Why James Gunn And Peter Safran Making A DCU Production Bible Is A Big Deal

It's no surprise that the DC Universe as we know it is at a defining moment. Despite some very valiant efforts to keep it afloat — including "Shazam!," "Aquaman," and "Wonder Woman," among others — a major turning point is in store for the cinematic universe. The new hierarchy of Warner Bros. Discovery has employed James Gunn and Peter Safran to share CEO duties over DC Studios, a division created to oversee any and all DC projects for the foreseeable future. Although it may seem like a second attempt to replicate the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and ripe for failure, the future of the DCU is in knowledgeable hands, at least.

No longer titled the DCEU (DC Extended Universe), the impending revamped world of DC will be under a slightly different name and authority. Instead of sporadically spreading its efforts on the small and big screen, the DCU will be setting up its franchises for success sooner rather than later. Under the guise of Gunn and Safran, a framework is being created to map out the next 10 years of the DCU to tell "the Biggest Story Ever Told" across a variety of media. The ambitious endeavor will take into account individual artistic efforts, while also setting the stage for a cohesive universe.

'One beautiful big story'

This week, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav held a town hall meeting to clarify plans for the future of the company, especially the newly-minted DC Studios banner. The Wrap has the details of what was said during the event, including a few brief but pertinent comments made by Gunn and Safran. 

According to Zaslav, the new producing duo is working on a bible for the DC Universe that will span 10 years (far past their own four-year contracts, it seems). Safran reiterated a sentiment shared since his involvement was announced: "This was such a unique opportunity to tell one great overarching story ... One beautiful big story across film, television gaming, live-action, and animation." Meanwhile, Gunn went on to mention specific characters that are in the forefront of his mind: "I love Superman and I love Batman. I love their interaction. I love the ways in which they're the same and the ways in which they are completely different." 

Of course, there is a reason he mentioned the two most prominent superheroes of all time. Excluding the excellent "The Batman" from Matt Reeves, and a brief mid-credits cameo by Superman in "Black Adam," neither has been featured in the DCU for an extended period of time now. The promise of a unified vision has been a cautionary tale for DC films, but perhaps it is time that a cohesive plan was put in place.

Giving it another shot

It's too early to see if this will pan out, but the early signs are promising. Henry Cavill is already officially back on board as Superman. A new "Man of Steel" film has been on the minds of everyone at the studio, and it does not seem that far out. Gunn himself established a strong DCU presence on the small screen with "Peacemaker," showing just how good he is at connecting worlds without losing the essence of the story (and having fun with it). Safran partnered up with his co-CEO on "The Suicide Squad," and also delivered some of the biggest DC titles ever with "Aquaman" and "Shazam!" Few people are as intimately familiar with the current state of the DC Universe as they are. If the new leadership duo can bring that success on a wider canvas, then it should be more than welcomed. 

Outside of more interconnectivity, it's also important that individual projects feel unique to a filmmaker's vision. This has been a strength for the studio lately, so it should carry over in some form in the updated DCU. Gunn has already promised that the overarching plan would foment "individual expression of the artists involved." Although the head honchos at WBD want to replicate the success story of the Marvel Studios with DC Studios, it's futile to try and do so without forging a path that distinctly works for it. The formulaic nature of the MCU is often criticized for its limiting features, but the DCU could find its own way to strive for success.