Geoff Johns, DC Entertainment president, steps down amidst executive shakeup

The future of movies based on DC Comics is once again in flux, as news has broken that DC Entertainment's Geoff Johns is stepping down from his post as the company's president and chief creative officer, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Johns, a producer and writer of both comic books and screenplays, has been the chief creative officer of DC Entertainment since 2010, serving as the company's president since 2016. 

According to reports, Johns will step down from both positions to open his own production company, Mad Ghost Productions, which will have a writing and production deal with DC Comics and Warner Bros. 

Johns' departure comes amidst a company-wide shakeup at DC Entertainment. Until recently, Johns (rather confusingly) shared a president title with executive Diane Nelson, who also stepped down from her position last week. 

Jim Lee, a comics artist and co-publisher of DC Entertainment, will take over as chief creative officer, though It is currently unclear who will take over as the organization's president.

As Deadline notes in their reporting on the story, DC's movies have been operating for some time without a clear guiding voice since the ouster of Zack Snyder, whose films based on DC superheroes failed to gain much traction critically. 

Since Snyder lost control of the franchise, the direction for Warner Bros.' DC Comics films has been in a state of flux, and the executive shakeup would seem to indicate a reshuffling behind the scenes as the companies work to find a winning approach for their superhero movies.

The implications of the news for fans are not immediately clear, as Johns was not known for the sort of outsized influence associated with, for instance, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. Feige is so connected with his brand's success at this point that his departure would be major news for the uncertainty it sows. Meanwhile, for DC, uncertainty has long been something of a status quo. 

We've known for some time that Warner Bros. is in the midst of exploring a different approach for its DC Comics movies, now being in the process of putting up an Elseworlds-style pilot balloon with multiple movies with conflicting premises based on classic Batman villain the Joker. 

This executive shakeup would seem to be of a piece with those moves, as DC and Warner Bros. work to find a winning formula for their movies, and steal away some cash from the Marvel juggernaut.

In departing his executive position, Johns will be returning to creative work he's more known for.

"I took on a role at DCE because I love the characters and this universe more than anything," Johns said in a statement. "But, I want to spend my days writing and on set.  I'm thrilled to get back to a more hands-on creative role.  It's a dream job on dream projects, reaching even deeper into DC's vast pantheon of characters."

Among Johns' first projects is writing the script for and producing a Green Lantern Corps movie, which we previously had pegged as being written in part by The Dark Knight and Batman v. Superman writer David S. Goyer

Aside from taking control of the Green Lantern Corps gig, Johns also co-wrote and executive produced the upcoming Aquaman and Wonder Woman 2, so his influence will still be felt in the upcoming DC movies — he just won't be the one steering the overall ship.