DC Universe Movie Slate Announced: Superman: Legacy, Swamp Thing, The Batman 2, And More

As the new co-chair and co-CEO of DC Studios, James Gunn promised "the biggest story ever." We now have a picture of that story's first chapter. Gunn and co-chair and co-CEO Peter Safran, held an exclusive event discussing their plans on January 30, 2023, and /Film's Jenna Busch was in attendance. At that event, Gunn and Safran revealed the studio's first slate, titled "Gods and Monsters."

This will serve as a "Phase One," if we're comparing this line-up with Gunn's former employer Marvel Studios. On top of multiple television projects, Gunn and Peter Safran's slate includes five films. Starring characters include both big guns and more obscure characters like the ones Gunn is so fond of. In any case, the slate promises a fresh start for the DC multiverse on film.

Superman: Legacy

James Gunn has previously said Superman was a "huge priority" for DC Films. Such a huge priority, in fact, that the Man of Tomorrow will be "the launch point of the DCU." The film will be titled "Superman: Legacy." Gunn is writing the script and there is hope he will direct the film too.

Peter Safran gave the pitch of the film as such:

"['Legacy'] focuses on Superman balancing his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing. Superman represents 'Truth, Justice, and the American way.' He is kindness in a world that thinks of kindness as old-fashioned."

Though Gunn adds he wants to take the DCU away from "good guy vs bad guy," there are "really, really almost saintly people in the world — Superman is among them."

"Superman: Legacy" is not an origin story — "it's not Superboy," they say — but it will focus on, "an earlier part of Superman's life." Henry Cavill, who played the Man of Steel in past DC films, will not be returning. No casting announcement for the Clark Kent of "Superman: Legacy" has been made, but the film is currently set for release on July 11, 2025. Gunn & Safran are aiming for a PG-13 rating but this is not yet set in stone.

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow

The next film in the DCU will feature a star from Krypton too — or rather, a starlet. "Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow" will star Kara Zor-El, cousin of Kal. The movie will feature a revision to Supergirl's origin; instead of being launched from Krypton in a rocket similar to her cousin, she was trapped on a piece of Krypton after the planet exploded. Having spent the first 14 years of her life watching everyone around her die, Supergirl is "much harsher and more f***ed up" than Superman, who was raised on Earth with the Kents as loving parents.

If you noticed that "Woman of Tomorrow," shares a title with a comic mini-series written by Tom King and Bilquis Evely, that's not a coincidence. King has been helping Gunn develop the story of the DCU and the "Supergirl" movie will apparently be an adaptation of his work with the heroine. Gunn says, "I love [King's] take on these characters where he slightly turns them to be something unique."

Supergirl has previously been portrayed by Helen Slater in film and by both Laura Vandervoort and Melissa Benoist on television. A new version of Kara played by Sasha Calle is appearing in "The Flash," though it is unconfirmed if Calle will return for "Woman of Tomorrow."

Swamp Thing

Next, the DCU moves into weirder territory. Swamp Thing was created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson and is as much a horror character as a superhero. A being composed of plant matter, Swamp Thing was born in a lab accident by biologist Alec Holland. In their seminal run on "Saga of the Swamp Thing," Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, and John Totleben revised the origin and revealed Swamp Thing wasn't Holland, but a new being with his memories.

According to Peter Safran, "This is a film that will investigate the dark origins of Swamp Thing." We'll have to see which version of the origin they pull from. Safran also noted, "It's important to point out that in these stories, although interconnected, they're not all tonally the same. Each set of filmmakers brings their own aesthetic to these films, and the fun is seeing how these tonally different works mash-up in the future."

Swamp Thing's stories are often terrifying and mystical, but fans know he can be a romantic hero too; one time, he and his love Abby Arcane literally reenacted "Beauty and the Beast." I'm excited to see what approach the eventual director of this "Swamp Thing" film takes. Adapted a few times before, including a 1982 film starring Ray Wise and directed by Wes Craven and a short-lived TV series in 2019. We at /Film have previously written that the DC Universe could use some of Swampy and I'm happy to see him getting some love.

The Authority

The next film is James Gunn's "passion project" — "The Authority." These characters include the electrokinetic Jenny Sparks and Apollo and Midnighter, a parody of Superman and Batman who also happen to be lovers.

The Authority was created for WildStorm Comics by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch, with the former repurposing characters from the previous series "Stormwatch." The comic is a confluence of the politically minded satire of "Watchmen" and the eXtreme edginess of the 1990s; the Authority are superheroes who will stop at nothing to save the world, even if it means seizing power. When WildStorm was bought by DC, the Authority came with them.

Gunn has a thing for superhero teams who don't get along, as seen by "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "The Suicide Squad." Since he also wants to move away from simple black-and-white stories, the Authority fit right in. Gunn said:

"['The Authority' is] a very different kind of superhero story [...] They're basically good-intentioned, but they think that the world is completely broken, and the only way to fix things is to take things into their own hands, whether that means killing people, destroying heads of state, changing governments, whatever they want to do to make the world better."

Gunn says there are plans to bring in more WildStorm characters to the DCU, but which characters are brought on will probably be contingent on the success of "The Authority."

The Brave and the Bold

"The Brave and the Bold" is a title with history at DC Comics, from a recently revived team-up comic to a cartoon series. This movie, however, will be marking the return of Robin, the Boy Wonder, to the big screen. Which Robin? None other than Damian Wayne, son of Bruce and Talia al Ghul. The movie will also introduce Damian's father: the DCU's new incarnation of Batman, played by neither Robert Pattinson nor Ben Affleck.

Gunn said that Damian is his favorite Robin and calls him a "little son of a b***h." If you're familiar with the comics, you know how true that is. "The Brave and the Bold" will be based on Grant Morrison's "Batman" run, which introduced Damian and is, per Gunn, one of his favorite Batman runs.

Gunn says the film will be a "father and son story between Bruce and Damian." Moreover, it will also feature other members of the Bat-family. Safran said, "We feel like they've been left out of the Batman stories in the theater for far too long." At the risk of speculation, Morrison's run features Damian developing sibling rivalries with both Dick Grayson and Tim Drake.

An older Batman, with a family of established sidekicks, seems like a perfect counterpoint to the younger Dark Knight played by Robert Pattinson. Speaking of...

The Batman: Part II

Matt Reeves' "The Batman" was the most acclaimed superhero movie of 2022 and the sequel is very much in the works. Gunn says "The Batman" is still planned to be a trilogy and that Reeves thinks of both the films and their spin-offs as "The Batman Crime Saga." Gunn says that Reeves has pitched "some amazing, really cool stuff" to him and Safran.

"The Batman" was closer to Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy — a grounded take on Gotham City with seemingly no wider universe. This presents a challenge with franchise integration, but Safran says they have no plans to treat Reeves' sequel like a "step-child" — "We are fully invested in the success of 'The Batman,' just like we are everything else."

Indeed, to ensure there's no Batman in-fighting, Gunn confirmed "The Brave and the Bold" and "The Batman 2" won't be released within the same six-month period. But "The Batman: Part II" currently has a release date pencilled in for October 3, 2025.