James Gunn Calrifies DCU Canon and Returning Actors

James Gunn is trying to clear up any confusion about the upcoming DCU, partly by contradicting things he said in the past. In a series of posts on Threads, which I think he’s single-handedly keeping alive, Gunn clarified that his DCU begins with the animated series Creature Commandos, which is “a sort of aperitif” before the universe begins in earnest with Superman: Legacy. That’s a deviation from previous statements indicating that either The Flash or Blue Beetle would be the start of the DCU, but regardless, this is clear and makes sense. Then, things get a bit murkier, as Gunn says that certain actors from the DCEU/Snyderverse will return as their characters, and “some plot points might be consistent with” those of previous DC productions. After that, he specifically names three actors who will reprise their DC roles: Xolo Maridueña as Blue Beetle, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, and John Cena as Peacemaker. He also comments – perhaps sincerely, perhaps derogatorily – about the “human drive to want to understand everything all the time.” You can see the posts below:

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If that statement about people wanting to know what the hell is going on is as smug as it seems, he may want to consider how confusing all of this has been. Some actors are coming back as their characters, but in a new continuity that isn’t a sequel to any of their previous movies or shows. Fine, but then the major actors who play characters like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman (well, maybe on that last one) are out because he’s got a new, unique vision. Does he really not understand why people are confused? And the people he’s sticking with are kind of strange. I get Viola Davis because she’s excellent casting, and everyone liked her (despite Gunn’s The Suicide Squad turning her into a joke at the end), but Xolo Maridueña? Blue Beetle bombed, and Gunn is reversing his previous stance that it was the first DCU movie. Why even bother with Blue Beetle right now? Who cares about him when the DC Universe is being rebuilt? I know Gunn likes his obscure, oddball characters, but a recent proven failure should be an afterthought. I tend to think this is because of all the noise about it being the first Hispanic superhero movie, another historic moment that nobody showed up to take part in. And John Cena’s Peacemaker is his baby, so of course Gunn wants to hang onto that; that’s like asking if Jennifer Holland will be back as Emilia Harcourt. But that muddies things even more because, in an interview with Michael Rosenbaum, Gunn said he will work on season 2 of Peacemaker after Superman: Legacy. If nothing before Creature Commandos is canon, how does that work? Is season 2 actually going to be season 1 of a rebooted Peacemaker? Is this going to be an Elseworlds project from now on? Or are we stupid for wondering? Maybe he’s trying to get people to the point where they just don’t bother asking anymore.

My suspicion is that Gunn is throwing out the DCEU movies that came out this year (with one more on the way – did you notice how he isn’t even pretending to try to save Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom?) because they bombed spectacularly and he got the green light from Warner Bros. to ignore them. I also think this is what he wanted to do from the beginning, which is why he got rid of Henry Cavill, the Rock, and other major actors, and why he seemed to do what he could to sabotage this year’s movies. But he left things open just in case people liked them too much for Gunn to be able to jettison them. The comment about past plot points suggests that we’ll see some familiar things, like origin stories or maybe classic comic book storylines – “classic” in this case being anything Gunn happens to like. Some things seem to remain up in the air; Gunn conspicuously didn’t mention Gal Gadot in his list of returning actors, but he hasn’t said definitively that she’s out yet. And not long ago, Gadot insisted she was told she’d be back as Wonder Woman, although Variety later reported that sources told them it wasn’t true. And Gunn’s silence could also be because the actors are still on strike and he can’t talk about it yet. If I had to guess, I’d say these are negotiating tactics on both sides, but that Gunn would probably rather get rid of her and recast Wonder Woman. His opening slate doesn’t even have a Wonder Woman movie, just the Wonder Woman-adjacent Themyscira show Paradise Lost. This is a long ways off, and Gal Gadot will be in her mid-40s before it even goes into production. I think she’s done. But the accusations that Gunn wanted to keep his own stuff in play seem to have been valid, and we’re seeing that play out with John Cena. They tried to keep their options open as long as they could, but this year’s DC films bombed, the writers’ strike is over, and the actors’ strike probably won’t last much longer; it’s time to start laying cards on the table, so we’ll probably start getting more concrete information soon.

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