We’ve known for some time that DC Studios co-leads James Gunn and Peter Safran were cooking up a big, bold plan to effectively reset Warner Bros. Discovery’s universe of superhero movies in order to get the cinematic franchise back on track in the David Zaslav era. Now, the first details of that plan are starting to be released, and it’s sounding a lot like the new DC Universe is going to be going back to the basics as the studio builds to a new future.
Though Gunn and Safran almost certainly have more ideas in the pipeline, Warner Bros. Discovery announced today that five movies and five series will kick off “Chapter 1” of the DC Universe. In a press release, the studio described this first chapter as focusing on some of the franchise’s most powerful “Gods and Monsters,” and Safran emphasized how Chapter 1 is being “designed to minimize audience confusion and maximize audience engagement across platforms.”
According to WBD, there’s definitely going to be a sequel to Matt Reeves’ The Batman starring Robert Pattinson that the studio has titled The Batman — Part 2 and plans to release in theaters on October 3rd, 2025. But the “real” start of the new DC Universe will come earlier that year by way of Superman: Legacy, a new film due out July 11th, 2025, that Gunn is writing and which will introduce a new Superman who is not portrayed by Henry Cavill.
While the DC Universe will spotlight stories about many of DC’s signature characters like Batman, Robin, and multiple Green Lanterns, Gunn stressed that Superman: Legacy will be a foundational piece of the franchise’s future.
“Not only is Superman an iconic part of DC lore, he is also a favorite character for comic book readers, viewers of earlier movies, and fans around the world,” Gunn said. “I can’t wait to introduce our version of Superman who audiences will be able to follow and get to know across films, movies, animation, and gaming.”
Following Superman: Legacy, the DC Universe will similarly introduce its new core version of Bruce Wayne as Batman (portrayed by someone other than Pattinson), and his son Damian Wayne operating as Robin in a film titled The Brave and the Bold. A hardened, darker version of Superman’s cousin Kara Zor-El will be introduced in her own solo film titled Supergirl: The Woman of Tomorrow, and Swamp Thing will rise again as a new horror feature that delves into its eponymous antihero’s origins. Surprisingly, the DC Universe will also introduce a number of DC Comics imprint WildStorm’s lethal heroes in The Authority, which could bring characters like Midnighter and Apollo to the big screen for the first time.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Gunn and Safran explained that while those first five movies are obviously meant to be tentpoles that pull fans in, the TV side of things will be just as integral to DC Studios, as all of the DC Universe projects are interconnected.
In the wake of Peacemaker’s success, it makes sense that Viola Davis will reprise her role as Amanda Waller in Waller, a new series penned by Watchmen’s Christal Henry and Supernatural’s Jeremy Carver. Waller’s influence will be felt all throughout a new animated Creature Commandos series revolving around a group of monstrous prisoners she tasks with going on Suicide Squad-style missions. But the DC Universe will also bring much more heroic characters into the fold with series like Booster Gold, a story about a regular man from the future masquerading as a superhuman, and Paradise Lost, a Game of Thrones-like Wonder Woman prequel series set on Themyscira.
Hal Jordan and John Stewart will be very busy taking care of their own business in the DC Universe’s Lanterns, which Safran described as being very “terrestrial-based” and “in the vein of True Detective,” rather than a straight epic about space cops. But he also made clear that Lanterns plays “big role in leading into the main story we are telling across film and TV” and that actors from the show will eventually appear in subsequent movies.
After years of watching the DCEU trying to play catchup to Disney’s success with the MCU, it’s interesting to see Warner Bros. Discovery laying out a game plan to properly build a robust franchise. But Chapter 1’s is going to hinge on a number of factors, like whether the public really is as fatigued of superhero movies as the internet often likes to insist and if people can be convinced to become invested in a new DC cinematic universe after watching the first peter out with Shazam 2, The Flash, Blue Beetle, and Aquaman 2.