DC Studios’ long search for a creative leader has come to an end, as James Gunn, the quippy filmmaker behind Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise and DC’s The Suicide Squad, has been tapped as co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
He’ll divide responsibilities with Peter Safran, a longtime talent manager turned producer who not only worked on DC films such as Aquaman and Shazam!, but also helped build up the Conjuring universe. He also produced Gunn’s DC Extended Universe projects in The Suicide Squad and its Peacemaker HBO Max spinoff, and is working on the Aquaman and Shazam! sequels in addition to Blue Beetle.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that Gunn will focus on the creative side of things and Safran will head up the business and production elements. Both will still direct and produce individual projects as well.
Gunn and Safron said in a joint statement,
“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.”
Their hirings come after Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav made moves — including shelving the nearly finished Batgirl movie for a tax write-off — that led to the departure of Walter Hamada, who had led what was previously called DC Films over the last four years. Since the WB/Discovery merger, Warner Bros. film co-chairs Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy have been working on bringing DCEU projects like the troubled The Flash movie and the sequel Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom over the finish line. Gunn and Safran officially start work on November 1st, so it’s unclear how much input they’ll have on those features.