The future of the comic book powerhouse is less clear than it has been in years now. The circumstances arose after David Zaslav axed ‘Batgirl’ and announced a new 10-year plan was in the works.
Discovery CEO David Zaslav described to DC that they did a reset, on Aug. 4, days after he called for the $90 million HBO Max film Batgirl to be pulled. The mogul said there will now be a team that will create a “10-year” plan for DC, though it’s not confirmed who is on that team.
And Zaslav slammed former WarnerMedia CEO Jason Keeler’s direct-to-streaming moviemaking strategy, saying that they’re going to prioritize quality and not release a film until it’s complete, especially where DC is something they can improve on.
Audience View Not Received Well Inside DC
According to other people who used the same phrase to characterize film department employees, the statements were not well received inside DC. And after learning of Batgirl’s cancellation, DC Films CEO Walter Hamada almost resigned before agreeing to stay until Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam was released on October 21. (That film had a test screening in June, which included a new post-credits scene that introduced a new element to Johnson’s place in the DC Universe.)
Before the Warners sale to Discovery, Hamada planned to distribute three or four films per year. The CEO was hired in 2018 to chart a new route for DC after Zack Snyder’s road map fell apart after the disastrous release of Justice League in 2017.
A Crisis on Infinite Earths event, based on the landmark DC Comics narrative that was adapted for television on The CW, was reportedly in Hamada’s plans. It was rumored that the Secret Six, a villainous team that previously rivaled the Suicide Squad, would be introduced. More specifically, Warners films are based on Supergirl, Green Lantern Corps, and the expected Static Shock film in the next few years, a J.J. Abrams-produced Black Superman film from writer Ta-Nehisi Coates. Development was slow; none of these features were attached to the director.
Some key collaborators have received reassurance that their projects are safe, as Suicide Squad filmmaker James Gunn has multiple projects at DC, including the second season of Peacemaker, which is moving forward. After Batgirl was canceled, observers feared for the project, as it was at one point slated for HBO Max before being upgraded to theaters. The studio is moving full steam ahead with a Joker sequel, with Lady Gaga confirming her casting the morning of the WBD earnings call.
Zaslav turned heads when, among DC’s upcoming films, he highlighted not only Black Adam and Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom but also The Flash, which stars actor Ezra Miller. The optics weren’t good, the day after Batgirl dropped, which would be the first DC Extended Universe film to star a Latina, Leslie Grace.
The Flash is a work in progress, which is being thoroughly tested. Miller participated in regularly scheduled additional photography over the summer, apparently without incident, before being charged with theft — their third arrest this year — on Aug. 7 in Vermont. So far, neither DC nor Zaslav have indicated that the film will move from its June 2023 release date, though insiders say the studio is evaluating all options.
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