James Gunn Butting Heads With Dwayne Johnson Over DCU Political Direction

James Gunn wants to take the DCU in a different but similar direction than Dwayne Johnson and Black Adam.

James Gunn Butting Heads With Dwayne Johnson Over DCU Political Commentary Story

We get some potential insights into the direction James Gunn is going to take the DCU which is said to involve some sort of political commentary crossover and story, which may have led to Gunn and Dwayne Johnson butting heads over the ideas and the direction of the DCU.

Over the Summer, I was actually told by DC insiders that Dwayne Johnson wants to take over the DC films, that Henry Cavill can return to Superman anytime he wants to, and not to count Zack Snyder out just yet.

It’s the same DC insiders that told me back in 2019 that Gunn would return to DC following Guardians of the Galaxy 3, and it’s the same insiders that filled me in at Comic-Con while talking to Batman producer Michael Uslan about the Stan Lee DC Comics project (I also chatted with Scott Snyder about The Batman).

Well, Johnson isn’t taking over DC, Henry Cavill is back, Zack Snyder did have that special message for Cavill, James Gunn is back at DC, and DC Comics announced the Stan Lee project.

Update: With Wonder Woman 3 dead it is said sequels for Black Adam are unlikely as Dwayne Johnson “hoped to carve out his own piece of the DC pie,” but multiple sources via THR are stating Johnson playing up the return of Henry Cavill and his own involvement with the DCU “may not be endearing him to the new management,” with Gunn possibly rebooting the DCU.

Original article continues:

James Gunn on Jimmy Kimmel for The Suicide Squad
via ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’

James Gunn takes over

Before we dive into the rumors, what is interesting about James Gunn taking over DC is it recently came out that Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav actually asked the head of Marvel, Kevin Feige, if Feige wanted to jump ship.

Zaslav has made it no secret he wants a ten-year plan for the DC Universe that is similar to what Feige has done with Marvel and even has been looking for a Feige-type to take over, so Zaslav figured why not go straight to Feige.

Feige “politely” turned down Zaslav’s offer.

What is also interesting about how everything unfolded is that it has been reported James Gunn had been helping Zaslav in his search for the head of DC.

Obviously, since James Gunn is now in charge along with producer buddy Peter Safran, Gunn had been chirping in Zaslav’s ear and pitching his own direction for the DCEU (now referred to as the DCU).

So Zaslav chose Gunn and Safran, and worth a mention is that Gunn was at Marvel and also produced Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

So while Zaslav couldn’t get Feige, Zasalv still got his “Marvel” with James Gunn.

Dwayne Johnson Black Adam Comic-Con
‘Black Adam’ at Comic-Con

Dwayne Johnson wants Black Adam vs Suicide Squad and Justice League

How does this relate to Dwayne Johnson?

The rumors that follow come from YouTuber Grace Randolph who prior to Gunn taking over DC said Dwayne Johnson (who brought Henry Cavill back as Superman) wants a Black Adam vs Suicide Squad vs Superman and the Justice League movie.

So it sounds as if Johnson’s idea is to have his Black Adam be the focus of the DCU.

However, Johnson isn’t in charge, James Gunn is, who was announced as the new head of the DCU the same week Black Adam was released.

Both Gunn and Johnson are active on social media yet there haven’t been any congrats for the new job or for Black Adam. Nada. Nothing. Silence. Zip.

james gunn suicide squad set James Gunn Butting Heads With Dwayne Johnson Over DCU Political Direction
‘The Suicide Squad’ set

James Gunn’s DCU ideas involve Suicide Squad vs Justice League

According to Grace Randolph, James Gunn’s own ideas for the DCU involve a Suicide Squad vs Justice League-type story, but not with Black Adam at the center.

Gunn’s ideas are said to be about a “political commentary” involving the trial of Amanda Waller (played by Viola Davis).

Randolph says the story would mirror the present political climate (recall how right-wingers got Gunn fired from Disney and Marvel over raunchy tweets) and see Amanda Waller arrested for forming the Suicide Squad for the U.S. government.

So according to Randolph, the story would follow Amanda Waller on trial for creating the Suicide Squad and Waller would be working behind the scenes to get rid of any potential witnesses who can testify against her in court.

Waller would have not only have to get rid of members of the Suicide Squad but also government officials.

Randolph claims this storyline was James Gunn’s original idea when he had his own corner of DC, which includes Peacemaker, and the Suicide Squad extension of that, which is known to have involved a spinoff involving Viola Davis and Amanda Waller, something Gunn has confirmed is not as much of a comedy as Peacemaker.

Randolph also says James Gunn was going to bring in the Secret Six, which in the DC Comics, is a team made up of villains who only serve their self-interests (they are a straight-up team of bad guys) while the Suicide Squad is a team that forces villains to work for the government.

So Gunn’s original idea was to have that story be on a smaller scale, but now that he runs DC, obviously, Gunn can take things to the next level.

According to Randolph, that next level could involve bringing in the Justice League as well.

Gunn is said to still be mulling over the idea but it’s said the story will now be an overarching story that will be spread amongst several projects.

As Grace Points out, Viola Davis was super excited by the news of Gunn getting the DCU gig as Davis commented on Gunn’s Instagram announcement with three big red heart emojis: “Woooooohooooo!!!!!!!”

Viola Davis as Amanda Waller
Viola Davis as Amanda Waller

James Gunn wants Amanda Waller as the “Thanos” villain of the DCU

Again, Gunn’s idea of having Suicide Squad vs Justice League is exactly what Dwayne Johnson wanted to do, but Johnson wanted the story to revolve around the characters fighting (sounds like more of a versus movie), while Gunn wants Amanda Waller as the big villain.

We can guess Johnson was going to use Waller to bring the Suicide Squad together with the Justice League to take down Black Adam, which is suggested by the Henry Cavill cameo, but now with Gunn in charge, Johnson’s ideas are likely out the door.

Randolph also compares what James Gunn is doing with Amanda Waller as the villain of the DCU to what Kevin Feige, the Russo brothers, and Marvel did with Thanos as the villain of the MCU who represented a real-world commentary on the politics of today.

Thanos is all about population control, etc., with some comparing Thanos to Trump, etc. — while Waller works for the government, is a patriot, did it for her country, goes on trial, etc.

Grace also notes Gunn could change his mind so it doesn’t sound like things are set in stone just yet.