The first slate of DCU movies is out, and it’s drawing positive reactions from fans. On 31st January, James Gunn released a list of 10 projects to the public. It included 5 TV shows and 5 movies. “Superman: Legacy,” “The Brave and The Bold,” “Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow,” “Swamp Thing,” and “The Authority” are the five movies. “Creature Commandos,” “Waller,” “Booster Gold,” “Lanterns,” and “Paradise Lost” are the five TV shows. Gunn has named this era of the DCU “Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters.” As expected, with the release of the slate, comparisons have begun with the MCU. However, James Gunn has already clarified the differences between the two superhero franchises. Let us tell you about it.
James Gunn Reveals What Differentiates The MCU and DCU
During the press release for the new slate of films, James Gunn, the DC Studios co-CEO, sat down for an interview with Gizmodo. He was asked how the DCU was going to differ from the MCU. To this, Gunn replied that he knows many fans who think that the DCU is just going to be Marvel 2.0 because they have been so successful in building an ever-expanding franchise.
But he said that there would be differences. The prolific director mentioned that one of the things he liked about DC is it’s a sprawling fictional universe where cities have names like Metropolis and Gotham, while islands have names like Themyscira and Atlantis.
In contrast, he said the Marvel world has names of real-world cities like New York, San Francisco, and Chicago. This makes the former more creative for him. Additionally, Gunn explained another contradiction. He said that the DCU will already have heroes existing and operating for some time in his DC world. This is unlike the MCU, where Iron Man was the first superhero. Gunn further said that with the DCU, he is trying to tell a centralized story. Now, the MCU also does tell centralized stories.
But the co-CEO says that they have the upper hand because their universe is a lot more planned out compared to Marvel’s in the beginning. He says that they have successfully done this because they have writers who are tirelessly dedicated to completing the main story. That’s not all. Gunn seems to critique the MCU further in a Collider interview.
He says that one of the biggest issues plaguing modern studio filmmaking is the use of a set release date. This puts pressure on everyone to pump out the film no matter what. As a result, some films lack a third act but already begin shooting with the hope that somehow they will figure it all out. Gunn sarcastically adds that it didn’t get worked out even after three years of script writing, but the production people somehow hope that they will finally crack the third-act code.
He also wanted to bring attention to the egregious way writers are treated in this model of filmmaking. Gunn said that he wants to elevate writers so that they become the architects of the story rather than an afterthought. He used himself as an example. The director explained that when he began “Guardians Of The Galaxy,” there was a story he wanted to tell over the course of three films. There was a beginning and an end. But he doesn’t just criticize the MCU. He recognizes their strengths as well.
James Gunn Praises The MCU And Criticizes DC
In the same Collider interview, James Gunn praised Marvel for never giving up even though they didn’t have everything completely figured out. He said that he learned a lot at Marvel Studios. The DC Studios co-CEO expressed that he has seen Kevin Feige turn bad films into okay ones, okay films into good ones, good films into great ones, and on and on because they don’t stop trying to make a movie as good as they possibly can. He said that they would edit the film till the day before the premiere too.
But Gunn didn’t just expose the weaknesses of Marvel. He didn’t stop himself from criticizing the state of the DC universe was before he took over. In the Gizmodo interview, he said that the DC universe was treated terribly because the people in charge gave out IPs without careful deliberation or planning. The co-CEO also heatedly said that the people making the movies didn’t have any real power. So any executive could veto their story and do whatever they wanted.
He also explained the convoluted nature of DC films that came before him to point out how ridiculous it all was. He mentioned the Snyderverse, the Arrowverse, and even his own little corner with “The Suicide Squad” and “Peacemaker,” all somehow existing together without rhyme or reason. But he didn’t stop there. He specifically pointed out “Wonder Woman 2” and said that the film didn’t even match the first one!
Overall, James Gunn recognizes what Marvel excels at and knows how to incorporate it in DC. However, it’s also clear that he wants the DCU to be a completely different entity from the MCU. DC fans will certainly applaud this vision of the co-CEO. Gunn also realizes another thing. He knows they have to prove a lot to their audiences after the previous DC films let them down.
The director assured that their universe is now totally connected across films, animation, video games, and tv shows. Along with this, there also exists the “Elseworlds” label where out-of-continuity films like “The Batman” and “The Joker” reside. Gunn also knows that in the future, audiences might have trouble understanding what the main DCU is and what’s not. As such, he recognizes that the responsibility falls on him to show audiences which is which.
After all, people are already confused about whether films like “Blue Beetle,” “Aquaman 2,” and “The Flash” are a part of the DCU or not. But Gunn says that he is confident that by the time “Superman: Legacy” releases, everything will be sorted out. How true that turns out to be, remains to be seen.
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