No, James Gunn's New DC Studios Role Is Not the 'Death of the Snyderverse'

Filmmaker James Gunn and producer Peter Safran are now the co-chairs and co-CEOS of DC Studios, the new brand division that will replace DC Films at Warner Bros. Discovery. Not surprisingly, the DC Fandom has erupted before all of the finer details of this new appointment and brand concept have fully shaken out. DC fans loyal to director Zack Snyder's work in the franchise (or the "Sndyerverse" era) have already been taking to social media to declare James Gunn's new job a death knell for the Snyderverse and any hopes of its return. 

But let's be clear, upfront: James Gunn's new role at DC Studios does not automatically signal the "death of the Snyderverse." Far from it, in fact... 

Snyderverse Has Been Winning Lately


James Gunn, Peter Safran, and the launch of DC Studios is far from the only headline that has come out of the DC and Warner Bros. Discovery in recent weeks – or even this week. In fact, this latest announcement seems like part of a carefully orchestrated media and PR campaign by DC/WBD. The last few months have seen a conspicuous amount of news about the inner workings of WBD and its DC brand trickling out into the media; all of those confident new plans for the DCEU (and subsequent speaking about them) seemed to converge with the release of Dwayne The Rock" Johnson's Black Adam movie – and its major post-credits scene reveal that Henry Cavill's Superman is back in the franchise, with a sequel to his 2013 debut Man of Steel also back in play

That latest news item makes the backlash to James Gunn and Peter Safran's roles at DC Studios somewhat confusing: clearly, their new imprint is making moves – like getting Cavill back in the Superman suit –  that the Snyderverse supporters have wanted for years, no? 

That same fact also makes it hard to argue that Gunn and Safran are coming in as some kind of hatchetmen to cleave all traces of Zack Snyder's influence from the DC Studios franchise – after all how could they, at this point? Jason Momoa's Aquaman and Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman are both franchise staples that Snyder put in place – ditto with Henry Cavill's Superman. Even Ben Affleck is showing up at least once more as Batman (in Aquaman 2). Their continued roles in the franchise mean that some degree of Snyder's legacy is definitely alive and well, even as we move into this DC Studios era.

What Does It Mean to Be "Snyderverse?" 

(Photo: Warner Bros. / DC Films)

So what is the real complaint here? The "#RestoreTheSnyderverse" movement has never taken a break – even after the release of Zack Sndyer's Justice League – but is the goal to only have Zack Snyder directing DC movies and making creative decisions about the franchise direction? 

Or is it about having a franchise universe that sprung from the seeds of Snyder's ideas grow into something bigger? 

Because if it's the latter, then it's arguable that Gunn and Safran will inevitably be doing that as the move forward with the franchise stars and storylines Snyder put in place and developed.

The Flash of It All

(Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)

There's also the massive unanswered question of how The Flash movie plays into all this. For all we know at this point, Gunn and Safran could be inheriting an entirely new DCEU after the timeline-altering events of The Flash – which we already knew was going to act as a soft reboot for the entire franchise. So if that "reset button" was always going to be pressed, then the end of the Snyderverse fans knew may have been set in stone well before Gunn or Safran signed their new four-year deals

It's also clear that WBD is sticking with a fragmented DC franchise plan, as currently it seems Gunn and Safran won't oversee The Batman or Joker movie franchises, which exist in their own respective branch universes. So after The Flash, it's arguable that one part of the sandbox could be carved out for that Snyderverse restoration (on some level). If anyone would do it... 

Creator Friendliest? 


Finally, there may be some simple logistical confusion going on, here: James Gunn has signed on to oversee the entire DC Studios division, which will consist of movie, TV, and animated content. He's not writing and directing every DC movie, TV, and animated project. 

If there was ever a door to Zack Snyder actually making a return to Warner Bros. to work on DC projects – wouldn't this be the most likely one to go through? In his statement about Gunn's appointment, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav even acknowledged that Gunn and Safran are particularly well-suited to be creator-friendly bosses: 

"[James and Peter's] decades of experience in filmmaking, close ties to the creative community, and proven track record thrilling superhero fans around the globe make them uniquely qualified to develop a long-term strategy across film, TV, and animation, and take this iconic franchise to the next level of creative storytelling."

"We're honored to be the stewards of these DC characters we've loved since we were children," Gunn and Safran also said in a statement. "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's much more of a believable scenario to see Zack Snyder coming back to DC to work with the likes of Gunn than it ever was seeing him come back to work with the now-departed Walter Hamada or that era of WB executives. 

If the last week of DC movie news has taught anything, it's that fan-wish miracles could indeed be in the works, in all kinds of ways. 

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