One week into their jobs leading DC’s film, TV and animation efforts, James Gunn and Peter Safran met with their new Warner Bros. Discovery cohorts at a virtual town hall with CEO David Zaslav Thursday.
For months, Zaslav has said he wanted leaders to help DC become more like Marvel Studios, which is home to the most successful film franchise in history, one known for its overarching storylines such as the Infinity Saga. At the town hall Thursday, Safran emphasized that DC will focus on telling a single story.
“This was such a unique opportunity to tell one great overarching story”, said Safran, known for producing Shazam! and Aquaman. “One beautiful big story across film, television gaming, live-action, and animation.”
Gunn noted that he and Safran have begun work on a long-term plan for that story.
“The opportunity to make DC as great as it can be and as it should be — that is the reason why I’m doing this job because I know that Peter and I can do that,” said Gunn. “We spent the past couple days with a group of some of the best thinkers in the industry, the best writers in the industry starting to map out that eight to 10 year plan of what it’s going to look like in theater, in TV, in animation, across the board for these characters.”
In late October, Zaslav tapped Gunn and Safran to lead DC Studios as co-chairs and co-CEOS, with the duo beginning their duties Nov. 1.
Gunn rose to prominence turning Marvel’s little-known Guardians of the Galaxy characters into globally recognizable names. When he came to DC in 2018 to develop a feature, he chose to elevate misfit characters like Ratcatcher-2 and Polka-Dot Man in his 2020 feature The Suicide Squad rather than take on recognizable heroes like Superman. During the town hall, he highlighted his love for the obscure, sharing his affinity for The Metal Men and Bat-mite. But he also paid tribute to DC’s most known heroes.
“I love Superman, and I love Batman. I love their interaction,” Gunn said. “I love the ways in which they’re the same and the ways in which they are completely different.”
Gunn and Safran will report directly to Zaslav, who this week told investors he has spent a lot of time with the duo over the past few months. They replace Walter Hamada, who departed as DC Films president last month after holding the post for four years. The search for new leaders to run DC was long and closely watched, with the ascension of Gunn, a top-filmmaker, coming as a surprise.
Gunn took a moment during Thursday’s town hall to address Zaslav directly.
“I know that you are doing all this because you love these characters too, and you love the possibility, and the hope that they represent and that has been clear to us from the beginning,” Gunn said. “We would have never considered this if that wasn’t the case, so, thank you.”