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DC Elseworlds Movies We Want James Gunn To Bring To The Big Screen

With it now being official that James Gunn is taking over DC's film and TV division to craft a new cinematic universe, fans can expect to see new iterations of their favorite DC heroes and villains. Based on the news that Henry Cavill will no longer be playing Superman and that plans for "Wonder Woman 3" have reportedly been scrapped, it's clear that Gunn is distancing his universe from the Snyderverse. Thus, fans are curious about what the filmmaker has planned for DC's cinematic future. At the moment, it's known that Gunn is penning the script for a new Superman movie focusing on the hero's early days and that a film based on Mister Terrific is in development. Past that though, there isn't much known about Gunn's plans, though he has teased the idea of there being Elseworlds projects involved. 

DC's Elseworlds label has delivered unique takes on DC's most prolific heroes that place them in new genres, settings, and situations. It's essentially DC's version of "Marvel's What If...?" that works outside DC's main canon. Gunn has said that Matt Reeves' "The Batman" and Todd Phillip's "Joker" movies will continue on in the Elseworlds spirit and that it's possible that Elseworlds stories from the comics could come to the big screen. With the label containing some of the most narratively rich and stylized stories in DC's history, it's worth theorizing which stories stand the best chance of heading to the big screen. 

Injustice: Gods Among Us

"Injustice: Gods Among Us" is one of DC's most popular modern stories and has been touched on in all different mediums. The story sees Superman become a ruthless dictator of Earth when he's tricked by the Joker to kill a pregnant Lois Lane and cause a nuclear bomb to wipe out Metropolis, leading him to kill the Joker with a brutal punch through the heart. Now a rebellion led by Batman is forced to take down Superman and his super-powered regime in order to restore balance on Earth. 

With "Injustice," fans see one of the noblest superheroes go totally evil which results in some brutal conflicts and a horrific war breaking out. The Insurgency, led by Batman, features plenty of unexpected team-ups that include some notable villains, like Harley Quinn, and you even get to see other heroes come with a mean streak of their own. With it also featuring characters from the main canon world, it could easily be the perfect plotline for a "Justice League" film or even just a quick one-shot storyline.

The "Injustice" story has already been immortalized in comics, video games, and even an animated flick, but nothing would compare to seeing this story play out on the big screen. Snyder's Knightmare world definitely gave off vibes of the "Injustice" narrative with its evil Superman, but with that world now being off the table it would be great to see Gunn bring "Injustice" to life. 

Justice League: The Nail

Never has there been a story more fitting for a Lex Luthor-focused movie than "Justice League: The Nail." The 1998 three-issue comic series brings fans into a world where Superman never comes to be since John and Martha Kent's trip to Smallville is halted by a stray nail blowing out their tire, meaning that they never discover Kal-El's ship. Thus, Luthor is able to take control of Metropolis as its new mayor and lead a xenophobic campaign against meta-humans, which spells doom for the rest of the Justice League and their supervillains. 

"The Nail" sees Luthor in the spotlight for once with no Superman to oppose him, leading to chaotic destruction. It's the perfect story to see Luthor have a solo film of his own in the same vein as "Joker." It would mean a Superman-less Justice League not only be forced to deal with interpersonal problems that stem from fatal conflicts but also fight in a world that openly is against them. "The Nail" is the perfect setting for an Elseworlds villain-focused story and would easily stand out in DC's cinematic history. 

Justice Riders

While some of DC's Elseworlds stories simply alter one key moment of the main canon to craft an alternate world, there are some that take DC's finest into a whole new setting and genre. The 1997 Elseworlds one-shot "Justice Riders" has one of the most popular genres changes as it puts some notable DC heroes into the Wild West. In this desolate and dusty setting, Wonder Woman, as U.S. Marshall Diana Prince, works with a ragtag group of meta-humans and heroes to seek justice against the forces that destroyed her hometown of Paradise. 

With "Justice Riders," DC basically has its own "Magnificent Seven" on its hands and some of these characterizations are just incredible. From Wally West being a fast-handed gunslinger outlaw on the run from Guy Gardner as a Pinkerton to Ted Kord being a skilled inventor creating new weapons for mercenary Booster Gold, "Justice Riders" takes full advantage of its creative potential. With there not being many Westerns anymore, Gunn would not only help fill a genre void in film but also provide DC fans with a one-of-a-kind Elseworlds story that would simply be spectacular to see on the big screen. 

Gotham By Gaslight

Matt Reeves has already taken the Dark Knight back to his detective roots with "The Batman," but Gunn could go one step further with a film based on the beloved 1989 Elseworlds graphic novel, "Gotham By Gaslight." The story sees Batman rising to prominence in a Victorian-era-inspired Gotham as prolific killer Jack the Ripper begins his reign of terror. "Gotham By Gaslight" is generally seen as the Elseworlds story that started it all as it reimagined Batman as a shadowy Sherlock Holmes. 

Batman truly earns his moniker as "The World's Greatest Detective" in "Gotham By Gaslight" and it's a fresh take on Batman's origins that thrusts him into a dark and often bloody mystery with a twisted killer. It feels so fitting to see Batman tangle with a killer like Jack the Ripper and there are plenty of memorable twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat. Sure, there was an animated film adaptation back in 2018, but Gunn bringing "Gotham By Gaslight" to life on the big screen would be incredible and deliver a uniquely styled spin on Batman's early days. 

The Dark Knight Returns

Frank Miller's 1986 miniseries, "The Dark Knight Returns," remains one of the most prolific Batman stories of all time and would easily make for a great cinematic tale outside of Gunn's DC Universe continuity. The story features an older Bruce Wayne coming out of retirement to don the cape and cowl and be a protector of Gotham once again. While he takes on old foes and adversaries like Joker, Two-Face, and even Superman, the series also sees Batman work with a new Robin in Carrie Kelley. However, Batman faces severe opposition from the GCPD, making his return much more complicated. 

Now, obviously, Gunn could do a "The Dark Knight Returns" adaptation later in his universe, but there are much more tantalizing options that would greatly please fans. Michael Keaton was already set to return in the DCEU before Gunn took over, so it's very possible to see him return for a separate "The Dark Knight Returns" film that caps off his legacy as the character. Maybe he can reunite with Tim Burton to make it extra special.

Perhaps, we could even see Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan reunite for a fourth "The Dark Knight" entry adapting this story. It would honestly even be nice to have Miller helm his own adaptation as he did with "Sin City." Regardless of who makes it or how it happens, a "The Dark Knight Returns" film feels like a perfect Elseworlds story to bring to the big screen. 

Kingdom Come

DC's 1996 four-issue series "Kingdom Come" is a classic and colossal multi-generational superhero battle that'll be undeniably epic to see brought to the big screen. The series sees the previous Justice League fight against their successors after this new generation of heroes starts to look as dangerous and uncaring as the villains. This leads to an all-out brawl for supremacy that'll define what being a hero really means and ultimately determine the fate of Earth itself. It's essentially Marvel's "Civil War" on steroids and sees some of DC's long lineage of heroes literally go at each other's throats. 

It definitely boasts that epic quality of action that's perfect for a cinematic event and is so good that Gunn might be eyeing it up for his main canon. Recently, Gunn teased "Kingdom Come" in a cryptic tweet causing fans to think that the story could play a pivotal role in Gunn's canon. It would make sense as a major story conflict he could build towards and provide that big capstone conflict that fans will look forward to. Of all the Elseworlds stories that Gunn could touch on, "Kingdom Come" seems to be the most compelling to him and could go from side-story to being in the main spotlight. 

Batman & Dracula Trilogy

Batman has tangled with plenty of different villains throughout his time, even a giant bat. There was one Elseworlds story though that saw him duel another bat-themed antagonist, the legendary Count Dracula. After Batman discovers Dracula and his minions feeding on Gotham's homeless population, he ends up in a lengthy conflict with the Count that eventually results in Batman turning into a vampire himself. With Batman always fighting against vicious serial killers and disfigured villains, he's always flirted with the horror genre. However, the "Batman & Dracula" trilogy sees him completely steeped in horror mythos and it's a thing of beauty. 

The idea of a vampiric version of Batman hitting the big screen is just too good to pass up as a horror fan and who wouldn't want to see one of the most iconic comic book heroes go toe to toe with one of the horror genre's greatest monsters? Gunn has played around in the horror genre before and "Batman & Dracula" is a perfect Elseworlds story to bring DC's horror side out in full force. 

Justice Society: The Liberty Files

The history of DC's biggest hero teams can stretch back decades and even be a part of the biggest conflicts in human history. No Elseworlds story proves that more than "Justice Society: The Liberty Files," which sees the Justice Society act as government agents during World War II. The original 2000 comic reimagined plenty of heroes in this setting and crafted this ongoing story of espionage and chaotic war-fighting that could easily be recaptured on the big screen. 

While there have been plenty of World War II films over the years, none have featured the likes of Superman, Batman, The Flash, and plenty of other DC heroes in the mix. Just imagining Batman's Batarang taking down Nazis or Hawkman knocking soldiers down with the swing of his mighty mace is enough to make any fan want to conjure a "Liberty Files" movie into existence.

The odds of it happening are pretty solid too, considering the 2021 animated film, "Justice Society: WWII" took clear inspiration from "The Liberty Files" and got some great reception. With some luck, maybe Gunn will want to take DC back to World War II for some world-trotting action-packed thrills.

Superman: Red Son

The 2003 Elseworlds story, "Superman: Red Son," answers a strange, but impactful question: What happens if Superman grew up in Russia rather than America? Well, the change is much more significant than him just bearing the hammer and sickle symbol on his chest. Rather, Superman and other heroes play an impact role in the growing tensions of the Cold War that features major conflict and unexpected team-ups, even between Lex Luthor and Batman. It's a story that intertwines real-life political figures and events with DC's most notable characters making for a uniquely compelling story that shows Superman in a new light. 

"Red Son" is one of the more popular Elseworlds stories for its excellently crafted historical world and memorable fights that have drastic consequences. Those looking for a Superman story that really captures and dissects the essence of the character in an entirely different cultural light will definitely want to check it out and its growing popularity makes it a strong candidate for Gunn to touch on at some point. Now, it's worth noting that Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine will likely keep "Red Son" out of the running at the moment, but there's definitely a chance somewhere down the line for "Red Son" to be brought to life on the big screen. 

Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl

Although Superman and Batman are DC's strongest duo, there is an Elseworlds story from 1998 that brought fans into a world where neither exists and their successors take their place. "Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl and Batgirl" feature both titular heroines in leading roles where Batgirl acts as an almost-tyrannical protector of Gotham fighting against the Joker and Supergirl teams up with the Justice Society and Lex Luthor. This series has some generally unseen interactions between Supergirl, Batgirl, and their respective foes that make for some interesting storylines. 

For instance, the idea of Luthor being the financial backer and trusted friend of Supergirl makes for different interpretations of these usual foes. Plus, Batgirl's depiction is much darker than usual, and sees Joker totally obsessed with her to the point where he even tries to romance her. Supergirl and Batgirl have grown in popularity as they've had more of their own stories told and have been seen as strong leaders in DC's growing young roster of heroes. So, a film where these two interact in a parallel DC world without their usual counterparts could be interesting and maybe even give Leslie Grace an opportunity to be Batgirl again since her time was cut short.

Catwoman: Guardian of Gotham

Catwoman has become a pivotal DC character over the years with how she's gone from a basic Batman villain to standing in the spotlight as a vigilante anti-hero. Thus, she more than deserves a film of her own (again) and the 1999 Elseworlds story, "Catwoman: Guardian of Gotham," provides the perfect story for it. In the short series, Catwoman ends up becoming the heroic force for Gotham rather than Batman, who is actually a deranged killer in this world. With Batman going around and offing all of Catwoman's villains, she's forced to confront him in a bloody and horrific battle. 

If you want unique spins on Catwoman and Batman, "Guardian of Gotham" has exactly what you're looking for. Catwoman getting the spotlight means that her story has some greater emotion to it and carries more heroic themes than usual. While Batman is more sadistic and wild than anyone's ever seen him before, "Guardian of Gotham" could work perfectly for a solo Catwoman story outside the main canon and would bring in some strong horror takes through its more blood-thirsty Batman. 

Daredevil/Batman: Eye for an Eye

If we're going to dream about Elseworlds stories that Gunn could bring to the big screen, why not dream big with a Marvel and DC crossover many probably don't know about? Back in 1997, Marvel and DC came together to deliver an Elseworlds story that saw Batman team up with Daredevil in "Daredevil/Batman: Eye for an Eye." After colliding in combat, Batman and Daredevil come together to stop Two-Face and Mr. Hyde's nefarious plans. 

With ties to both Marvel and DC now, Gunn might be the only person who could make this happen. Seriously, how incredible would it be to see Marvel and DC shaking hands and letting two of their darkest justice-seekers come together for an epic cinematic story? It would literally break the internet and cause an excitement never before seen in the comic book fan community. If Gunn can make a Daredevil-Batman movie happen with Robert Pattinson's Batman and Charlie Cox's Daredevil, he would be legitimately legendary.