Could DC be hitting the reboot button?
A sequel to 2020’s “Wonder Woman 1984” from director Patty Jenkins is not moving forward at Warner Bros., as new DC Studios chiefs James Gunn and Peter Safran prepare to unveil their strategy next week for the future of DC adaptations to Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav.
Only Gunn and Safran know for sure what they’ll be saying to Zaslav. But the presentation has the potential to mark a critical inflection point for the company, with the very real possibility that the cinematic universe created by filmmaker Zack Snyder would reach a definitive end following the premiere of “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” in December 2023.
According to a studio insider, after Jenkins submitted a treatment for a third “Wonder Woman,” she was informed by studio leadership that it did not mesh with Gunn and Safran’s emerging plans for the DC Universe, and the studio would not make the project. Curiously, on Monday, “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot posted to social media that she was “so grateful for the opportunity to play such an incredible, iconic character” and that she “can’t wait to share her next chapter with you, “sparking widespread speculation as to what that next chapter would be.
A representative for Warner Bros. declined to comment and a representative for Jenkins did not respond to a request for comment.
“Man of Steel” star Henry Cavill also recently teased that he was set to reprise his performance as Superman after his brief appearance in the post-credits scene of October’s “Black Adam” opposite Dwayne Johnson. But now both Cavill and Johnson’s future with DC is an open question, with a Hollywood Reporter story suggesting that the new DC Studios plan could kill any potential “Man of Steel” sequel, while the prospects of another installment of “Black Adam” have been harmed by the shaky financial returns at the box office.
At the heart of all of it is the deeply fraught history of what fans have dubbed the Snyderverse — the series of DC adaptations that first launched with 2013’s “Man of Steel” and cast Cavill, Gadot, “Aquaman” star Jason Momoa and “The Flash” star Ezra Miller as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. From the start, Snyder’s morally gray and visually gritty approach proved divisive with DC fans and general audiences alike — some loved it, others hated it. But while Snyder effectively exited the DC Universe after 2017’s “Justice League” (only returning for 2021’s recut “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” after a relentless online campaign), most of the actors Snyder cast remained in their own individual franchises.
Most of those post-Snyder movies were major financial successes, but the Snyderverse has also been dogged by scandals. Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg in both “Justice League” films, parted ways with Warner Bros. in 2021 after waging his own relentless online campaign alleging misconduct by previous studio leadership. And while “The Flash” is still scheduled to debut in June, Miller — who apologized in August “to everyone that I have alarmed and upset with my past behavior” after weathering a litany of misconduct and abuse allegations — is all but certain to be done with the character.
There is still every chance that Cavill, Gadot, Momoa and Johnson could return to the DC fold in one way or another. They’re enormously popular stars with global appeal who all seem eager to follow up again. Only Gunn and Safran know for sure, however, whether they’ll get the call.