It seems the MCU might actually be getting some competition in the near future. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. Discovery is in negotiations with executive-turned-producer Dan Lin to take over as the Kevin Feige of DC Studios.
Since the merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery, David Zaslav, the current President and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery has been making huge, controversial, and sweeping moves within the company that have directly affected major DC projects including permanently shelving Batgirl and removing J.J. Abrams and Bruce Timm’s Batman: Caped Crusader from HBO Max’s upcoming schedule (but allowing the series to be shopped to other outlets).
Since he took over, Zaslav has repeatedly claimed that he intends to put someone in charge of DC like Marvel has with Kevin Feige, who will create a more cohesive and strong DC universe, rivaling the MCU. Zaslav has reportedly spoken with different individuals to find someone to be a central voice and figurehead with its DC content.
Lin, who backed films including the live-action Aladdin, The Lego Movie, and both IT films, would report directly to Zaslav and oversee both film as well as television projects at HBO/HBO Max.
In the meantime, Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy were set to temporarily run DC with Walter Hamada reporting directly to them until new leadership is announced.
At the beginning of June, Toby Emmerich announced he was exiting his position as Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman and he was promptly replaced by De Luca, and Abdy, who were named co-chairs of Warner Bros. Picture Group. While at MGM, De Luca and Abdy were involved with projects including Licorice Pizza, Cyrano and House of Gucci.
One of the most disappointing things about the DCEU is the inconsistency from one film to the next. Most of the streaming series on HBO Max are far superior to the movies and since the first Batman film in 1989, the DC movies have been stabbing their way through the comics without any rhyme or reason.
The MCU, on the other hand, has consistently found a way to make each and every film and TV show flow together cohesively throughout each phase. It seems that now Warner Bros. Discovery plans to correct this massive oversight.
Prior to the merger closing, Zaslav reportedly vetted several candidates with experience in “nurturing blockbuster intellectual property” in an effort to hire someone who has a strong business background capable of helming different factions at DC for a “more harmonious” approach. One of those candidates included Emma Watts, a former top film executive at 20th Century Studios and Paramount.
Things have definitely been better since Hamada took over DC Films from Jon Berg and Geoff Johns in 2018. DC has managed to achieve more consistency in terms of both the critical and commercial reception to the company’s movies. Hamada is under contract until the end of 2023.
Hamada, the current head of DC Films, would transition out of the role, according to THR’s sources. A Warners insider says that no negotiations are taking place and no official offer has been made, although other sources say the parties are discussing salary, reporting structure and the future of Lin’s prolific production company, Rideback.
We were already expecting Hamada to step down after the release of Black Adam. The Hollywood Reporter previously shared that he has one foot out the door after WBD decided to permanently shelve Batgirl. Much like Leslie Grace, directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, Brendan Fraser, and the rest of the cast, Hamada was shocked to hear about the canceling of Batgirl’s release from the internet, not from anyone at WBD.
During Warner Bros. Discovery‘s Second Quarter 2022 Earnings Call, Zaslav explained his plans to copy off of the MCU, “We have done a reset. We’ve restructured the business where we’re going to focus – where there will be a team with a 10-year plan focusing just on DC. It’s very similar to the structure that Alan Horn and Bob Iger put together very effectively with Kevin Feige at Disney. We think that we could build a long-term, much stronger sustainable growth business out of DC.”
Prior to getting named president of production for Marvel Studios in March 2007, Feige had already produced thirteen Marvel projects X-Men, Spider-Man, Daredevil, X2: X-Men United, Hulk, The Punisher, Spider-Man 2, Blade: Trinity, Elektra, Man-Thing, Fantastic Four, X-Men: The Last Stand, Spider-Man 3, and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Due to his encyclopedic knowledge of the Marvel Universe, he has been involved in all of Marvel Studios’ theatrical productions since the first X-Men film.
Lin, on the other hand, has an impressive resume of films, but only a handful of DC films including an upcoming live action Jonny Quest movie and The Lego Batman Movie (1 and 2), which seems odd since Zaslov just canceled a huge list of animated projects for WBD, including DC projects.
Prior to forming Lin Pictures, now known as Rideback, Lin served as Senior Vice President of Production for Warner Bros. Pictures. During his eight-year tenure at the studio from 1999 to 2007, he oversaw the development and production of such films as Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award-winning drama The Departed.
Will Lin be able to clean up the mess left by his predecessors? Does he himself have an “encyclopedic knowledge” of DC comics? Will his experience in film and television be enough for him to create a cohesive DC universe that can actually rival the MCU?