For a moment it seemed as if DC Films might have its leader, but alas, the ship remains without a captain. Late last month, there were conflicting reports that producer Dan Lin, who helped bring both It films, The Lego Movies, and the Aladdin remake to fruition, was being eyed as the new head of DC Films. One trade made it seem like a done deal. Another made it seem less likely. Turns out, everyone was right. Lin was up for the job, but will not be taking it.
CNBC first reported the news of Lin’s decision which primarily had to do with his personal production company, Rideback. To run DC, Lin would’ve had to leave many of his commitments at Rideback behind. A source close to the talks told io9 Warner Bros. was aware of this and thought a compromise could be made, but ultimately the sides couldn’t figure it out. At one point, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav reportedly personally met with the producer hoping to convince him, though, and io9 was able to confirm that several other candidates are still being considered for the job because talks with Lin were very early.
Zaslav recently said that he hoped to “reset” DC Films, and bringing in a new person to control it all was a key component of that. The popular distinction for that role, especially among fans, is that DC is looking for its very own “Kevin Feige,” the Marvel Studios president who is credited with bringing the multi-billion dollar Marvel Cinematic Universe to life. The issue with finding a “Kevin Feige” though is you can’t just put someone into that role and expect the same results. Lin is obviously a talented producer, and under his watch DC Films would probably find success. But Feige has been with Marvel since day one. Not Iron Man. No, Feige was an associate producer on X-Men way back in 2000. He also worked on Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man. He was Marvel films when Marvel films were still a gamble. He’s got not just the brand in his DNA, he’s got its movies in his DNA. It’s a connection and understanding that is not easily replicated. And, let’s not forget, this search has been ongoing well before the latest regime took over Warner Bros. See this 2017 article: “Warner Bros. Shaking Up DCEU Leadership After Lackluster Justice League Performance.”
Whoever does end up taking over DC Films has a mighty task in front of them. Black Adam will be out in a few weeks but after that, the next three DC films (Shazam: Fury of the Gods, The Flash, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom) each have their own issues, including numerous release date shifts, to go along with them. Some future projects seem ready to go (sequels for Matt Reeves’ Batman and Todd Phillips’ Joker), but others, like new Superman and Wonder Woman films, remain up in the air. A full reset and the kind of success Zaslav is looking for is years and years away.
This post has been updated with additional context from a source close to the situation.
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