DCU's Key Players Are Changing, and That's a Good Thing – MovieWeb

Warner Bros. has announced several shake-ups that impact the DCU, but that may not be a bad thing.
DC has had a bit of a shake-up due partly to all the changes happening with Warner Bros. Discovery. Most significantly, Walter Hamada, the president of DC Films, resigned under less-than-optimal terms, creating a big power vacuum and perhaps a change in the role's responsibilities. But these corporate changes aren’t all the things going on inside DC. The release of their most recent movie, Black Adam, has come with fortuitous popularity and increasing energy from people like Dwayne Johnson, who seems to be taking up a renewed effort to save the franchise.
Directors in the DCU have taken notice of the recent changes as well. People like James Gunn, J.J. Abrams, and Zack Snyder are returning to the cinematic universe with renewed vigor and greater chances for success. Rearranging some of the more high-level management in DC allows the DCEU to take a different direction, especially considering the past philosophical differences between producers and creatives.
With Walter Hamada gone, DC Films lays a lot of opportunity on the table, and directors are quickly seizing it. When Dwayne Johnson says this is a new era in DC, he might mean it in more ways than one.
Companies change management all the time, but Walter Hamada leaving DC might be a bigger sign of things to come. Hamada has helped pilot the DCU for years, but it hasn’t always flown on course. Hamada became president of DC Films in 2018; a lot has changed since then. Global pandemics aside, DC’s ownership has drastically changed with Warner Bros.' merger with Discovery. Some say that Hamada leaving is a result of David Zaslav’s gross layoffs within the company, but if that is true, it doesn’t happen without some reason.
Related: Why Black Adam's Post-Credits Scene Has Audiences Hyped for DC
Hamada came into DC Films a year after Justice League was released and had his own thoughts on how the DCU should progress. He reportedly worried that Zack Snyder had too much power over the narrative of all these movies. He sought to decentralize that power by giving Snyder less authority and bringing more directors on. While having more directors might have been a good idea for DC, it might not have been such a good idea to break up a multi-film narrative in the middle of a franchise.
Hamada also was famously against Black Adam’s post-credits scene. Dwayne Johnson struggled to get the ok to put Superman in the film, even filming the sequence without permission from Hamada. When Johnson went to ask Hamada if he could bring Henry Cavill back as Superman, he was explicitly denied. Johnson had to go over his head and ask Warner Bros. execs, who immediately greenlit the idea.
Hamada had an idea for DC, which would introduce a black Superman with legendary writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and progress in that direction. His vision was not shared by the rest of the company.
It was recently reported that James Gunn and Peter Safran were appointed as Co-CEOs of the DC Studios. DC Studios will act as a production arm of DC, and Gunn and Safran will oversee everything it makes going forward. The pair will have incredible oversight over the studio's film, TV, and animation projects, effectively making both of them the new heads of all things DC.
Related: Why James Gunn and Peter Safran Are the Right Duo for DCU's 10-Year Plan
The two are some of the best choices for leading the DCU, considering their past involvement. James Gunn has directed DC hits like Suicide Squad and Peacemaker. And Peter Safran produced Aquaman and Shazam and helped Gunn on Suicide Squad.
Other DC big shots are still in play as well. Dwayne Johnson’s energy for the franchise is unmatched. He’s been quoted several times saying that he would like to get involved with DC in a more advisory capacity and help produce more movies. He shares a manager with Henry Cavill, so his involvement in getting the actor back for Man of Steel 2 was no accident. In the future, we’ll likely start to see a lot more of Black Adam. With a new Shazam movie coming up and Johnson's constant threats against Superman, Dwayne Johnson is certainly going to be a big player in DC both on and off camera.
Zack Snyder may potentially have more influence in the future as well. With his cut of Justice League often considered more popular among fans, he might be given a bigger role. David Zaslav has also said in the past that he would like to see more movies from J.J. Abrams, who might be asked to direct more projects in the future. There is also talk of creating separate Batman continuities in which Matt Reeves can continue to direct his much darker series of Batman movies without worrying about stepping on the toes of the rest of the DC franchise.
Ted Bajer is a Features Writer for Movieweb and world traveling digital nomad.


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