Jim Lee replacing Geoff Johns

There’s some behind-the-scenes shuffling going on at DC. Geoff Johns is stepping down as the president and chief creative officer of DC Entertainment to form a new production company, and current DC Comics publisher Jim Lee will replace him. Read more about the switch below.

The Hollywood Reporter explains that Johns will no longer serve as an executive at DC Entertainment, but he won’t be stepping away from the comic book world – in fact, he’s taking a more prominent creative role in getting projects off the ground. He’s starting a new production company called Mad Ghost Productions, where he’ll have an exclusive writer/producer deal with Warner Bros and DC. And he’s already lining up new projects: Johns will write and produce DC’s upcoming Green Lantern Corps movie in addition to co-writing and executive producing Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 2.

Johns released a statement explaining his transition to a more creative role:

“I took on a role at DCE because I love the characters and this universe more than anything. But, I want to spend my days writing and on set. I’m thrilled to get back to a more hands-on creative role. It’s a dream job on dream projects, reaching even deeper into DC’s vast pantheon of characters.”

Johns, who was previously best known as a comic book writer, took a job as DC Entertainment’s chief creative officer in 2010 and was promoted to president in 2016 while still writing for DC Comics. During his tenure, he oversaw the creation of mega-popular superhero television shows like Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and more. But he also oversaw the movies that kickstarted the embattled DC Extended Universe, and Vulture reporter Kyle Buchanan shared some info about Johns’ involvement on Twitter:

Take that as you will. But it sounds like Johns was itching to get back to being a pure creative, and in addition to his movie projects, he has even more DC projects in the works. He’s executive producing and writing Titans, the first original show for the DC Universe streaming service. THR says he “also wrote the Titans episode ‘Doom Patrol’ that it is spinning out into its own 13-episode original series for the digital service.”

Meanwhile, Johns will write for and oversee a new DC pop-up comic label called The Killing Zone, which focuses on new and lesser known DC characters. He’s also set to write a new Shazam comic, and if all that wasn’t enough, he’s writing yet another comic called Three Jokers. Here’s hoping that one’s a ’90s sitcom-style story about Jared Leto’s Joker cloning himself and the three versions of the Clown Prince of Crime living together in one cramped apartment. At this rate, DC Films will turn that concept into a movie by the end of the week.

Jim Lee

As he leaves his position behind, iconic artist and DC Comics publisher Jim Lee will replace Johns as DC Entertainment’s chief creative officer – though the report doesn’t specifically say if he’ll take over as the president or not. Either way, this is a cool promotion for Lee, who followed a similar trajectory as Johns: he started out as a superstar creative and became so influential that he was hired as an executive.

This is all coming on the heels of Diane Nelson, DC Entertainment’s co-president, stepping down just a few days ago, and as the court verdict looms about whether or not AT&T will be able to purchase DC and Warner Bros.’ parent company, Time Warner. These are tumultuous times, and it’ll be interesting to see if the combination of Lee being in a new position and Johns taking a more directly creative role will be able to potentially right the ship of DC Films in the years to come.

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