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All The Characters James Gunn Has Teased For The Next Phase Of The DCEU

To call the state of the DC film universe turbulent would be putting it mildly. Between the mergers, the executive shake-ups, creative departures, and fans bemoaning every peculiar decision the studio has taken, the ship needed someone to take the wheel — and that's what it has received with James Gunn and Peter Safran being named the co-CEOs of DC Studios. Their responsibility will be to create a cohesive and unified universe across television, film, animation, and even gaming. Basically, Gunn and Safran will be performing similar duties to what Kevin Feige does at Marvel Studios. It's a massive task, and Gunn has indicated that not everyone will agree with the vision, but it needs to be done if DC wants to build a similar and competitive shared universe to challenge the MCU.

In the interim, though, Gunn has had some fun on social media and in interviews, teasing and tantalizing fans about the possibilities of the future DC Studios slate. While he has asked fans to suggest the characters they would like to see, he has also used the opportunity to showcase some of his own options. Of course, there's no guarantee that any of these heroes will show up, but it's still fascinating to see which ones are on Gunn's mind.


For years, industry insiders said it would be impossible to have R-rated comedic characters in comic book movies. Then "Deadpool" kicked open the doors and delivered a box office haul that could buy enough chimichangas for a small country. As such, many fans wondered when DC and Warner Bros. would pull the trigger on their own Main Man, Lobo. The intergalactic bounty hunter lit up the '90s with his lust for violence and hilarious situations, becoming a popular character in DC Comics. This led to him appearing in video games such as "Injustice," animated productions such as "Superman: The Animated Series," and finally making his live-action bow in "Krypton," where he was played by Emmett J. Scanlan.

However, the Main Man hasn't had a main movie just yet. While Dwayne Johnson confirmed on his Twitter account that he was in talks to play the character in 2012 and Michael Bay was earmarked as a director for a potential "Lobo" film in 2018 (via The Hollywood Reporter), neither of these things happened. However, James Gunn got tongues wagging when his first post on social media platform Mastodon featured an image of Lobo. Considering Gunn's affinity for cosmic comic characters in "Guardians of the Galaxy," it is more than likely he would lean towards including Lobo as part of his plans for the DC universe. The rumor mill is also spinning with speculation that Jason Momoa will exit his Aquaman role to portray the Main Man in a future live-action film.

Kingdom Come's Justice League

The 1996 four-part "Kingdom Come" series by Mark Waid and Alex Ross is an immensely popular story arc among comic book fans. Not only does it boast gorgeous artwork from the fingertips of Ross, but it's also a gripping tale of the Justice League having to come out of retirement to stop new superheroes who have forgotten the definition of the word "hero."

Now, the state of the Justice League in DC's films is currently uncertain: there's a case of musical chairs taking place, with some actors departing, others sticking around, and a few whose status is a giant question mark. It's inevitable that there will be a great reset at some point where there will be singular versions of heroes as part of the DCU, since Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav wants James Gunn and Peter Safran to finalize plans and not have the likes of "four Batmans" running around.

In November 2022, Gunn shared a picture from "Kingdom Come" on his Twitter and Instagram accounts with the caption: "Making plans." Naturally, fans speculated whether this indicated that a cinematic version of "Kingdom Come" is on the horizon. While a direct beat-by-beat recreation of the arc may be unlikely due to many of these characters still being in their infancy stages as superheroes, it could be that Gunn and Safran will be looking towards it as a means to streamline some of the storytelling and fine-tune the universe's current roster.

Mr. Terrific

As a character, Michael Holt, aka Mr. Terrific, isn't the most well-known or celebrated DC hero among the general audience. He seems to have his peaks of popularity before disappearing into the periphery of the action for the most part. However, there has been a concerted effort from DC Comics to establish him as its own version of Mister Fantastic — especially in the sense that he's one of the smartest men on the planet and other heroes go to him when they need sage advice. From a live-action perspective, he has appeared in "Arrow," where actor Echo Kellum played Curtis Holt, who eventually takes on the mantle of Mr. Terrific as a member of Team Arrow.

However, the DC character hasn't appeared in the live-action film universe yet. James Gunn could have plans for Mr. Terrific, though, if this Twitter post is anything to go by. The filmmaker shared an image of the character from the comics without any further context. Perhaps Gunn is utilizing this exercise as a temperature check to see how fans would react to the character, or it could even be a hint of what's to come on "Peacemaker." Gunn has been working on the second season of the show, and it isn't too difficult to see how an intelligent superhero like Mr. Terrific could prove to be an excellent foil for the dimwitted Christopher Smith.

The Justice Society of America

For all intents and purposes, the Justice Society has already made its debut in the DCU in "Black Adam." Hawkman, Doctor Fate, Atom Smasher, and Cyclone formed this iteration of the popular comics team, and there was a tease that the group could return in future films. However, the lower-than-expected box office returns of "Black Adam" could put a dent in seeing this particular version of this squad again.

The JSA has goodwill among DC fans, though, since it is DC's first team of superheroes. While the members have come and gone over the years, with the team receiving a different roster after every reboot, it is considered the precursor to the Justice League and the epitome of the Golden Age of Comic Books.

In celebration of Thanksgiving, James Gunn took to his Twitter account to post an image of the Justice League and the JSA celebrating a meal together. The characters featured in the image were Hawkman, Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, Superman, Power Girl, Wildcat, Jay Garrick's Flash, and Doctor Fate. Since time travel in the DCU is about as easy as hailing an Uber, it wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility to see the Justice League and the JSA fighting side by side in the film universe. However, there's also the chance that Gunn and partner Peter Safran could be contemplating creating a separate JSA production — perhaps even a television series.

Jonah Hex

Rumor has it that if someone mentions the name "Jonah Hex" five times out loud, a studio executive will appear and force the person to watch the 2010 film starring Josh Brolin on loop for all eternity. Jokes aside, DC's gun-slinging hero didn't have the best time in his first live-action outing. Not only did "Jonah Hex" belly flop at the box office by only making $11 million against a $47 million budget, as per Box Office Mojo, but it was also torn to shreds by critics, who gave it a 12% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes while fans only gave it a 20% audience score.

Despite the brutal reception to the film, James Gunn might be waiting for high noon to instigate a little something for Jonah Hex. In November 2022, Gunn posted an image of the character on Twitter with the caption: "Happy 50th Anniversary to my favorite old west, eventually-taxidermied outlaw, Jonah Hex!"

Actor Johnathon Schaech, who portrayed Hex in the Arrowverse — specifically "DC's Legends of Tomorrow" show — has also thrown his hat into the ring for the opportunity to reprise the role. On Twitter, he congratulated Gunn for his new position as the co-head of DC Studios and asked him to consider him for any potential spinoff series. Given how popular Schaech's portrayal of Hex was among the Arrowverse's fanbase, it could be something that Gunn and his collaborators may look at.


For many fans, Superman symbolizes the heart and soul of DC. He's the hero who inspires truth, justice, and a better tomorrow. Unfortunately, he's been rather absent from DC films in recent times. Henry Cavill's Man of Steel became a fan-favorite iteration of the character, but he only made a cameo appearance in 2022's "Black Adam" after having starred in 2017's much-maligned "Justice League" and the infamous "Snyder Cut" of the film. There were conflicting reasons reported for his absence, ranging from contractual issues to the belief that Warner Bros. wanted to reboot the character with a brand-new actor as Big Blue.

On Twitter, James Gunn has posted several photos that feature Superman, including a humorous panel that acts as a tongue-in-cheek reference to Gunn's first day at DC Studios. Considering how much Dwayne Johnson hyped up Cavill's return as the Man of Steel, as well as the British actor's confirmation on his Instagram account that he would continue to wear the red cape, many expected that "Man of Steel 2" would be greenlit by Gunn and Safran in no time. Yet The Hollywood Reporter disputed this sentiment, saying there's uncertainty around what will happen with Cavill's Superman and the rest of the characters introduced in the Snyderverse.

In an interaction with a fan on Twitter, Gunn responded, "Superman is a huge priority, if not the biggest priority." Whether that includes Cavill as the DCU's Man of Steel, though, remains to be seen.


Boston Brand, aka Deadman, is an interesting character, since he's essentially DC's darker version of Casper the Friendly Ghost — seriously, this Uncle Fester doppelganger loves to talk to the living and help them out when he can, just like Harvey Comics' notable do-gooder. As an apparition that used to be a circus performer, Deadman has appeared in the comics, animated films, and cartoons, mostly being utilized as a supporting character. While there was news back in 2011 that "Supernatural" showrunner Eric Kripke was tackling a "Deadman" television show for The CW (via Deadline), this never went too far as the network pivoted and focused on creating "Arrow" instead.

For Halloween, James Gunn posted a picture of Deadman on Twitter, with the caption: "Happiest of Halloweens to each of you." Considering the success Marvel Studios has had with the spookier "Werewolf by Night," maybe DC Studios is looking at its own cast of ghoulish characters for potential horror-related projects in the future. On one hand, it might be tough to imagine a "Deadman" film or TV show coming to fruition, since he would still fall behind in the pecking order of popular horror characters like Swamp Thing, Constantine, and Zatanna in the DC Universe. However, he would make a fantastic inclusion in a "Justice League Dark" production. For years, "Justice League Dark" has failed to get off the ground — whether it be in a film or TV format — but this could well change.


There's no disputing that James Gunn is a Bat-Mite fan — probably the biggest in the world. In the first season of "Peacemaker," John Economos had an exchange with Christopher Smith where he discussed "the two-foot-tall interdimensional imp" who stanned the Dark Knight, hinting that this creature exists in continuity. Laying all rumors and uncertainties to rest, Gunn took to Instagram to confirm Bat-Mite as canon in the DC Universe. At the time, the filmmaker wasn't in charge of DC Studios, so this was said more in jest than anything else — yet, it unknowingly became an affirmation.

At a Warner Bros. Discovery town hall held in November 2022, Gunn disclosed his admiration for several DC characters, including Bat-Mite, as revealed by Deadline. Additionally, Gunn posted fan artwork of the imp on Mastodon around the same time, hinting at the possibility that there are plans afoot for this character.

A "Bat-Mite" film or television show might not be on many people's must-watch lists. However, considering DC Studios will overlook the animation side of things as well, it's likely the character could be an ideal fit for some kind of project there. Who knows, maybe the plan is for a revival of 1977's "The New Adventures of Batman," or perhaps Bat-Mite and Mister Mxyzptlk might form a new impish supergroup and get up to some shenanigans.

Green Lantern

The Green Lantern part of the DC Universe is rich and abundant with endless possibilities for storytelling. There are countless characters that can take up the Green Lantern mantle, as well as an array of powerful villains for them to battle. While 2011's "Green Lantern," starring Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, didn't exactly light the world on fire or make any evildoers fear the Green Lantern's light, it was far from a franchise killer. In fact, there was a tease that John Diggle would wield the power ring in the Arrowverse. However, that never materialized, after HBO Max announced plans for its own "Green Lantern" show set to be produced by Greg Berlanti.

Unfortunately, this project seems to have found itself as collateral damage in the massive shake-ups that have taken place at Warner Bros. over the years. In October 2022, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that an entire overhaul of the show had occurred, with showrunner Seth Grahame-Smith leaving after completing eight scripts and the storyline focus shifting away from Guy Gardner and Alan Scott to John Stewart. Of course, this could always change again since the production hasn't lifted off yet.

While James Gunn confirmed that the return of Reynolds' Green Lantern isn't going to happen, he emphasized that the Lanterns will be "important." The filmmaker steered clear of providing too many details to fans on Twitter, but it's evident that the Emerald Knights will take flight in the DCU at some point in the future.

King Shark

James Gunn's "The Suicide Squad" introduced a host of new characters to the DC Universe. While John Cena's Peacemaker has received the most attention, since starring in his own TV series, King Shark (voiced by Sylvester Stallone) stole hearts, especially with his cute board shorts and likable personality. Considering this is a character that Gunn helped to shape, there is the possibility that he could show up elsewhere — in fact, many fans have petitioned for him to replace Amber Heard's Mera in "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom."

While Gunn hasn't come out and confirmed whether King Shark is set to show his fin again in the DCU, Stallone let an important piece of info slip to ComicBook.com. When asked by reporter Chris Killian if he will reprise his role, the actor said, "Yes, for sure. I think James has been very generous ... I don't know what kind of characters he might fit into the DC world, but he and I are pretty tight. So if there's an opportunity ... And I love him. He's a great guy." Gunn told Den of Geek that he wrote King Shark with Stallone in mind, so it's evident the two are close.

Again, it's possible that plans might shift and take different directions as a new slate of productions appear on the horizon. Regardless, it doesn't appear as if fans have seen the last of King Shark, who certainly deserves one more bite here.