James Gunn will be DC’s Kevin Feige

Director James Gunn and producer Peter Safran will be co-chairs and co-CEOs of Warner Bros.’ new DC Studios, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday. DC Studios is a new Warner Bros. department replacing DC Films, and will oversee all DC Universe projects within film, TV, and animation.

New Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has been on the lookout for a counterpart to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige for quite some time, courting people from various backgrounds in the entertainment world.

Gunn previously had a closer relationship with Marvel, making the first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies before jumping ship to DC for 2021’s The Suicide Squad — after being fired from the third Guardians movie by Marvel. (He’s back on that project, however.) Tuesday’s news also happened to come hours after the trailer dropped for Gunn’s upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. For DC, Gunn also directed the celebrated HBO Max show Peacemaker, one of Polygon’s favorite shows of 2022.

While not as recognizable a name as Gunn, Safran is a very experienced producer who has worked with Warner Bros. many times in the last several years. Some of Safran’s earliest producing credits include his work with horror director and DC veteran James Wan. Safran’s producing work with Wan’s Conjuring Universe also set him up for the kind of franchise management that will be key to his success in his new role at DC. Since then, Safran has moved into the DC Universe as a whole, including both Shazam! movies and Gunn’s DC projects.

This is the latest hierarchy shift in the DC Universe, following executive Walter Hamada’s recent exit and years of turmoil preceding Warner Bros. takeover (and following it, including the infamous cancellation of Batgirl).