What Is DC Studios? Breaking Down James Gunn And Peter Safran's New Division At Warner Bros.

The entertainment world was dealt a pretty impressive and impactful curveball recently when it was revealed that DC has a new boss (or bosses, to be more exact). James Gunn, director of "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "The Suicide Squad," and mega-producer Peter Safran, who worked with Gunn on "The Suicide Squad" and "Peacemaker," as well as helping to develop "The Conjuring" universe, are now steering the ship. Gunn and Safran are officially co-chairmen and chief executive officers of DC Studios.

Up until the appointment of Gunn and Safran, Warner Bros. Discovery had been using the name DC Films as its banner for all things connected to the universe containing Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and literally thousands of other characters. DC Films was created in 2016 shortly after the release of director Zack Snyder's divisive "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." So, in many ways, that represented the so-called Snyderverse era that we all took to calling the DCEU. But it's officially the DC Universe now as the DC Studios era begins.

So, what does all of this mean? What is DC Studios, exactly? How much say will Gunn and Safran have over the future of DC on the movie and TV side of things? We're going to break down all of that and go over what we know in that regard ahead of this brave new chapter in DC's history. Let's dig in.

What will DC Studios do?

So, what is DC Studios and what will Gunn and Safran's new division at Warner Bros. Discovery do, exactly? In essence, they are the new DC Films but, crucially, this new division has a firm presence steering the ship. It had been known for some time that WBD CEO David Zaslav wanted to find someone to head DC like Marvel has with Kevin Fegie. They got close with Dan Lin before that deal fell apart. In the end, they went with a different approach, having two people guide the creative direction of the DCU from here on out.

Safran is an incredibly experienced producer who helped shape "The Conjuring" universe into a $2 billion juggernaut. It is arguably the most successful cinematic universe outside of Marvel going today. Gunn, meanwhile, went from directing indies like "Slither" to blockbusters about unknown characters that became household names with "Guardians of the Galaxy." We have Safran steering the producer, behind-the-scenes elements, while Gunn can take on more of a creative role. Per the press release announcing the appointment:

Gunn and Safran will spearhead the development and execution of a long-term plan for the many properties licensed from DC Comics, focused on continuing the tradition of high-quality storytelling for the DC Universe across audio-visual media, while building a sustainable growth business out of the iconic franchise. In addition to their executive responsibilities, Gunn and Safran will develop, direct, and produce projects.

Gunn and Safran's reach will extend to movies like the "Man of Steel" sequel, shows like "Peacemaker," and animated series like "Harley Quinn." Pretty much anything connected to DC. The one exception right now is "Joker: Folie à Deux," which will fall outside of the DCU. The big question mark right now is Matt Reeves' "The Batman" sequel and his planned spin-offs in that universe.

It's not exactly like Marvel Studios

As mentioned, Zaslav had, understandably, been looking for a Feige-like figure to head up DC. But let's be perfectly clear: there is only one Kevin Feige and that is why every other studio in Hollywood doesn't have one. The man is a singular force and that success cannot merely be replicated. So, what's the next best thing? Gunn worked closely with Feige for years on the "Guardians of the Galaxy" films before bouncing to DC with "The Suicide Squad." He's a creative guy who has proved time and time again that he can turn IP into gold. See also: the "Dawn of the Dead" remake and the "Scooby-Doo" live-action movies.

Safran, meanwhile, has essentially printed money for Warner Bros. as a producer with "The Conjuring," "The Nun," and "Aquaman" (the highest-grossing DC movie ever) on his resume. But Feige is the chief creative officer at Marvel. While it wasn't always the case, for the past few years it has been Feige's ship to steer from top to bottom. It isn't just the movies and TV shows, as Feige has a say in the comics and everything else as well. He has a ridiculous amount of power, ranking only a little below Disney CEO Bob Chapek in many ways. Feige is Disney's golden goose.

Gunn and Safran will report directly to Zaslav so, in that way, it mirrors what Feige has going on. But DC Comics still has Jim Lee as its Chief Creative Officer and Publisher, while Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy, the co CEOs of Warner Bros. Film Group, also still have a great deal of say when it comes to the movies at the studio. All of this to say, DC Studios will not operate exactly like Marvel Studios. It is going to be different, but different isn't necessarily a bad thing

How much power do Gunn and Safran have?

While Gunn and Safran won't necessarily have as much say-so as Feige does at Disney, the duo will still have a great deal of power. Granted, for the moment, they are contending with inherited projects from former DC Films head Walter Hamada, who officially departed his role ahead of the release of "Black Adam." Movies like "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom," "Blue Beetle," and the ever-troubled "The Flash" are on the slate no matter what. There are also movies in development like "Wonder Woman 3" that the duo will have to contend with.

That being said, once the dust settles, Gunn and Safran will be the ones creatively dictating where the DCU goes from here. They will be the ones courting talent, developing movies and TV shows, and deciding what ultimately gets made. Yes, they will have to go through Zaslav as well as work with De Luca and Abdy. But it's their vision from here on out.

The press release also made it clear that the two will be working with several other higher-ups in the WBD empire. This includes Channing Dungey, chairman of Warner Bros. Television Group; Casey Bloys, chairman and CEO of HBO and HBO Max Content; Kathleen Finch, chairman and chief content officer of US Networks Group; Pam Lifford, president of Warner Bros. Discovery Consumer Products; and David Haddad, president of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Any DC stuff that funnels to any of those channels will go through Gunn and Safran.

Many questions remain and they will be answered in time. For now, we can focus on the fact that the DC Studios era officially begins on November 1, 2022, when James Gunn and Peter Safran start their new jobs. They've got a four-year deal and, in that time, it figures that the DC Universe is going to change dramatically. Strap in, DC fans.