Rushfield: Zaslav's Superhero Hail Mary
➕ the Riseborough affair and its discontents
"David Zaslav made a bold and courageous decision."
Those aren't words you've heard much from the creative community in the past year, but DC head Peter Safran was putting them on the line, with James Gunn nodding his assent, not just about Zaslav's general leadership but over the most controversial decision of his tenure, the fearsome shelving of Batgirl, as the pair laid out their vision for DC's road forward to a group of reporters summoned to the Warners lot yesterday.
This is where the rubber meets the Zaslav era. We've had a year of cuts, layoffs and unplatformings — which help the margins, yes, but you don't grow a business by cutting. So now the answer to: what are they going to start doing that's new, different and better? First, lean in to the biggest IP vault they've got.
The consequences are of course, monumental. If DC could turn into another Marvel — even half of another Marvel à la Sony's Spiderverse, they could change the world. Having a division that reliably creates multiple tentpole hits each year... if you get that right, then everything else just pales in the face of that. "The history of DC is pretty messed up", as Gunn put it, who throughout did not spare any tears for mistakes of regimes past.
But every time you start thinking such thoughts, one's mind turns immediately to the long trail of tears DC has walked, the ballyhooed resets of the past, the visionaries who have come and gone through its doors. Will this time be different?