At this point, it still isn't clear exactly what DC Studios' co-heads James Gunn and Peter Safran have planned, or how hard a reboot their new films will be. Henry Cavill's "return" to the part of Superman was short-lived, "Wonder Woman 3" has been canceled (though Gal Gadot hasn't exited yet), and it doesn't look like the Rock's take on Black Adam is included in their plans.

At the same time, it seems unlikely that Gunn would also dump his personal projects, "The Suicide Squad" and "Peacemaker." He's also said that he doesn't plan to just preserve the characters and actors from those projects either. Gunn has described his and Safran's ambitions for DC as, "the Biggest Story Ever Told across multiple films, television shows, & animated projects."

That would seem to indicate a more unified "shared universe" approach. This would be consistent with Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav's goal of beating the Marvel Cinematic Universe at its own game. If a recent tweet by Gunn is any indication, though, DC Studios' productions may not all be under the same continuity umbrella after all. When asked if he is "open to producing any Elseworlds DC projects that aren't set in the DCU?" Gunn answered that such projects are, "actively happening."

Elseworlds Under Development

"Elseworlds" was a DC Comics imprint that took familiar characters and changed something about them or their world. The books were set in their own continuity so creative freedom reigned. It's akin to Marvel's "What If," though the ideas of "Elseworlds" tended to be grander, rather than the changes to particular stories you would find in "What If…?" issues.

Take "Batman: Gotham by Gaslight" by Brian Augustyn and Mike Mignola, which reimagined Batman in the 19th century, or "Superman: Red Son" by Mark Millar, which depicted a world where Superman was raised in the Soviet Union instead of the USA. Todd Phillips' 2019 "Joker" (aka "What If… 'The King of Comedy' was bad?") was described as an "Elseworlds" film, since it was so far removed from the traditional DC Universe. James Gunn's interest in Elseworlds stories bodes well not just for Todd Phillips, but also for Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson, who may not have to have their Batman folded into a shared universe after all.

Frankly, DC Comics has never been as good at maintaining a shared universe as Marvel. The Marvel Universe was the product of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Stan Lee, with subsequent writers and artists building off of a singular foundation. With DC, the staple characters were all created by different people and welded together. That means the characters lend themselves better to variety and stories that don't rely on continuity. Based on his own superhero films, Gunn cares about character first and if one of DC's roster fits an Elseworlds story, it sounds like he'll be open to pursuing it.

According to Gunn himself, he and Safran will be sharing their plans early into 2023. It sounds like we can expect some Elseworlds projects on the slate.

Read this next: Every DC Movie Made Prior To The DCEU Ranked From Worst To Best

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