The Suicide Squad Director James Gunn Says Warner Bros. Still Uses DCEU Label

Warner Bros. still refers to its shared film continuity as the DC Extended Universe and is working "to make everything fit together much better," says The Suicide Squad filmmaker James Gunn. The officially unofficial label, abbreviated as the "DCEU," dates back to 2015 when journalist Keith Staskiewicz coined the term in a story for Entertainment Weekly. Then-DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson and then-DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns told Vulture reporter Abraham Riesman in 2017 that the moniker was not official or used internally at DC or Warner Bros., but Gunn says the now Walter Hamada-headed DC Films sometimes uses the designation for its shared universe home to heroes like Batman (Ben Affleck) and anti-heroes like Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie).

"Yeah, it is. It is, sometimes," Gunn told The Hollywood Reporter when asked if WB/DC still internally refers to its universe as the DCEU. "Yeah, I think that there's definitely an eye. I got a lot more of it after [The Suicide Squad] was made, frankly, because they're really just trying to make everything fit together much better."

The first-time DC director returns to the DCEU for Peacemaker, the John Cena-starring HBO Max series spinning out of The Suicide Squad in January. Gunn directs multiple episodes of the spin-off and ends his movie with a post-credits scene setting up Peacemaker.

"I know a lot of it because of working on Peacemaker and doing that, which is definitely connected to The Suicide Squad and it ends up being connected to other DC properties," Gunn said. "So yeah, I think that, more than ever, there's sort of an eye to connect stuff a little bit more. But also, they're willing to take those properties like Joker and make them stand-alone DC properties. So I think that's a good balance."

Gunn's The Suicide Squad is neither a reboot nor a sequel to David Ayer's Suicide Squad, but the standalone does share continuity by bringing back Quinn and her Suicide Squad co-stars Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), and Amanda Waller (Viola Davis).

The armored assassin Bloodsport (Idris Elba), a newcomer to the DCEU, joins Task Force X after ending up in prison for shooting Superman (Henry Cavill, who does not appear) with a Kryptonite bullet. Gunn previously revealed an early idea for The Suicide Squad had him pitting a squad of expendable supervillains against the Man of Steel, who dies in Batman v Superman but returns to life in both versions of Justice League.

DC Films properties set outside of the DCEU canon include Joker and the upcoming The Batman from director Matt Reeves. Upcoming projects set in the same continuity as The Suicide Squad include Aquaman 2 and Wonder Woman 3, Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Black Adam, and The Flash, which reunites Justice League co-stars Ezra Miller and Affleck before introducing a Batman (Michael Keaton) from another universe.

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Starring Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney, Peter Capaldi, David Dastmalchian, Daniela Melchior, Sylvester Stallone, and Viola Davis, The Suicide Squad is now playing in theaters and streaming on HBO Max through September 6. Peacemaker premieres January 2022 on HBO Max.