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SYFY WIRE Warner Bros. Discovery

Warner Bros. promises to 'drive the hell out of DC' as James Gunn maps out studio masterplan

The head of Warner Bros. Discovery has his sights set on the wider DC Universe.

By Matthew Jackson
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Now that the future of the DC Universe on the big screen is consolidated under centralized, highly publicized leadership in the form of James Gunn and Peter Safran, fans have begun to look to the future of their favorite heroes and villains in both theaters and on HBO Max. Exactly what Gunn and Safran have planned is still a secret, but we know that it'll be big and expansive. We also now know, according to Warner Bros. Discovery head David Zaslav, that the studio plans to wring every bit of value possible out of their new DC masterminds.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Zaslav -- who's overseen a tumultuous few months at WBD which have included numerous cost-cutting cancellations and the scrapping of entire comic book movie projects -- offered a brief glimpse into what he's thinking in terms of the future of DC Studios. Now that Gunn and Safran have begun work on their master plan for the future of DC Comics properties across film and TV, Zaslav notes that he expects to keep the universe expanding, rather than just playing the hits over and over.

“I think over the next few years, you’re going to see a lot of growth and opportunity around DC; there’s not going to be four Batmans,” Zaslav said. “And so part of our strategy is, drive the hell out of DC, which James and Peter are going to do. I think they’ve thrilled the fans. I think they’re going to thrill you over a period of time.”

Gunn and Safran have inherited an already hefty pack of characters and stories released based on DC Comics in the past decade, including major Justice League players like Aquaman and Wonder Woman, and recently debuted heroes like Black Adam and Robert Pattinson's Batman. Speaking of Batman, they've also inherited a multiversal playing field in which three different Batman -- Pattinson, plus Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton returning for The Flash -- are already roaming around, which makes Zaslav's remarks all the more interesting. It might be a nod to streamlining the universe, or it might be Zaslav promising that DC Studios will be about more than the marquee heroes. We just don't know yet, but it's clear that pushing the possibilities of DC as far as possible are a high priority for a studio trying to regain ground in the franchise wars. 

For their parts, Gunn and Safran have spent their first weeks on the job at DC working on a grand plan for an "overarching" story stretching out over eight or ten years. If they pull it off, it'll be the biggest DC Comics-inspired endeavor we've seen so far, and it's clear that Zaslav is betting on them to do just that.

The DC movie odyssey continues next year with The FlashAquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Looking for more superhero action in the meantime? Stream Fantastic Four and more on Peacock right now.