After months of searching for a new leader to head up its answer to Marvel Studios, Warner Bros. Discovery has chosen director James Gunn and producer Peter Safran to lead its recently formed DC Studios division.
Though it at one point seemed as though Warner Bros. Discovery was eyeing Dan Lin to head up DC Studios, company CEO David Zaslav announced today that it ultimately decided on Gunn and Safran, who will serve as both co-chairs and co-CEOS of the division while overseeing all of its various film and television projects. In a statement about the surprising move, Zaslav expressed confidence in Gunn and Safran’s “singular and complementary talents” and excitement at the idea of them shaping the future of WBD’s various superhero offerings.
“Their decades of experience in filmmaking, close ties to the creative community, and proven track record thrilling superhero fans around the globe make them uniquely qualified to develop a long-term strategy across film, TV, and animation, and take this iconic franchise to the next level of creative storytelling,” Zaslav said.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. Discovery’s plan for DC Studios is to have Gunn guiding the division’s creative vision while Safran will be tasked with keeping an eye on money and production. Both Gunn and Safran will answer to Zaslav and reportedly keep directing and producing things in addition to their leadership duties as part of the four-year-long deal. In Gunn’s case, he will be working exclusively with DC, an interesting development given his connection to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.
Gunn taking on even more responsibility at Warner Bros. Discovery comes years after Marvel Studios initially fired him from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2018 after old, offensive tweets from the director were resurfaced online. While Marvel eventually brought Gunn back onto the project a few months later, it wasn’t until Warner Bros. (which hadn’t been gobbled up by Discovery at the time) had already swooped in and tapped him to helm the second Suicide Squad movie, the success of which led to a Peacemaker spinoff and, one imagines, this new deal now.
In a statement of their own about becoming the new arbiters of DC Studios’ future Gunn and Safran stated that they’re particularly interested in creating “an integrated, multilayered universe” project that “still allows for the individual expression of the artists involved.”
“We’re honored to be the stewards of these DC characters we’ve loved since we were children,” the duo said. “Our commitment to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Harley Quinn, and the rest of the DC stable of characters is only equaled by our commitment to the wonder of human possibility these characters represent. “