James Gunn Cancels The Best DC Movie Story

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

Kingdom Come

DC Studios recently abandoned plans for an animated adaptation of the four-issue comic book miniseries Kingdom Come. The revelation was made by Justice League: Warworld producer Butch Lekic, who said the adaptation was intended for release under the DC Universe Animated Original Movies banner.

DC Studios has produced amazing animated films, but a planned adaptation of the award-winning mini-series Kingdom Come is a casualty of the new James Gunn/Peter Safran regime.

“We originally talked about [DC] Kingdom Come after this, but changing regimes, we couldn’t go forward with anything like that,” Lekic told Screen Rant at San Diego Comic-Con 2023. Alluding to DC Studios bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran scrapping the project, the producer said they might incorporate it in the future with the New World.

“But that was one that we talked about as an obvious possibility to continue,” Lekic added about DC Kingdom Come. “Not this continuity but something more Justice League and larger. Again, it’s personal and individual stuff that I would like to do, and I like the one comic book or two comic book issue stories. I think adapting graphic novels. There’s too much in there. Whereas if you just take two of the miniseries stuff, you can make a better story.”

Kingdom Come

The DC Kingdom Come comic book is a highly acclaimed miniseries published in 1996, written by Mark Waid and beautifully illustrated by Alex Ross. Set in an alternate future of the DC Universe, the story takes place in a time when traditional superheroes, like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, have withdrawn from the world due to their disillusionment with the newer generation of superheroes.

DC’s Kingdom Come centers on an elderly and broken-down Superman who returns from his self-imposed exile after the death of his dear friend and Daily Planet journalist Lois Lane. He is determined to restore order and establish a new era of heroism guided by responsibility and justice principles. Superman reassembles the Justice League with the help of other retired heroes.

“We originally talked about [DC] Kingdom Come after this, but changing regimes, we couldn’t go forward with anything like that, but that was one that we talked about as an obvious possibility to continue. Not this continuity but something more Justice League and larger.

Justice League: Warworld producer Butch Lekic on Kingdom Come

Together, they form an alliance to confront the reckless and dangerous new heroes, led by a mysterious and powerful figure called Magog. The clash between the two generations of heroes brings to the forefront philosophical questions about the nature of heroism, the consequences of unchecked power, and the complex relationship between superheroes and ordinary people.

One of the standout aspects of the DC Kingdom Come series is Alex Ross’s breathtaking painted artwork, which gives the characters a realistic look, making them seem almost lifelike on the pages. The miniseries was praised by critics for its compelling story and has since become a beloved classic among comic book fans.

Kingdom Come

DC’s Kingdom Come has also had a significant influence on subsequent storylines and adaptations within the DC Universe. In addition to the original four-issue miniseries, Kingdom Come has been collected in various formats, including trade paperbacks and deluxe hardcover editions, allowing new generations of readers to experience the magnificence of this timeless tale.

Other DC projects beyond Kingdom Come scrapped by James Gunn and Peter Safran include a live-action Batman Beyond film with Michael Keaton.

Aside from the DC Kingdom Come adaptation, other unrealized projects at DC Studios include a live-action Batman Beyond movie starring Michael Keaton, which was abandoned by Gunn and Safran when they took over as heads of DC Studios. The screenplay for the film was reportedly written by Christina Hodson, who also penned scripts for The Flash, Birds of Prey, and Batgirl.

The most recent addition to the DC Universe Animated Original Movies banner is Justice League: Warworld. The film is part of the Tomorrowverse, a series of animated DC films with a consistent animation style and continuity, beginning with 2020’s Superman: Man of Tomorrow.

While DC’s Kingdom Come has been shelved, upcoming projects to be released under the animation banner include Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths and an adaptation of the legendary graphic novel Watchmen.