J.J. Abrams recently signed a massive $500m exclusive deal with WarnerMedia to write, produce and direct content for the media company across multiple platforms including film, television, streaming and video games under the Bad Robot banner. There are clearly huge plans for Abrams once he finishes working on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and given his experience and success in handling established franchises like Star Wars and Mission: Impossible, the DC Extended Universe could be next on his hit list.
The filmmaker has previous experience with DC-related movies, having written the script for Superman: Flyby, which came close to getting the official greenlight back in 2002 when he was still best-known for his small screen work on Felicity and Alias. However, it also looks like Abrams might not be tackling the DCEU alone, with James Gunn also rumored to help shape the direction of the franchise going forward.
We told you a while back that Gunn would stick around the property after The Suicide Squad and now that Abrams has hopped into bed with Warner Bros. as well, the studio wants the two of them to spearhead their cinematic universe. From what our sources have told us, J.J. will oversee the main heroes (like the Justice League), while Gunn will guide the Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn and some of the villains. And given that this intel comes from the same sources who told us Robert Pattinson was locked in as Batman, that Viola Davis was returning in The Suicide Squad and that Black Mask will be gay in Birds of Prey, all of which turned out to be true, we have no reason to doubt it.
Besides, on paper, this seems like a great idea. For years, the comic book franchise was lacking direction under the stewardship of Zack Snyder, and has been quietly rebooting itself over the last several movies, yielding both critical and commercial success in the process.
Abrams has plenty of know-how when it comes to writing, producing and directing blockbuster projects in many different genres, too, while Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy movies are among the best to ever come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only that, but he’s already working with the studio on The Suicide Squad and has made it clear that Vol. 3 will be his last go-round with the Guardians.
With sequels for Aquaman and Shazam! set to come, The Batman in pre-production and the world’s biggest movie star about to board the ship with Black Adam, the upcoming slate of DCEU projects is as exciting as it’s ever been. If Warner Bros. are intent on taking the Marvel Studios approach of having a specific creative team handling all of their movies, then they could definitely do a lot worse than the duo of J.J. Abrams and James Gunn. Maybe Abrams will even finally get to scratch that itch and make a Superman pic of his own?