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James Gunn Discusses Canon/"Elseworlds," DCU/DC Comics "Intersect"

Responding to a The Killing Joke question, James Gunn addressed canon/"Elseworlds" tales and how DCU and DC Comics will "intersect" at times.

By now, DC Studios' James Gunn & Peter Safran have made it pretty clear that the foundation of their New DCU begins with the upcoming animated series based on writer J. M. DeMatteis & artist Pat Broderick's Creature Commandos and then rolls into 2025's Superman: Legacy. But the duo has also made it clear that DC Studios is also going to be telling stories based on the DC Comics universe set outside of their New DCU – for example, Matt Reeves' "The Batman" universe, Todd Phillips' Joker: Folie à Deux – under the banner of "Elseworlds." For Gunn, that stems back to his love for how various writers & artists have approached iconic characters in bold, interesting ways that have resulted in some true comic book classics. Gunn had a chance to touch upon that in more detail earlier today and touch upon the connection between DC Studios and the comics universe.

Image: DC Comics/Max Screencap

"I consider whatever I'm reading "true" in the moment I'm reading it!" Gunn shared when asked if he considers Alan Moore & Brian Bolland's The Killing Joke to be the definitive Joker origin. While reaffirming that DC Studios doesn't deal with comics canon, Gunn added that the New DCU "will intersect & sway away & intersect again, etc, with DC Comics." Noting that he enjoys the "variations" on these mythic characters, Gunn added that it makes a real difference "when the artists understand the core of what I believe makes a character great & understands their history while offering a new spin."

James Gunn Discusses Canon/"Elseworlds," DCU/DC Comics "Intersect"
Image: Threads Screencap

Creature Commandos: J. M. DeMatteis on James Gunn's DCU Approach

"James [Gunn] and I had a very nice conversation about 'Creature Commandos' and other things…but that's all it was: a pleasant conversation. I'm not involved in any upcoming projects," DeMatteis shared in a tweet/x back in October 2023. But in a follow-up tweet/x, DeMatteis made sure to let everyone know that the DCU is in "great hands" with Gunn, adding, "Let me add that I think the DC TV/movie universe is in great hands with James Gunn. He's a fan. He understands and respects the source material and the creators." Here's a look at DeMatteis' tweets from back in October 2023:

The role call for the adult animated series (and any potential live-action takes) includes Frank Grillo as Rick Flag Sr., with Maria Bakalova as Princess Ilana Rostovic, Indira Varma as The Bride, Zoe Chao as Nina Mazursky, Alan Tudyk as Dr. Phosphorus, David Harbour as Eric Frankenstein, Sean Gunn as G.I. Robot & Weasel, Steve Agee returning as John Economos, and Anya Chalotra taking on the role of Circe.

First introduced in Weird War Tales #93 (November 1980), the comic book series focused on Frankenstein's monster teaming with a werewolf, a vampire, and a gorgon to fight Nazis in World War II. The series has the distinction of being the first DCU project that Gunn & Safran gave the green light to (with Gunn having penned the series) and the first from DC Studios that will hit screens. In addition, the series is being cast with voice actors who could also play their characters in a live-action project down the road.

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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