James Gunn tapped as DC’s Kevin Feige in genius move

James Gunn at Comic ConFlickr/Gage Skidmore

In the ever-changing landscape of superhero franchises, seems like there’s another Kevin Feige on the town: James Gunn has been tapped to co-lead DC.

While Kevin Feige has been considered the iconic mastermind of the MCU – so much so that he was parodied as a robot in She-Hulk – but there hadn’t been a similar figurehead for the DCEU, until now – enter James Gunn.

In an unprecedented move, Guardians of the Galaxy, Peacemaker, and The Suicide Squad filmmaker James Gunn has been tapped to lead DC’s future film, TV, and animation endeavors. He will be sharing this role with Aquaman, Shazam, and Conjuring producer Peter Safran. This means that they will be co-chairs and co-CEOs of DC Studios, which will be replacing DC Films.

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This marks the end of the search for a replacement for earlier DC Films boss Walter Hamada, who left the studio last week.

When will James Gunn and Peter Safran become co-CEOs of DC?

Their roles will be instated effective on November 1, but meetings are seemingly still being had. In recent weeks, Gunn and Safran were spotted meeting with Warners film co-chair Michael De Luca. Once their roles are official, Gunn and Safran will remain working closely with De Luca and fellow Warners film boss Pamela Abdy.

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Reportedly, Gunn will focus on the creative side of the position, while Safran will focus on the business side. But both will still be directing and producing their own projects on top of this.

This change obviously comes during a turbulent time for DC, with films being criticised for either being cancelled (like Batgirl) or not being canceled (like The Flash). These decisions, amongst others, have led to friction between the heads of DC, hence Hamada’s departure of the role. And this model – known as the Pixar Model – of hiring filmmakers to oversee the entire company, is a new concept for live-action studios.

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However, things are looking up, according to DC officials: “We could not be more excited to have James Gunn and Peter Safran join the team and assume the leadership of the DC Universe,” De Luca and Abdy told The Hollywood Reporter.

“James is a brilliant filmmaker and storyteller and Peter is a tremendously successful and prolific producer and to have them both committing to work together to forge this new era for DC is a literal dream come true.

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“We all share a very similar sensibility and passion for this universe and the stars couldn’t have aligned any better. We can’t wait to get started, dig in, and collaborate with these unmatched creative minds.” 

“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.

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“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.”

Will this mean that James Gunn won’t work with Marvel anymore?

While Gunn and Marvel still appear to be on good terms, it is likely that this move will prevent him from devoting any time to the MCU.

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Sources say that Gunn’s role will last for at least four years, and that Gunn will be exclusive to the DC franchise.

Considering that his work with the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise will be coming to an end soon, with its third film and holiday special on the way, these could likely be the final Marvel projects with Gunn’s name on them.

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