James Gunn Updates The Status Of Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Gal Gadot, And More In The Rebooting DC Universe

Over the last decade, the DC Extended Universe proved to be a hit-or-miss operation. There were some great movies made, but there was also a lot of messiness and disorganization behind the scenes that prevented the franchise from becoming as successful as the competing Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now, new DC Studios co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran are set to reboot the whole enterprise and create something brand new – named the DC Universe – but what does that mean for Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Gal Gadot and Michael Keaton going forward?

This week, Gunn and Safran co-hosted a press event on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, California, and in addition to announcing nine different projects that are now in the works, they also provided updates about the statuses of the DC Extended Universe's biggest names. They spoke about how the DCEU stars fit into their plans, and we've collected all of their comments in this feature.

Ben Affleck in Justice League

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Ben Affleck

With James Gunn and Peter Safran announcing a The Brave And The Bold movie and Robert Pattinson getting set to star in The Batman – Part II, Ben Affleck's time as the Dark Knight on the big screen has come to an end... but, that being said, it seems that he still has a bright future in the DC Universe. It's unknown at this point if he'll end up playing a part in front of the camera, but one of the more exciting things that was revealed at the presentation is that Affleck may end up directing an upcoming DCU project. 

Affleck may not get to play Bruce Wayne or Batman on screen again, but he has been having discussions about possibly taking the helm of a developing blockbuster. Said Gunn,

We're working with Ben Affleck, who really wants to be, has been a part of our architectural team trying to bring things together. And he really wants to direct one of our projects and we're excited for him doing that...We and Ben have not decided together exactly... We're talking about two different projects.

What could those two projects be? It's possible that it's one of the movies that has already been announced, or it could be something in DC's Chapter 1: Gods And Monsters that is being kept under wraps for now. Either way, considering that Ben Affleck is an Academy Award-winning director, this is obviously an exciting tidbit.

Henry Cavill in Justice League

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Henry Cavill

Fans experienced a bit of whiplash last fall when it came to Henry Cavill's future as Superman. The actor reprised the role in the end credits of Black Adam, teasing a potential showdown with Dwayne Johnson's titular character, but those plans turned to dust in December when James Gunn announced that Cavill will not be playing the Man of Tomorrow in the DC Universe.

That status hasn't changed, but James Gunn did use part of the presentation to explain that the actor wasn't "fired;" he simply wasn't cast to play the lead in the upcoming Superman: Legacy. The filmmaker explained,

Also important to say that Henry Cavill was not fired. Henry was just not hired to be Superman in the Superman movie. There was never a deal there for another movie, and that's not what it was.

In his original statement regarding Henry Cavill not returning to the role of Superman, James Gunn teased that he and the actor were still having conversations "about a number of exciting possibilities to work together in the future," but the DC Universe presentation didn't provide any extra insight about other possible parts for Cavill.

Jason Momoa in Justice League

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Jason Momoa

Jason Momoa's situation in the DC Universe is more complicated than most – primarily because he is headlining a DC Extended Universe film that is still set to come out later this year: Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom. As of right now, it's not totally clear what's going to happen with the underwater hero in the DCU (Aquaman was not mentioned as being a character in Chapter 1), but one thing we do know is that Momoa won't end up playing two different roles in the canon.

There has been a fair amount of chatter recently about the possibility of Jason Momoa taking on the fan-favorite role of Lobo in the future of the DCU, but it sounds like no official decisions have been made yet. Safran, who is a producer on the Aquaman movies, explained,

Jason always thought Aquaman was a trilogy in his own mind, but he also loves, you know, listen, he loves Lobo. He's been very clear about that too. He's never gonna play two characters, but no decision has been made yet.

With Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom set to be released after the canon reset that has been promised in The Flash, does that mean we could end up seeing Jason Momoa finishing his trilogy as part of the DCU? We'll have to wait and find out when the sequel arrives in theaters everywhere this Christmas.

Gal Gadot in Justice League

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Gal Gadot

It was toward the end of last year that fans learned about Wonder Woman 3 being in trouble. After having directed the previous two Wonder Woman movies, Patty Jenkins had some creative differences with producers and executives about the direction of the series going forward, and the two sides ended up parting ways. Naturally, this left fans with some big questions about star Gal Gadot and her future as Princess Diana of Themyscira. 

Sadly, there were no specific answers provided about the situation during the DC Universe presentation, but James Gunn did confirm that conversations with the actor are still on-going:

We've talked to Gal – she's up for doing stuff. We're not sure what we're gonna do with that.

Among the titles on the Chapter 1: Gods And Monsters slate is Paradise Lost – a series set on Themyscira prior to Diana's birth – but it's otherwise unclear how the DCU is going to be utilizing one of the most beloved female heroes of all time, which obviously puts Gal Gadot's status as the character up in the air.

Michael Keaton in Batman

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Michael Keaton

During the DC Presentation, James Gunn effectively got us hyped for what to expect from The Flash, but one significant unknown that remains in relation to that project is what's going to happen with Michael Keaton's Batman. Keaton is reprising his part as the Caped Crusader for the first time since 1992's Batman Returns in the upcoming blockbuster, and while it seemed for a minute that he was being set up to be the DCEU's Dark Knight going forward (he was also set to be in the cancelled Batgirl movie), the big developments with the DCU has called that into question.

James Gunn and Peter Safran were asked about Michael Keaton's place in the DCU after The Flash and Batgirl, and based on the response, it seems that Keaton's future as Gotham's protector is more going to be multiverse related than strictly canon. Said Gunn,

There's all sorts of possibilities. We are a multiverse still, but the main thing that we're focusing on right now is creating the universe that people kind of put their feet into. And then out of that, if we want to have multiverse trips... we'll have that in there.

It feels fair to guess that we'll know a lot more about Michael Keaton's future as Batman when The Flash hits theaters on June 16.

Clearly there are still a lot of unknowns about the future of the DC Universe, but stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for all of the latest updates.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.