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James Gunn Is About To Make Everyone Dancing On DC Films' Grave Look Really Dumb

For an outside observer, it's pretty clear that the DC Extended Universe has been struggling for a while now. Cringeworthy movie moments and storylines that disappear without explanation are one thing, but ever since "Batgirl's" cancelation, fans have been worried about the future of upcoming movies.

Some of the worries seem justified. "Wonder Woman 3" has reportedly been scrapped, and notable industry outlets like The Hollywood Reporter have been reporting on the issues the DCEU –- and the newly-minted Warner Bros. Discovery in general –- has been facing as of late. Even the much-touted "Black Adam" seems to have failed to shift the hierarchy of power, and fans have been roasting star Dwayne Johnson's defensive tweet about the movie's box office performance.

When you look at the individual pieces of the puzzle, things may indeed seem pretty dire. However, fans who feel like dancing on the DCEU's grave might want to reconsider their steps. In the current turmoil, it's easy to forget that the vast majority of DCEU-themed bad news has come from projects that were already rolling before James Gunn and Peter Safran became the DCEU's answer to the MCU's Kevin Feige (via Variety). Since then, the pair have been busy planning DC Studios' new course, and if you know where to look, Gunn has already shown plenty of signs that the people who expect the DCEU to keel over will have another thing coming pretty soon.

Right now, the man needs time

For quite some time now, James Gunn has existed in a strange and unique state where one of his feet is in the MCU and the other in the DCEU, and he'll continue to do so until the "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" promo cycle ends. What's more, unlike Kevin Feige -– who got to build the MCU from scratch as a relative unknown -– Gunn's new gig involves helming a huge, troubled mega-franchise, while he's already an established star filmmaker with multiple esteemed projects in his résumé. As such, he's facing pretty wild public scrutiny from all fronts ... including The Hollywood Reporter, which published a huge exclusive on December 7, detailing much insider information about the beginning of the Gunn-Safran era.

Thing is, while Gunn himself has noted on Twitter that some parts of that story are true, he also made clear that very few people have concrete, accurate information about the entirety of the DCEU's future at this point. This including Gunn and Safran themselves, since they're still busy planning the thing. 

"As for the story yesterday in the Hollywood Reporter, some of it is true, some of it is half-true, some of it is not true, & some of it we haven't decided yet whether it's true or not," he stated as much in his December 8 response to the THR story. In the following Twitter thread, he pointed out that he'd been at the job for all of a month at that point, and the transition from the DCEU's current state to the solid 10-year plan they're envisioning remains a work in progress. As such, it's probably safe to suspect that the fate of any individual DCEU hero or their actor isn't cast in stone quite yet– apart from maybe Blue Beetle (Xolo Maridueña), whose upcoming movie Gunn has promoted on Twitter

So, yeah. The current DCEU might be a bit of a mess, so don't be surprised if the cleanup takes time. The important thing to remember here is that the work is in progress.

Gunn has a process, and fans should trust it by now

James Gunn has a filmmaking process. While his DC Studios gig is the first time he applies his talent on a scale this grand, the method behind his mayhem is absolutely worth knowing if you want to have an idea of how he might approach the DCEU's future. 

In 2017, Gunn shared his filmmaking ways with Movie Maker, breaking his approach down to 11 numbered points. Some of these you might be familiar with if you've ever seen a Gunn film, such as emphasis on music and vivid colors, and embracing your own style regardless of the budget. However, one particular detail might give us some insight about the kind of studio head he plans to be.

Gunn has described himself as someone who likes to do an astounding amount of prep work for his projects, to the point of storyboarding a whole movie with his own hands. Fittingly enough, his determination to be prepared for anything makes him a kind of filmmaking Batman. He's obviously not going to plan every single second of every single DCEU movie, show and video game for the next 10 years. However, even if he's just content with turning in a rough outline before assuming a strictly supervisory role, there's still a pretty good chance that said outline will be a lot less rough than you'd assume. 

Regardless of the extent of work he intends to personally shoulder, he's made clear that there's still a ton to do before DCEU 2.0 is good to go. "As for more answers about the future of the DCU, I will sadly have to ask you to wait," Gunn wrote on Twitter. "We are giving these characters & the stories the time & attention they deserve & we ourselves still have a lot more questions to ask & answer." Those are the words of a man who has a whole lot on his plate, but who's committed to getting through it all in the best possible way.

Good things come to those who wait

So, that's what's up with James Gunn's DCEU: Planning, building, and more planning. But can we trust his meticulous prep phase to yield results? It depends on which side of his Rotten Tomatoes track record you choose to focus on — his nigh-universally acclaimed history as a big-budget superhero movie and TV show maker, the lukewarm dabbling of "The Belko Experiment" and "Brightburn," or the early-career small budget stuff of a nascent Troma movie maker.

In all fairness, his DC Studios role will likely see him as a large-scale visionary producer rather than the writer-director role he occupies in his most successful superhero projects. As such, if you want to focus on his CV as a producer in projects he didn't personally direct, you'll find the aforementioned horror projects "Brightburn" and "The Belko Experiment." However, to focus on such a small sliver of Gunn's versatility would be extremely unfair. With the DCEU, he's operating on a tentpole movie budget with virtually every movie he's involved in. He gets to pick and choose the characters he wishes to highlight, which is something he's proven to be very, very good at -– just ask the people who've watched "The Guardians of the Galaxy" or "Peacemaker." As he told Movie Maker, Gunn also makes a point of hiring people who are better than he is, so after he's wrapped up the overall 10-year structure of the DCEU, he'll probably focus on finding the absolute perfect people to helm each project. Knowing Gunn's tendency for outside-the-box thinking, you can probably expect some truly inspired news on that front.

In other words, fans who are busy dancing on the DCEU's grave right now overlook the fact that the current DC Studios helmsman is a crazy-prepared comic book movie making expert who has a true passion for his craft, and a proven track record of turning the unlikeliest of superhero visions to smash successes. It might take another week, or it might take a whole year –- but chances are that James Gunn will make the DCEU's detractors look pretty goofy before long.