With multiple projects coming out over the next couple years, the current state of DC television and movies is very exciting right now. Director James Gunn became co-chair of DC Studios last November, and the coming soft reboot of the franchise has left many fans confused. With Blue Beetle coming to theaters on August 18th, let’s try to clear up the differences between the DCEU and its successor, the DCU.

What is the DC Extended Universe?

Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Batman, The Justice League, DCEU

The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) includes all theatrical DC movie releases since Man of Steel in 2013. It also includes Zach Snyder’s Justice League and the series Peacemaker, which were released on Max. The Flash was the penultimate installment; it was meant to serve as a sort of goodbye to the DCEU, with the final project, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, hitting theaters on December 20, 2023.

What is the DC Universe?

Superman: Legacy poster

The DC Universe (DCU) will comprise the DC projects written after Gunn’s arrival as co-chair of DC Studios. It includes both live-action and animated television series (though not My Adventures with Superman), and theatrical releases. In classic James Gunn fashion, more obscure characters like Booster Gold will appear.

Most of the cast from the DCEU is believed to not be returning for the DCU, with Superman having been recast with actor David Corenswet taking the helm from Henry Cavill for Superman: Legacy. However, Gal Gadot might be returning as Wonder Woman, and Gunn hinted on Twitter that Peacemaker may be making a move to the DCU. Meanwhile, the DCEU’s Aquaman, Jason Momoa, has been cast as intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo, an announcement that’s gaining steam within the fan base.

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Which Universe is Blue Beetle in?

Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle in 2023 Blue Beetle movie poster

In January, James Gunn stated that Blue Beetle will take place in the DCU. However, in the same statement, Gunn announced that Superman: Legacy (releasing in 2025) will be the “true beginning of the DCU”; it also fills out the DCU character roster a bit.

So, while Blue Beetle is confirmed to be in the James Gunn’s DCU, not the DCEU, the movie and character’s place and role in the new universe is somewhat murky. The movie will likely answer how the character fits into the DCU, and fans should think of Blue Beetle as the first DCU character, with Superman: Legacy being the first real entry in the DCU as a series.

Watch James Gunn explain Chapter 1 of the DCU, Gods and Monsters, below.

Blue Beetle releases in theaters only on August 18, 2023.

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