10 DC Characters Who Need To Be in James Gunn’s DCU

in DC, Entertainment


Credit: ITM

James Gunn is the king of obscure characters and has already proven that with the MCU and DC Universe. He was initially tasked with adapting the Guardians of the Galaxy, which became arguably the best trilogy that Marvel has ever produced. He then pivoted to showcase his own version of the Suicide Squad, which brought along some obscure DC characters like Polka-Dot Man, Ratcatcher 2, and King Shark.

James Gunn speaking at the Facebook F8 Developer's Conference 2017
Credit: Anthony Quintano via Wikimedia Commons

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Though his usual style is to bring in unsung superheroes and villains, he still plans to showcase some of the tried and true DC characters like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Gunn’s dedication to his craft and passion for the superhero genre made him the perfect choice to run and create the new DCU.

He has already announced his first DCU slate, the Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters lineup. This first slate will focus on a blend of tried and true characters like Superman and Batman. But it will also highlight some DC Universe favorites like Amanda Waller, Swamp Thing, The Authority, and Booster Gold.

Though he has yet to announce his complete DCU plans, we have ten characters from DC comics that should be introduced into live-action, as they have not been given their due time in the franchise.

10 DC Heroes and Villains James Gunn Should Bring Into the DCU

Mister Mxyzptlk – Villain

mister Mxyzptlk
Credit: DC Comics

Mister Mxyzptlk might be one of the most obscure and beloved characters from DC comics. Though he has not been quite a massive villain for anyone other than Superman, his inclusion in the DC Universe would be perfect.

The character’s first appearance occurred in September 1944 in Superman #30. Originally known as Mr. Mxyzptlk, he became an instant thorn in the side of Superman, as he was known instantly as a trickster. In the mythological sense, he is essentially the DC version of Loki, as he is a reality-warping imp that only exists to cause chaos.

His initial origin involved him appearing from the Fifth Dimension and was only sent back if Superman or someone could get him to say his name backward or write it down backward. While that sounds impossible, it often proved relatively easy for Supes. His more contemporary versions took that concept of ridiculous feats to different levels, like in the 1986 Crisis on Infinite Earths, where a version of the character only disappeared if he was tricked into painting his face blue.

Simply put, Mister Mxyzptlk is a bizarre character that would do well under the direction of James Gunn, and though he has appeared as an anti-hero and villain—he might be perfect for Superman: Legacy.

Zatanna Zatara – Hero

Credit: DC Comics

There have been many rumors about Zatanna Zatara (most known as Zatanna) being incorporated into the DC Universe. The most recent rumors had been a film that would showcase the magician on HBO Max as far back as December 2022. Emerald Fennell planned a dark story and script, but DC eventually pulled the plug.

James Gunn now has the opportunity to bring in one of the most interesting characters in DC comics. Zatanna is an illusionist who discovers her magical powers, which sets her on a course to discover what happened to her father. Zatanna’s father succumbed to the dark arts, which is also what Zatanna is always in danger of.

She can recite any incantation backward, allowing for anything she imagines to be wielded as a weapon. Her illusions and magic capabilities allow her to manipulate reality, which makes her a powerful ally. She has paired well with some of the biggest DC heroes but has yet to be utilized in live-action the right way. Zatanna would be a perfect addition to James Gunn’s new DC Universe.

Lobo – Villain

Lobo smoking a cigar
Credit: DC Comics

There might be no one that has been requested more than Lobo, the intergalactic bounty hunter that rides a spaceship that looks exactly like a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Lobo has long been an antagonist to the DC universe, constantly coming to barbs with Superman.

Lobo has had many origins, though he has always remained a brutal figure in DC. One of his most known origins occurred in the 1990s when he was part of an alien race called the Czarnian. During his miniseries in DC comics, Lobo killed everyone on his planet, making him the last Czarnian. This led to many spinoffs and offshoots, which included him killing his own daughter and hunting down Santa Claus.

The character was initially a byproduct of DC trying to mimic Wolverine and The Punisher, and the character’s popularity took off. Stan Lee was even known to count Lobo as his favorite DC character.

Rumors have tied Lobo to Jason Momoa, who currently portrays Aquaman in the DC Universe. However, there have also been plenty of rumors indicating that Aquaman will be done after the second film comes out in December. Strangely, Momoa has stated Aquaman will be part of the DCU, but we would rather have him recast as Lobo.

John Constantine – Hero

Credit: DC Comics/The CW

Though fans have already seen what a live-action John Constantine looks like, as Keanu Reeves portrayed the demon-exorcising character in the 2005 film, it has long been asked to see the hero appear and be part of the grander DC Universe. We did report that Reeves was planning on reuniting with the director Francis Lawrence for the sequel film, though we hope James Gunn has plans to bring the character into his DCU.

Keanu Reeves portraying John Constantine in the DCU would be perfect, as everyone is a major fan of the actor. We are unsure if his sequel film will be part of the DCU offshoot DC Elseworlds storylines. Still, it would be fantastic if Gunn pulled a fast one and allowed Reeves to maintain portraying the character for the foreseeable future.

Constantine first appeared in Swamp Thing #37 and is often an ally of the humanoid plant. Gunn has already announced that Swamp Thing is part of his Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters slate, and James Mangold is writing and directing the film. Mangold could easily introduce Constantine in that film, and it could be Keanu Reeves, combining everyone’s hopes and wishes in one grand story.

Constantine is a warlock and magic user that would also fill that gap in DC. Most DC heroes and villains are all superheroes with strength, flying abilities, or a variation of those powers. There isn’t anyone that currently uses magic as a source of power.

Lex Luthor – Villain

Superman villain Lex Luthor in his War Suit
Credit: DC Comics

Lex Luthor might be an obvious choice here as he is often the main antagonist to Superman and Metropolis. James Gunn is currently writing out his Superman: Legacy film and plenty of rumors have tied the film to casting Luthor for the DC Universe.

Despite that, it’s time for someone to truly allow Luthor to exist as the main supervillain of the franchise. Though Zack Snyder attempted to do so, bringing in Jesse Eisenberg as a bizarre version of the character, he was successful in unleashing Doomsday on the world—effectively killing Superman.

That iteration of Lex Luthor was hated for many reasons, and we get why. He was not the type of Luthor that anyone asked for or wanted. We understand that not every villain and hero will be identical to their comic iterations, and we are not asking for that either. However, bringing someone like Eisenberg to play a non-commanding and non-threatening Luthor was not the right move.

The DC Universe needs a Lex Luthor that can exist within many properties and generally put together the Legion of Doom. At the very least, he must build the mech armor that allows him to go toe-to-toe with Superman and the rest of the proposed Justice League.

The Atom – Hero

the atom
Credit: The CW

Many heroes and villains will mimic Marvel characters, which is just how it goes. DC and Marvel ripped one another off for many years, often creating heroes with the same powers. One of those heroes from DC is The Atom.

As one might guess, The Atom can shrink to subatomic size. However, though he has powers similar to Ant-Man, The Atom has always been far more of a scientist than a hero who will beat anyone up. That might be the defining factor that separates the two.

Again, we understand that Hank Pym and Scott Lang have also pushed the boundaries of science in the Ant-Man movies, but The Atom could be that for DC. Science isn’t exactly the strong suit of any DC character, apart from Batman, but adding The Atom could be the character that could exist as DC’s Reed Richards type.

Should something like the Anti-Life Equation be brought into DC, heroes like The Atom would be crucial in undoing its immense catastrophic damage.

Parasite – Villain

Credit: Warner Bros.

One of the most enjoyable DC Universe villains is Parasite. Parasite can absorb the life force, abilities, and knowledge of anyone around him. Naturally, this made him a crucial antagonist to Superman, as he could absorb all his powers, becoming massively strong.

Though the supervillain has appeared in many cartoons like Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League, he has not yet been utilized in a live-action movie. He has appeared in live-action shows like Smallville, Superman & Lois, and Supergirl.

He is one of the most powerful villains in the DC Universe but has yet to be called on to appear as such in live-action films. Superman: Legacy could be the perfect place, as Kal-El has to find the balance between his double life of being Superman and Clark Kent. With metahumans already existing, Superman might find it hard to deal with someone who could immediately take his powers.

Nightwing – Hero

Credit: DC Comics

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For some odd reason, Batman has existed in many iterations for years, and Nightwing has not yet been included. He is Robin (Dick Grayson) for those unfamiliar with the character. Grayson is always canonically known as the first Robin that teams up with Batman. However, he branches out and becomes his own hero, often rivaling Bruce Wayne.

Nightwing oddly started as a persona of Superman. Superman and Jimmy Olsen crash land on Kandor and assume the identities of Nightwing and Flamebird. However, after the Crisis on Infinite Earths event, the character was changed to a vigilante from Krypton. This inspires Grayson, who assumes the role of Nightwing after retiring as Robin.

Nightwing possesses abilities similar to his training with Batman, as he has superior intellect, is a master detective, and is a deadly hand-to-hand combatant. He also often uses his twin fighting sticks to take down his foes. Nightwing would be a perfect addition to The Brave and the Bold film, as Batman will be teaming up with his son Damian Wayne.

Sinestro – Villain

Credit: DC Comics

Sinestro might be another obvious pick here, as he is the usual antagonist to the Green Lantern Corps. Lanterns is set to be part of the James Gunn Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters reveal, so it stands to reason that the Green Lantern Corps will have their hands full with one of their most powerful adversaries.

Sinestro first appeared in August 1961 in Green Lantern #7. He is the direct rival of Hal Jordan and is the creator of the Sinestro Corps. As you can imagine, his group is the antithesis of the Green Lantern Corps. Sinestro has one of the most exciting backstories, as he was a former member of the Green Lanterns who kept abusing his power. Once the Corpos discharged him for doing so, he took matters into his own hands, becoming a powerful ring user that rivals the Green Lanterns.

Nathan Fillon is set to appear as Guy Gardner in Superman: Legacy, and we imagine that he could be tied to the Lanterns series that is being developed as well. Sinestro would theoretically be part of that, and he would be a welcomed supervillain that could appear in many new DCU projects.

Green Arrow – Hero

stephen amell as green arrow dcu
Credit: CW

Despite Green Arrow existing in the live-action series for many years, aptly titled Arrow, he has yet to break through in a live-action film. He is arguably one of the most essential DC Comcis heroes, often appearing to aid Batman and Superman. Still, no creator has found the right way to introduce him as such.

For some odd reason, he was left out of being part of the Justice League, despite being an important member of the hero faction in comics. Green Arrow, otherwise known as Oliver Queen, is similar to Batman. He is a wealthy businessman who hides the fact that he is the hero of Green Arrow, often inspired by Robin Hood.

He uses his innate marksman abilities to take down his foes and often relies on his expertise in hand-to-hand combat and acrobatics to escape would-be dangers. Should James Gunn build out his new Justice League, involving its most prominent member would be wise.

batman villains feature
Credit: ITM

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Those are our ten picks for heroes and villains that we hope to see James Gunn bring into his new DCU. Though there are some obvious choices, we hope obscure characters like Lobo, Parasite, and The Atom are involved somehow.

What DC characters do you want to see James Gunn bring into the DCU? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!


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