The DCEU Has Given The Suicide Squad's James Gunn A Powerful New Leadership Position

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

As if leaving an impactful mark on the Marvel Cinematic Universe with his Guardians of the Galaxy work wasn’t a big enough accomplishment, James Gunn has also been doing quite well for himself in the DC Extended Universe. First he delivered The Suicide Squad in summer 2021, and that paved the way for his Peacemaker spinoff series, which HBO Max subscribers can watch. While we already knew that Gunn is working on more DCEU projects, word’s come in that he’s gained a powerful new leadership position in the franchise.

THR shared the big news that James Gunn and producer Peter Safran have been selected to be the co-chairs and co-CEOS of the newly-formed division DC Studios. This means that Gunn and Safran will oversee DC’s film, TV and animation efforts, with Gunn focusing on the creative side of things and Safran focusing on the business and production work. The men will report directly to Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav and will work closely with Warner executives Michael de Luca and Pamela Abdy. Gunn’s deal specifically runs for four years, and he’ll work exclusively for DC during that time.

James Gunn confirmed his promotion on Twitter, saying that he’s “so pleased to be here.” This news follows after former DC Films boss Walter Hamada exited Warner Bros. Pictures last week. Gunn elaborated on this major DC move in an official statement with Peter Safran, saying:

We’re honored to be the stewards of these DC characters we’ve loved since we were children. We look forward to collaborating with the most talented writers, directors, and actors in the world to create an integrated, multilayered universe that still allows for the individual expression of the artists involved. 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. We’re excited to invigorate the theatrical experience around the world as we tell some of the biggest, most beautiful, and grandest stories ever told.

It is worth noting that not all of the upcoming DC movies and TV shows will fall under James Gunn and Peter Safran’s watchful eyes. THR article’s mentioned that Joker 2, which will see Joaquin Phoenix acting opposite Lady Gaga and is expected to begin production later this year, will be directly overseen by Michael de Luca and Pamela Abdy. It’s also unclear if Gunn and Safran will be working with Matt Reeves in the building of his The Batman universe, which will include spinoff shows like The Penguin and potentially movies centered on villains like Scarecrow, Clayface or Professor Pyg.

While there are already a number of DC entries lined up for the near future, including Shazam! Fury of the Gods, The Flash, Blue Beetle and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, now we know that James Gunn and Peter Safran will work together to guide the direction of this corner of the DC media empire for the next several years, if not much longer. And as already mentioned, Gunn scoring this DC Studios leadership position doesn’t mean he’s done directly making his own DC projects. It’s already been announced that Gunn will write and direct all of Peacemaker Season 2’s episodes, and he reportedly has some other The Suicide Squad spinoffs in the works, including a Viola Davis-led Amanda Waller series. It was also reported last week that Gunn pitched a mystery DC movie, and considering the power he now wields, it’s probably a safe bet that will move forward.

Now that James Gunn is one of DC’s biggest players, it appears that he will be bidding adieu to the MCU over the next half year. First, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (which dropped its first trailer earlier today) will premiere to Disney+ subscribers on November 25, and then Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will hit theaters on May 5, 2023. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates on what Gunn and Peter Safran have in store for the DCEU.

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.