James Gunn and Peter Safran are preparing to reboot the DC Universe under a single shared timeline with a stronger focus on quality control. It is because of that focus on quality that Safran says he supported the move made by Warner Bros. Discovery to shelve the completed HBO Max movie “Batgirl.”
At a press event on Monday to announce the first phase of films and TV shows being developed for the new DC Universe, Gunn and Safran were asked by reporters if the slate was set in place and had no chance of being cancelled after completion as “Batgirl” was. Safran, who was hired after the movie was killed off and wasn’t involved in the decision, said he has seen “Batgirl” and that he believes that the film “not releasable.”
“There were a lot of incredibly talented people in front and behind the camera on that film. But that film was not releasable. And it happens sometimes,” Safran said. “And I actually think that [Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David] Zaslav and the team made a very bold and courageous decision to cancel it because it would have hurt DC and it would have hurt the people involved in making it.”
Safran added that his thoughts on the quality of “Batgirl” were not a judgment on the film’s cast and crew. He says that he and Gunn have been in contact with the film’s directors, Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, as well as screenwriter Christina Hodson, who also wrote the 2020 Harley Quinn film “Birds of Prey” and the upcoming “The Flash.” Safran says that he is interested in working with all of them on potential future DC projects while Gunn praised “The Flash” as “probably one of the greatest superhero movies ever made.
“[‘Batgirl’] would not have been able to compete in the theatrical marketplace. It was built for the small screen. And so again, you know, I think that it was not an easy decision, but they made the right decision,” Safran said.
Starting with “Superman: Legacy,” an upcoming blockbuster written by Gunn that will be released in summer 2025, nearly all DC Studios film, television, animated and gaming projects will be unified under a single shared universe. Among the few exceptions will be projects that are clearly separated under a “DC Elseworlds” banner, named after a famed comic imprint that imagined DC superheroes in alternate universes and timelines.
Among the ongoing TV and film projects that will continue under the “Elseworlds” banner are Todd Philips’ “Joker: Folie a Deux” and Matt Reeves “The Batman Part II,” the latter of which has now been set for a release in October 2025.