It looked like the DCEU was on the verge of undergoing a bit of a shakeup back in January, when Warner Bros. enlisted IT producer Walter Hamada to take over the role of DC Films president. Since then, the studio hasn’t exactly made any groundbreaking moves behind the scenes, but that may very well be changing, as a new report reveals that DC Entertainment’s Geoff Johns is stepping down from his longtime role as chief creative officer.
As Deadline reports, WB has struggled to really find its groove with the DCEU since it launched its new superhero franchise with Man of Steel. Johns, who is said to have often clashed with recently-retired exec Diane Nelson over the creative direction of the franchise, will remain on board with the studio to write and produce his own projects for Warner Bros.
In the meantime, DC Entertainment has tapped publisher Jim Lee to replace Johns, though his expertise in filmmaking is questionable. As chief creative officer, Johns was the Kevin Feige of the DCEU, but the franchise has clearly lacked Marvel’s strong and consistent creative vision. Despite financial success (and Zack Snyder’s extremely vocal fanbase), their films haven’t exactly been adored by critics — with the exception of Wonder Woman, which was not only a crucial hit for the studio, but was also the first time a woman had directed a superhero blockbuster.
Unlike Snyder’s dour Batman v Superman, the grimy and overly-plotted Suicide Squad, and the exceedingly messy Justice League (which underwent extensive reshoots under Joss Whedon following Snyder’s exit), Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman was fun and exciting — and the record-breaking box office numbers merely reinforced the idea that the DCEU needed to shake things up if it hoped to continue its franchise expansion.
As of now, Warner Bros. has a handful of DCEU additions in the pipeline, including James Wan’s Aquaman (hitting theaters in December), Wonder Woman 2, Suicide Squad 2 and Shazam. The studio is additionally developing a Birds of Prey movie featuring an all-female DC villain ensemble headlined by Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, and, as reported late last week, another potential Suicide Squad spinoff starring Jared Leto’s Joker — not to be confused with Todd Phillips’ Joker standalone movie starring Joaquin Phoenix, which is set outside of the DCEU proper. There’s also the long-developing Flash solo movie starring Ezra Miller, which has already run through a few directors and is currently on the search for a replacement.