Zaslav and Discovery overhauling the DCEU

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav wants the DCEU with its own Kevin Feige, revitalizing Superman, and looking at the Snyderverse.

Big changes are in store for the DC Extended Universe, as Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav announces plans for major overhauls.

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav wants a Kevin Feige for the DCEU. (Images: DC Films/Warner Bros. Discovery and Marvel Studios)

As the $43 billion Discovery and WarnerMedia merger comes to fruition, shakeups have already occurred. WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group chairman Ann Sarnoff, and head of HBO Max Andy Forssell will all be exiting the company. Related to this, Zaslav and Discovery bigwigs are looking closely at how to optimize the creative and revenue potentials of the DC Comics films, television, and gaming.

The solution: find a Kevin Feige-like figure to oversee the brands and franchises. But who could fill that role? And what does it mean for the future of Superman and the Snyderverse? Check out the details below.

They want a Kevin Feige

Variety reports that Warner Bros. Discovery CEO Zaslav "and top leadership have been toying with the idea of turning DC into its own solidified content vertical".

The report expanded on this by specifying:

Zaslav vetted candidates with experience in creating and nurturing blockbuster intellectual property with a goal of potentially finding someone to serve as a creative and strategic czar similar to what Marvel has in Kevin Feige.

Marvel Studios president and creative head Kevin Feige spearheaded and propelled the dominance of the MCU today. A figurehead like Feige who is in touch with what the fans want would certainly bolster the struggling DCEU.

One candidate that was named as being a potential for the revised DC Extended Universe is Emma Watts. Watts served for both 20th Century Studios and Paramount, which gives her the experience. However, the report also stated that Watts will not be taking this role.

Walter Hamada steered DC Films since 2018, but also had its ups and downs, such as 2020's WW84 and Birds of Prey.

Another potential candidate mentioned in the Variety report is current DC Films head Walter Hamada:

Under Walter Hamada, who took over DC Films from Jon Berg and Geoff Johns in 2018, the unit has achieved more consistency in terms of both the critical and commercial reception to the company’s movies.

Although Hamada has had some notable successes under his watch, there have also been disappointments, such as Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) and Birds of Prey (2020). Still, Hamada is under contract until 2023. Thus, he will remain involved in steering the direction of the DCEU for the duration.

Plus, the Discovery higher ups are looking at making the DCEU vertical more self-sustaining. As the report states:

…the company believes that DC must do more to grow its approach to comic book fare, including bolstering gaming.

This would require both a creative direction and strategic business sense, something that Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige has displayed in his tenure.

Superman languishing

One key element that Discovery insiders mention is driving Zaslav’s vision for the DCEU is the leveraging of profit potential of the vast DC Comics content. While The Batman was noted as a cinematic success, the report states that it does not contribute to the coherence and brand strategy that Zaslav may be looking for.

David Zaslav and other Discovery higher-ups intend to revitalize Superman. Will it lead to the return of Henry Cavill?

Superman is given particular attention. As the report notes, Discovery considers the Last Son of Krypton as a top-shelf character that has "been left to languish and need to be revitalized."

Many fans of the DCEU have expressed their disappointment with how Superman has been treated. Fan-favorite actor Henry Cavill is more than happy to wear the cape again, but plans are already in place for other versions of Superman on the big screen and HBO Max. These include a rebooted Superman film under J.J. Abrams with a script by Ta-Nehisi Coates and an alternate Superman being developed with Michael B. Jordan.

The Snyderverse rebirth?

As the rumblings of the major changes to the DCEU grew, the hardcore fans of the Snyderverse have once again mobilized on social media.

Seeing an opportunity to push reviving the cinematic universe that began with Man of Steel (2013), the hashtag #RestoreTheSnyderverse trended again this past week.

This is not the first time the Snyderverse fans made their voice matter. The Justice League Snyder cut winning the fan-voted Oscar awards Cheer Moment was a clear message being sent. After all, the expectations were that Spider-Man: No Way Home would have won both fan-voted awards (the other being the Fan-Favorite category which went to Army of the Dead).

The original plans for the DCEU was for Zack Snyder to build from 2013’s Man of Steel. While he would not direct all the films and projects that followed, he would have creative input and be one of the key producers. However, these plans were changed due to executive decisions from the higher ups of Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment at the time. Said decisions came from the mixed box office results of the brand, ranging from the megahits like Wonder Woman (2017) and Aquaman (2018) to the underperforming Whedon cut of Justice League (2017).

Some industry experts counter that the Zack Snyder cut of Justice League had minimal effect on the HBO Max subscription. However, this is only factoring in the initial month of release. Regardless, the Snyder cut would never have seen light of day on HBO Max without the massive petitions from the fans.

With Zaslav and Warner Bros. Discovery announcing their search for a Kevin Feige-esque creative and business head for the DCEU, could Zack Snyder be in consideration? Will the intention of revitalizing the Superman franchise be a key factor to see the triumphant return of Henry Cavill? And will the Snyderverse fans be able to repeat their successful push for the Justice League Snyder Cut? Time will tell.

DCEU films are currently available on the HBO Max streaming service.

Geoff Borgonia
Geoffrey "Borgy" Borgonia is a veteran writer, artist, journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur based in the Philippines. When not contributing to some of the top pop culture sites on the planet, he spends the rest of his time running his business, practicing martial arts, working on and developing books, comics, and games. In his man-cave, his only luxury is sleep. Borgy on Linkedin.
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