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Predicting James Gunn’s DCU Justice League Lineup

With James Gunn and Peter Safran initiating a new era for DC Comics film adaptations, the iconic Justice League will inevitably get a new lineup. After a poorly-received 2017 theatrical edition, the superhero team was finally done justice in the film’s 2021 director’s cut. For better or worse, the film’s lineup of DC heavy hitters will not be the same in new DCU form, either by having members replaced by other superheroes or through recasting. Thus far, one Justice League hero is confirmed for a recast, while others are in a more ambiguous situation, at least until Gunn and Safran make a formal announcement regarding the DCU’s future.

For the time being, the DCU is in a state of uncertainty, with elements of the original DCEU (sometimes nicknamed the “Snyderverse”) seemingly carrying over into the Gunn/Safran era while others are getting a fresh start. The initial DCEU lineup for the Justice League resembled its New 52 incarnation, with teases for new members in future (and now defunct) installments (with some not making it to the final version of the director’s cut). Considering that Gunn and Safran are strongly implying that they will have a fresh new take on the DCU, here are the potential members of the new DCU’s Justice League lineup.

Superman

As one of DC’s most famous superheroes and a cultural icon, Superman is invaluable to any potential Justice League. In an unfortunate instance of poor timing, Henry Cavill was set to return to the Superman role for the long haul right before Gunn and Safran became the new leads of DC’s films. Although Cavill’s iteration of Superman was highly comic-accurate and garnered a loyal fan following, Gunn and Safran are going to start fresh with the Man of Steel, with the former taking to social media to announce the development of a new Superman film. Cavill’s replacement will almost certainly be the most prominent member of the new Justice League lineup.

Batman

In the DCEU’s old era, Ben Affleck, due to personal reasons, exited the iconic role of Batman following his appearances in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and both iterations of Justice League. Affleck’s final Batman appearances are expected to be in The Flash and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, but his planned solo film was replaced by 2022’s The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson as the Dark Knight. While it is not confirmed whether Pattinson will be the Batman of Gunn’s DCU, let alone its Justice League lineup, a new actor will likely play the Dark Knight in the main DC film continuity.

Wonder Woman

Considering that Gal Gadot’s iteration of Wonder Woman is one of the DCU’s most beloved elements, it seemed assured that she’d simply continue to play Diana Prince in Gunn and Safran’s DCU. Wonder Woman 3’s cancelation and Henry Cavill’s departures, unfortunately, imply that Wonder Woman will be recast as well, but recent comments from James Gunn on Instagram suggest the possibility that Gal Gadot will stay in the role, regardless of continuity. Gadot’s performances earned the adoration of comic fans and general audiences, so keeping her in the role might be a strange choice (especially with Superman and Batman being recast), but it is the wisest possible move for the new DCU.

Aquaman

Another popular and successful character from the old DCEU is Jason Momoa’s iteration of Aquaman. Despite his success in one solo film and an upcoming sequel, Momoa’s role as the Atlantean King is rumored to end after The Lost Kingdom. Momoa is not, however, rumored to be out of the franchise, but rather take on a new role as Lobo, a fan-favorite Czarnian bounty hunter from the comics. While this ought to be taken with a hefty grain of salt, the role of Aquaman would need to be replaced if Momoa finds himself playing The Main Man in Gunn and Safran’s new DCU.

Green Lantern

In addition to describing Superman as one of the new DCU’s biggest priorities, James Gunn has also stated on social media that Green Lantern will be prioritized as well, though he will not be played by Ryan Reynolds, who infamously starred in 2011’s critically-panned Green Lantern. The old DCEU nearly included its own iteration of the fan-favorite John Stewart, played by Wayne T. Carr, but there is nothing to suggest that Carr will play the role in Gunn and Safran’s DCU. The Green Lantern of the new DCU will likely be either Hal Jordan or John Stewart (or possibly both), with new actors taking the roles.

The Flash

While The Flash has been depicted by several actors on television, the first cinematic iteration of the Scarlet Speedster has been played by Ezra Miller. Despite two DCEU cameos, a lead role in both iterations of Justice League, and an upcoming solo film, Miller has been a rather controversial figure recently, with various legal issues leading to speculation that he’d have a reduced role in the old DCEU, if not leave the franchise entirely. With James Gunn and Peter Safran’s new DCU possibly being a soft reboot of the old DCEU, The Flash will likely be recast.

Cyborg

Ray Fisher, who plays Cyborg in both versions of the DCEU’s Justice League, has been a controversial figure in DC’s films. Fisher had a well-publicized feud with director Joss Whedon, who finished the 2017 theatrical iteration of Justice League, where he was accused by Fisher and other cast members of engaging in abusive behaviors. Fisher cut ties with previous DC executive Walter Hamada, who he described as having enabled Whedon’s bullying behavior. While Hamada has been replaced by Gunn and Safran, Fisher recently got into an argument over Twitter with Gunn, all but guaranteeing that Cyborg will be recast if he appears in the new DCU.

Shazam

Similar to Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, Zachary Levi’s iteration of Shazam is a particularly beloved element of the old DCEU, with Levi appearing in 2019’s Shazam! and the upcoming Shazam! Fury of the Gods. Due to this, many DC fans are saddened by the possibility of Levi being replaced as Earth’s Mightiest Mortal. Levi’s comments on the matter on Twitter, however, seem to imply that he will remain Shazam in the future. If Shazam is part of James Gunn and Peter Safran’s eventual Justice League lineup, it seems likely that he will be played by Zachary Levi.

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