert government organization that used experimental biotech and necromancy to create superhuman soldiers who could gain an edge over regular human soldiers. The animated series has been written by James Gunn himself and directly connects the former DCEU with the new DCU. The monster members of the animated team are Rick Flag Sr. (father of Rick Flag, who starred in both Suicide Squad movies), Doctor Phosphorus, Weasel (Reprising his role from The Suicide Squad), Dr. Nina Mazursky (Amphibian Monster), Eric Frankenstein and his Bride, and G.I. Robot 2. Actors who play/voice the characters in animation are said to reprise their roles in live-action as well, as the shift from one medium to another frequently happens so that the interconnectivity part stays true to its essence. A release date has not been announced, but it might possibly be the first released DCU project.

Advertisement

Waller Live Action Series

DC live-action ventures have been lucky so far to have Viola Davis remain attached to a significant role as the ruthless bureaucrat Amanda Waller for so many years without proper utilization. After reinstating her role in DCEU in back-to-back projects “The Suicide Squad” and “Peacemaker,” James Gunn has wisely opted for a live-action series on the character titled “Waller.” The series will pick up right from the ending of the first season of “Peacemaker,” where we saw Adebayo, Amanda Waller’s daughter, reveal the truth behind Task Force X and her mother’s actions, which can’t even be quantified with the term “human rights violation.” The series will also mark the return of the cast of “Peacemaker” and will connect directly with the second season of it. The most exciting part is the creators of two of the best comic-book-oriented series, writer/producer Jeremy Carver (Doom Patrol) and Christal Henry (Watchmen HBO series), are the makers of the series. Once again, no fixed release date has been announced yet, but we are guessing somewhere between 2023-24.


Superman: Legacy

After more than a decade, DC fans will finally get a solo movie based on the last son of Krypton, which will also officially “begin” the DCU. The primary focus was always meant to be around the premiere superhero of the franchise, and James Gunn is taking the job very seriously by writing the script himself. The story won’t be another origin showcase of the character; rather, it will revolve around a young Clark Kent, where we will see him balancing out his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing. He will exemplify the ideals of truth, justice, and a better tomorrow and will embody kindness in a world that thinks these values have become old-fashioned. After Henry Cavill’s exit, a young actor will be cast in the role in a multi-year contract to reprise the role through multiple projects in the future. As for the source material, Grant Morrison’s masterpiece of a work, “All-Star Superman,” has been referenced a number of times. It is so exciting to have a solo Superman movie after so many years, and to have the character as the foundation of this new universe—just like in comics—is the cherry on top. Although no director has been assigned to the project yet, a release date of July 11th, 2025, has been announced.  

Advertisement

Lanterns, An HBO series

This was a project long overdue, as a series based on the vast cosmic lore of the Green Lantern Corps was in the making since 2019, with Greg Berlanti producing a large-scale HBO Max series. That was reworked later for a John Stewart-based Green Lanterns series, and as James Gunn announced, that too was later remade and finalized as the upcoming big premiere HBO TV series named “Lanterns.” The series will consist of two major Green Lanterns, Hal Jordan and John Stewart, as the space cops watching over the Earth sector. Said to be similar in tone to ‘True Detectives,’ the series will also feature other Green Lanterns and probably Lantern squads of other spectrums as well. The story is hinted at grappling with a terrifying mystery of some ancient horror on Earth that will act as a tie-in to the larger DCU. As of yet, no actors have been cast in the roles, and no final release date has been announced either.


The Authority

The next one in line is James Gunn’s passion project, a big-budgeted movie on the superteam “Authority,” consisting of superheroes with questionable moral ethics. Based on the characters of DC Imprint Wildstorm Comics, the series dealt with heroes who are a little over the edge and was the first comic series to popularize ‘widescreen comics’ to provide a cinematic feel to the readers. In comics created by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch, this unrestrained, all-powerful team considers that the end justifies the means, leaves the idea of traditional heroism behind, and is extremely unhinged in its approach to justice. James Gunn remarked that The Authorities are a group that thinks the world is broken, and they are willing to fix it using any means necessary. Some of the founding members of the team are Apollo, Midnighter, Swift, Jenny Quantum, Rose Tattoo, and Jenny Sparks. The approach of “The Authorities” makes them somewhat similar to The Seven of “The Boys” (used to be a Wildstorm property) and puts them in direct opposition to the likes of Superman and the Justice League. James Gunn has promised to bring more Wildstorm characters into the DCU mainstay and have them interact with the well-known DC characters. A release date is yet to be assigned for the movie.

Advertisement

Paradise Lost Live Action Series

A prequel story of the “Wonder Woman” movie will take place in the upcoming TV series “Paradise Lost,” which, according to James Gunn, will see the Amazonians engaged in “Game of Thrones”-like political intrigue in Themyscira, aka Paradise Islands. No specifics regarding the project have been announced yet, but in comics, the significance Amazonian politics shapes much of Diana’s perspective as an emissary of peace. This women-only society and its culture will be one of the highlights of the series, and it is still to be known whether Gal Gadot will reprise her role as Wonder Woman in this venture.


The Brave And The Bold

 With a title that gives a nod to classic fun Batman comics of the silver age (from which the animated series was also adapted), “The Brave and The Bold” will see DCU’s Batman dealing with Robin, in this case, his own son Damian, in a new dynamic. Inspired by Grant Morrison’s seminal work “Batman and Son,” the movie will mark the first live-action appearance of Damian Wayne as Robin. James Gunn remarked that Damian, the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, is his favorite Robin too. In the comics, Damian was genetically enhanced and later trained with master assassins along with his grandfather Ra’s al Ghul’s League of Assassins to become a perfect killing machine. After raising him till he was ten years old, Talia brought him to his father, Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, and the two soon started locking horns over their moral positions. This will definitely be an interesting movie, as, after almost three decades (hint of Robin cameo in The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t count), fans will see Robin on the silver screen once again. Batman’s iconic camaraderie with his jubilant sidekick is something timeless, but this time we will see a unique approach as well father-son dynamic added to the relationship. Gunn has also said that the movie will initiate the Batfamily in the DCU, and our fingers will remain crossed for a Nightwing or Batgirl cameo. Ben Affleck most definitely will not be returning as the Caped Crusader, but Gunn wishes to have him in a directorial role in DCU. Cast details and release dates will be known after finalization.


Booster Gold

The cult-favorite hero Booster Gold will have his own series in the DCU; as Gunn remarks, the series will explore the superhero story of someone with imposter syndrome. In comics, Booster Gold, aka Michael Jon Carter, is a poor nobody from the 25th century who steals futuristic gadgets from Metropolis Space Museum, partners with an AI named Skeets, and uses a time-traveling machine to travel to the 21st century and poses as a hero. The series will be a fun watch and also a character study of the self-promoting hero. 


Supergirl: Woman Of Tomorrow

Taking Tom King’s Eisner nominated title as the source material, a new Supergirl movie will be part of the first chapter of DCU. James Gunn remarked, unlike Superman, who was brought up in the loving care of Kents, in the story, Kara had spent a year up to her teenage in a split chunk of Krypton and has watched everyone around her die in horrible ways – something which contributed to her jaded and much harsher personality. The adventures of Supergirl in “Woman of Tomorrow” will release a couple of years later than the Superman movie, so 2027 can be marked as a tentative release year.

Advertisement

Swamp Thing

The last project to be mentioned in Gunn’s announcement was a cinematic venture of “Swamp Thing,” which will embrace the character’s dark horror roots. The movie will be kind of separated from DCU’s main continuity initially, but its lore will continue to affect the universe in the future. Created by legendary artist Bernie Wrightson and Len Wein, the human-turned-monster Swamp Thing is part of the elemental plant force known as “Green”, and the character’s lore explores various occult themes and cosmic equilibrium and is often considered the best character specimen horror comics has to offer. The movie might help DCU explore the insidious horror side of the franchise or the Justice League Dark Universe. Just a day after the announcement was made, director James Mangold shared a comic panel from “Swamp Thing” Volume 1 , which was also retweeted by Gunn himself – hinting his possible role as the director of the project.


Elseworlds

Besides the aforementioned projects, any other ventures like the upcoming “The Batman Part II” and “Joker: Folie a Deux,” which are not directly connected with the DCU but are DC Comics adaptations, nonetheless, will be known as part of Elseworlds. The sequel to “The Batman,” titled for now “The Batman Part II,” has been given a release date of October 3rd, 2025. For the first time in history, a Superman and a Batman movie are set to be released in the same year, but not in the same continuity. It is great to see Gunn using the term “Elseworlds,” which was coined through DC comics itself and is a favorite fan line.

Advertisement

Speculations 

The planned roadmap seems to be acting as a bridge between the past DCEU and the upcoming narratively well-structured and connected universe. Gunn has confirmed characters like Flash, Aquaman, Shazam, and Wonder Woman will have the option to be reprised by the same actors, which means they will not change the versions altogether If they have already clicked well with the audience. The upcoming “Flash” movie will act as the introductory phase of the DCU, as it is rumored to change the existing universe in a significant way by adapting the Flashpoint storyline. “Blue Beetle” movie, as well as “Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom,” will tie in with the new universe. The “Booster Gold” series will definitely explore the well-known bromance between Ted Kord’s version of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold. As the chapter title suggests, the Gods among men are already set to be introduced in the form of Amazonians, Lanterns, and Kryptonians, while the monsters get their due representation with the “Creature Commandos” and “Swamp Thing.”

With Bat family set to appear and Super-family in the making, the possibility of a team-up with “World’s Finest” seems like a surety down the line. Gunn’s close association with and appreciation of comic creators are well known, and he has also shared that the DC universe will build upon the foundation comic creators have set. Prolific writers like Drew Goddard, Christal Henry, Tom King, and Christina Hodson will work on these DCU projects with consultations from other comic creators. More than the interconnected aspect, however, the DC Studios chief has prioritized the unique vision and artistic independence of directors and has also professed that storytelling is their topmost concern. The roadmap also suggests equal importance given to flagship characters and the growth of relatively obscure characters/teams by providing them with their due limelight as well. After everything is said and done, it seems like it can be positively said that under the direction of an avid comic-book fan like James Gunn, the various media adaptations of the world’s oldest comic franchise will achieve the greatness it has deserved for so long.

Advertisement

Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

Latest articles