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DC Studios' James Gunn Sticks By His Guns In Fierce Response To Backlash

The ongoing chaos at Warner Bros. Discovery and its DC Studios division has sucked the oxygen from much of this year's entertainment news cycle. But there seemed to be hope that the franchise could find a way forward when, in October, James Gunn and Peter Safran were tapped to lead Warner's new DC film and TV division. Since taking the role, Gunn and Safran have been cleaning house at DC Studios, promising to build the franchise anew from the ground up.

Gunn and Safran most recently shocked fans by removing Henry Cavill from the role of Superman, a role the British actor has played since 2013's "Man of Steel." The decision was especially abrupt given that Cavill himself had announced he'd be back in the cape. He even handed his other fan-favorite role as Geralt of Rivia on Netflix's "The Witcher" over to Liam Hemsworth. The news came on the heels of news that "Wonder Woman 3," the third Gal Gadot-led film in the franchise, would not be moving forward. The departure of Cavill, who has long been regarded as one of the bright points of the former DCEU, seems to have been the final straw for many. It wasn't long before DC and Cavill fans started an internet firestorm lambasting the change.

But according to Gunn, he and Safran are paying the naysayers no heed, and he plans to forge on with his vision for the DC Universe.

Gunn defends his hard reset of DC as the best thing for the characters and story

On his personal Twitter account today, James Gunn defended recent decisions made alongside co-head of DC Studios Peter Safran in a series of tweets, saying the pair knew in advance how controversial their hard reset of the franchise might be and blaming the bulk of the outrage levied at them on Internet trolls. "One of the things Peter & I were aware of when we took the job as heads of DC Studios was a certain minority of people online that could be, well, uproarious & unkind, to say the least," Gunn began.

While acknowledging the uncertainty of the future, Gunn proclaimed that he and Safran have the best interests of the franchise at heart, noting, "Our choices for the DCU are based upon what we believe is best for the story & best for the DC characters who have been around for nearly 85 years. Perhaps these choices are great, perhaps not, but they are made with sincere hearts & integrity & always with the story in mind." Gunn added that he and Safran knew what they were walking into and that they'd anticipated some initial turbulence when making difficult decisions about the DCU franchise.

It is possible that fan anger will mellow as Gunn and Safran lay out future plans for DC Studios in the coming days and months. A new lineup of projects for fans to look forward to would prove, at the least, that there are strong hands at the helm.

Gunn has weathered public backlash before and isn't fazed by it

In his Twitter thread defending the recent decisions at DC Studios, James Gunn also made a veiled reference to his personal experience with online harassment in the past, writing, "No one loves to be harassed or called names – but, to be frank, we've been through significantly worse. Disrespectful outcry will never, ever affect our actions."

Gunn is likely referencing a flashpoint in his career that occurred in 2018 when a batch of his offensive tweets was widely circulated online by conservative influencers. The tweets, which included jokes about a number of sensitive subjects, led to enough of an uproar that Disney elected to fire Gunn from "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3." Though the "Super" director was eventually reinstated by the House of Mouse, and has since worked on both "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" and the recent Disney+ special presentation, "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special," the incident gave him a crash course on what it's like to be the subject of a mass harassment campaign.

Gunn concluded today's Twitter thread with a look toward the future, taking pride alongside Safran in their new jobs as the shot-callers at DC Studios. He wrote, "But this means little to us in comparison to our jobs as artists & custodians in helping to create a wide & wonderful future for DC."

The hierarchy of power has indeed changed at DC, though perhaps not in ways that some fans expected. Whether the new bosses can save the franchise and carry it into a new era is the question, but Gunn seems hopeful that he and Safran will prove to be more Superman than Lex Luthor.