James Gunn Addresses DC Backlash And Toxic Fandom Regarding The New Direction Of The Shared Universe

James Gunn walking with The Suicide Squad actors
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

The beginning of November saw James Gunn and Peter Safran beginning their duties as the co-heads of the newly-created DC Studios, and the last few weeks have delivered a flurry of DC movies-related news. From Wonder Woman 3 not moving forward to Henry Cavill’s tenure as Superman ending in favor of a new reboot centered on the Man of Steel, it’s clear there are big changes for the shared DC cinematic universe. But some people online aren’t pleased at all with this new direction, leading Gunn to address the backlash and toxic fandom.

While it’s one thing to politely express dissatisfaction with the way DC is changing course with its cinematic offerings, James Gunn and Peter Safran has been dealing with folks who’ve been more extreme with their reactions. This led to Gunn posting a Twitter thread about the corner of DC fandom hitting back at him, starting with the following:

One of the things Peter & I were aware of when we took the job as heads of DC Studios was a certain minority of people online that could be, well, uproarious & unkind, to say the least. Our choices for the DCU are based upon what we believe is best for the story & best for the DC characters who have been around for nearly 85 years. Perhaps these choices are great, perhaps not, but they are made with sincere hearts & integrity & always with the story in mind.

With James Gunn having made The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker, and Peter Safran having produced The Suicide Squad, Aquaman, Shazam! and three of 2023’s upcoming DC movies, these two know their way around these superhero properties quite well, not to mention counting Gunn’s experience in the MCU. So with their experience and over eight decades of source material to pull from, these two are simply doing their best to to deliver DC stories to screens both big and small they they feel do justice to these beloved characters.

Now obviously one is allowed to be skeptical of what James Gunn and Peter Safran are cooking up, and maybe you’ll never be entirely on board with what they’ll deliver because you preferred the old DCEU. But there’s a fine line between sharing criticism and engaging in harassment, and while Gunn isn’t a fan of the latter, he made it clear that it won’t affect what he and Safran are putting together. The filmmaker continued:

No one loves to be harassed or called names – but, to be frank, we’ve been through significantly worse. Disrespectful outcry will never, ever affect our actions. We were aware there would be a period of turbulence when we took this gig, & we knew we would sometimes have to make difficult & not-so-obvious choices, especially in the wake of the fractious nature of what came before us. But this means little to us in comparison to our jobs as artists & custodians in helping to create a wide & wonderful future for DC.

As far as the near future goes, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, The Flash, Blue Beetle and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom come out next year, all of which were made under the old DC regime. Beyond 2023 though, aside from Joker 2, which doesn’t fall under James Gunn and Peter Saran preview, the future of DC films seems like a blank slate, and that’ll likely be when we get our first taste of what this new era will look like. In the meantime though, remember that there’s no need for insults about this sort of thing.

Should you like to rewatch past DC movies, many of those are easily accessible with an HBO Max subscription. You’re also welcome to see what non-DC fare awaits in the coming year with our 2023 release schedule.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.