DC has finally found its Kevin Feige — and it’s someone who’s more than a little familiar with Marvel’s Kevin Feige. In a surprise move, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Suicide Squad director James Gunn and producer Peter Safran will head up DC Studios, a newly-created division of Warner Bros. Discovery that will replace the currently existing DC Films.
Gunn has been tapped to focus on the creative side of DC’s movie, streaming, and animated projects moving forward, while Safran will focus on business and production decisions. Both will report directly to WBD CEO David Zaslav, according to reports.
Gunn’s backstory is well known to superhero fans, thanks to his Marvel Studios trilogy (2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and next year’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3) and last year’s The Suicide Squad for DC Films. He was also the force behind HBO Max’s critically acclaimed Peacemaker, which is currently prepping its second season.
Safran started in show business as a manager for clients including Jennifer Lopez, Sean Combs, and Gunn. He’s also worked as a producer and/or executive producer on a number of movies, including Warner Bros’ horror franchise The Conjuring, as well as DC movies Aquaman, Shazam!, The Suicide Squad and a number of projects currently in the works, including Blue Beetle.
In a statement, Zaslav said, “DC has among the most entertaining, powerful, and iconic characters in the world and I am thrilled to have the singular and complementary talents of James and Peter joining our world-class team and overseeing the creative direction of the storied DC Universe. Their 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.”
Gunn and Safran released their own joint statement, which read, “We’re honored to be the stewards of these DC characters we’ve loved since we were children. 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.”
The news comes less than a week after the release of Black Adam, a DC Films movie that reintroduced Henry Cavill’s Superman to audiences. News of the deal was initially broken by The Hollywood Reporter.
In an instance of unexpected happenstance, news of Gunn’s new gig comes on the same day that the first trailer for his next Marvel project dropped.