Dwayne Johnson’s time as Black Adam has been put on ice, as the former WWE Superstar announced that he won’t be part of the first chapter of the DC Universe under James Gunn and Peter Safran. This eye-opening twist came roughly a week after Gunn announced that Henry Cavill will not be in the DCU’s highly anticipated Superman movie, despite his return in Black Adam. These meaningful moves have garnered plenty of criticism, but there are plenty of positives to be found here. It’s well past time for the DCU to start over, and Gunn is the right man to lead the way.
For a while, it seemed like Black Adam might be a jumping-off point for the new DC Universe. The DCEU’s shortcomings over the years are well documented, and these missteps sapped the franchise of its momentum time after time. Having a star of Dwayne Johnson’s magnitude as the face of this fresh era made a lot of business sense. Plus, the self-spoiled revelation that Henry Cavill’s Superman would return in the movie was a big swing that garnered plenty of buzz.
However, just a few days after the movie premiered, the entertainment world was collectively stunned by the announcement that Gunn and Safran were the new co-CEOs of DC Studios. Since then, the duo has been preparing to launch a new chapter in DC history, calling the status of Black Adam and Superman, among other projects, into question. Gunn offered some clarity on December 14 when he announced that he is writing a new Superman movie that will take the character in a new direction that doesn’t include Cavill, bringing the former star of The Witcher’s tumultuous time as “The Man of Steel” to an end.
While plenty of fans have expressed their frustration in response to this news, the potential for the bigger picture here is exciting. More so than it has in a number of years, the DCU has a clear mission, as it is being helmed by Gunn and Safran. The duo is mapping out a ten-year plan, which sounds a lot like the formula that made the Marvel Cinematic Universe the overwhelming success it is today. This is a far cry from the franchise’s past; again and again, DC tried to make the Snyderverse work, but a variety of factors hamstrung it to the point of no return. Among other questionable choices, the method of doing Batman vs. Superman without introducing the character in his own film was one error the DCEU never managed to recover from. Now, it’s time to go back to the drawing board, and Gunn, whose successful track record includes hits like Peacemaker, The Suicide Squad, and Guardians of the Galaxy, should inspire plenty of hope.
Losing Johnson, even temporarily, is undoubtedly a blow, both in the PR department and in overall buzz, given his presence. But It seems like Johnson and DC will collaborate to some extent down the road, so fans of The Rock can take some solace in that. But the decision to move forward with the “powerful vision” for DC’s future, even at the expense of Johnson’s involvement, is also encouraging. The new regime has a plan, and they’re sticking to it. Factor in some of the potential building blocks of the new DCU, such as John Cena’s Peacemaker, and suddenly the path forward looks promising.
It’s all too easy to focus on the negative, especially when it comes to the DCU, given its past failings. However, with Gunn at the helm and a wonderfully loaded sandbox of iconic heroes for him to play with, the future is bright.