New DC Studios co-head James Gunn is making some drastic changes going forward to the on-screen DCU. It shocked everyone to learn that Patty Jenkins Wonder Woman 3 was canceled, and now there are rumors that Gunn is opting for a full-scale reboot. Well, we’ve stated here before just what the DCU plan should be going forward, and how to repair their signature franchises. Namely, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, the Justice League, and the Teen Titans.
Having said that, there are other, more offbeat characters in the DC library that are perfect for James Gunn’s approach. Even if he himself doesn’t helm any of them as director, as executive producer they’d probably still have his signature stamp. Gunn has stated his plans for the DCU encompass film, TV, animation, and games. So some of these projects could fill any of those slots. Although we think Gunn’s focus should be on some of DC’s lesser-known IP, we can’t help but reiterate that he needs to start by repairing DC’s World’s Finest duo:
Superman and Batman: World’s Finest
Without a doubt, DC Studios needs a viable Superman and Batman team. Once Gunn and Safran figure out just who the DCU’s Superman and Batman even are, of course. Not adversaries, not enemies, but allies. (Ok, maybe frenemies). Batman v Superman made the two seem like mortal enemies. The Dark Knight was willing to murder the Man of Steel for the flimsiest of reasons. We need something that shows Superman and Batman teaming up to fight an evil that only the two of them combined can defeat. Besides, a good World’s Finest film could be the foundation for a proper Justice League reboot.
Director Ava DuVernay and writer Tom King planned a New Gods movie, before Warner Bros. scrapped it last year. But maybe James Gunn is the man who has the vision to revive it. Jack Kirby’s mythological space opera is part Game of Thrones, part Star Wars, and showcases DC’s biggest bad of them all, Darkseid. New Gods was just one part of Jack Kirby’s “Fourth World,” which also contained characters like Mister Miracle and the Forever People, who should be included too. It might actually fit better on TV than film, if we’re being honest. But it deserves a chance somewhere in Gunn’s new DCU.
Everyone has a soft spot for a lovable loser, and Booster Gold was DC’s version of that concept. In the comics, Booster was a nobody who worked as a janitor in the 25th-century museum. While working there, he stole some time travel machinery, and went back in time to our present. He hoped that some basic future tech would land him a career as a superhero in our primitive world. A world where he’d become rich and famous of course.
These were less than noble motives to embark on a heroic career, to be sure. Booster was readily given to corporate sponsorships and get-rich-quick schemes. Most of these blew up in his face. But he eventually learned to be a true hero worthy of Justice League status. His friendship with Ted Kord, the first Blue Beetle, is one of DC’s most enduring bromances, and could naturally lead us to our next Gunn-produced project.
Justice League International
For their first 25 years, the Justice League was composed of DC’s biggest and brightest heroes. But in the late ‘80s, DC tried a different approach to great success. in 1987, writers Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis created Justice League International, a United Nations-backed team made up of B-list heroes (Like Booster Gold and Blue Beetle) mixed with a few iconic heroes like Batman and Martian Manhunter.
The JLI stories all had a comedic bent, many of which were laugh-out-loud funny. We still think the main Justice League, with DC’s biggest icons, should be a film. But a TV version of the League based on JLI would be perfect for Gunn’s approach. Highlight characters like Booster and Beetle, along with heroes like Fire and Ice, and jerk Green Lantern, Guy Gardner. Heck, we say put Peacemaker on the team while you’re at it. He’s a perfect fit.
Metamorpho, the Element Man
Here’s another trippy Silver Age hero who seems perfect for a Gunn-led DCU. Created in 1965, Rex Mason was an adventurer who was cursed in an ancient Egyptian tomb, as so often happens. Although transformed into a strange-looking creature, Rex gained the power to shapeshift. He could now change himself into any element, or combination of elements. A bizarre character with a truly weird design, despite having his own series in the ‘60s, he mainly showed up on team books in the decades following. But a freaky-looking dude who can transform himself into pretty much anything? That feels like a James Gunn vehicle if ever there was one.
The Legion of Super-Heroes
Debuting in 1958, the Legion of Super-Heroes pre-dates the Justice League and every major Marvel team. For decades, they were one of DC Comics’ biggest selling titles, but have struggled to maintain relevancy since the ‘90s at least. But the concept is as good as it gets. A group of teenagers 1,000 years in the future from different worlds and with different powers form a coalition representing galactic unity, inspired by the legends of Superman, a full millennium prior.
The Legion live up to their name, as they are a team with often at least 25 members at a time. Sure, they often have silly names. Code names like Cosmic Boy, Matter-Eater Lad, and Bouncing Boy, to name a few. but let’s not forget that Gunn made a talking Raccoon and sentient tree household names. He can make the world love someone named “Triplicate Girl.” Legion might work best as a bigger-budget TV show than a movie, but you can’t tell us there’s not pure gold in the concept of Star Trek meets X-Men with a dash of Superman.