During a press conference about the future of DCU, new co-heads of DC Studios James Gunn and Peter Safran confirmed they’ll use the “Elseworlds” strategy to tell different kinds of stories. In DC Comics, the “Elseworlds” printing label allows writers to tell stories that don’t belong to the main Earth’s canon but happen in alternate dimensions.
First released in 1989, the “Elseworlds” stories were created by DC to give writers creative freedom beyond the constraints of a single universe canon. So, instead of being forced to understand every DC main character’s long and complex story, an “Elseworlds” writer could just rework the central mythology of key characters and set events in motion in a different version of Earth.
A couple of weeks back, we wondered if Gunn and Safran would use the “Elseworlds” strategy while building their version of the DCU. That’s because, while the creative duo has been tasked with telling a single coherent story, DC Studios is still moving forward with Matt Reeves “BatVerse” and Todd Phillips’ Joker franchise. The only way these mature and grim Gotham City tales could exist inside Gunn and Safran‘s plan was if they happened in a different timeline. And as Gunn confirms, that’s exactly how they are tackling DCU productions in the future. In Gunn’s words:
“Yeah, and the DC is a multiverse, but we’re going to be focusing on one universe from that multiverse. And if something isn’t DCU, we’re gonna make that very clear. So strictly adult fare like Todd Phillips, Joker, or, you know, kids animation like Teen Titans Go, we’re gonna, we’re gonna make it very clear that those are DC Elseworlds just the same way that we’re doing in the comic books.”
What Is Canon in the new DCU?
While the “Elseworlds” strategy fits like a glove to keep Warner Bros. Discovery profiting from popular takes on DC characters without spoiling the main story, Gunn and Safran are also concerned about the main canon. That’s why, during the press conference, they announced a new slate of movies and TV shows that revolve around fan-favorite characters such as Superman and Wonder Woman while also giving some love to relatively unfamiliar faces as the Creature Commandos. More importantly, Gunn and Safran confirmed the upcoming The Flash movie starring Ezra Miller would mark a reset point for the DCU, giving them a clean slate for the future.
There’s still much we don’t know about the DCU, but Gunn and Safran do sound like they have a solid plan. Gunn is also actively writing multiple film and TV show scripts to ensure the whole DCU will remain coherent and pointed in the same direction. That’s great news for DC fans, as we can expect every upcoming production to share the same themes and tones.