New Frontier Would Be the Perfect Foundation for DC Studios’ DCU

It has been nearly a week since DC Studios co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran announced their plans for the DC Universe. Their goals for the multimedia franchise, which will encompass movies, television, and video games, has been celebrated a lot by fans, many of whom are excited to see exactly where the over-arching story goes. Thus far, we know that the first half of the first “Chapter” of the saga — “Chapter One: Gods and Monsters” — will encompass five movies and HBO Max-exclusive television shows: Superman: Legacy, The Brave and the Bold, Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow, Swamp Thing, The Authority, Waller, Booster Gold, Lanterns, Paradise Lost, and Creature Commandos.

While some have been unsure about exactly what that ragtag list of projects could ultimately culminate in, one recent theory has popped up — that it could be inspired by the seminal DC series DC: The New Frontier. At the moment, this has not been confirmed, outside of Gunn sharing a photo of New Frontier from comedian Paul Scheer on his Instagram stories. So, if DC Studios’ DCU is somewhat inspired by New Frontier — what could that possibly look like?

What is New Frontier about?

Published in 2004, New Frontier is a story technically existing on the outskirts of DC continuity (it was later established within the DC Multiverse as Earth-21). Written, drawn, and lettered by Darwyn Cooke, with colors by Dave Stewart, the series is set from 1945 and 1960, and follows a number of characters through the decline of the Golden Age of Comics and the subsequent rise of the Silver Age of Comics. Across the story, key moments happen — Hal Jordan gets inducted into the Green Lantern Corps while fighting in the Korean War, Martian Manhunter crash-lands onto Earth and begins shapeshifting as humans, and a number of heroes wrestle with the ongoing threat of McCarthyism.

Ultimately, the ensemble of characters join forces to fight The Centre, a primordial being that threatens all of mankind, and are inspired to form the Justice League.

How could the DCU be inspired by New Frontier?

For starters, the DCU’s connections to New Frontier could stem from Chapter One’s very subtitle — while many had associated it with the 2015 animated movie Justice League: Gods and Monsters, “Gods and Monsters” also happens to be one of New Frontier‘s chapter titles. There’s also the very small details that Gunn teased about HBO Max’s Lanterns — particularly, that its protagonists, Hal Jordan and John Stewart, will be uncovering an “ancient horror” on Earth that will dovetail into the rest of the franchise’s narrative. It’s easy to imagine that ancient horror being The Centre, something that the Lanterns have ties to in the comics, but could still surprise viewers in its execution.

Outside of Lanterns, there are other instances where the events of New Frontier could hypothetically be integrated into. Maybe the Paradise Lost prequel series partially concerns the Amazons locking The Centre behind Doom’s Doorway, like they did in the comics. Maybe the Creature Commandos animated series, which is supposedly “too expensive” to execute in live-action, sees the team filling the role of The Losers in New Frontier and travel to Dinosaur Island. While the DCU’s plans obviously wouldn’t adapt New Frontier to a tee, the ultimately culmination of the Justice League against The Centre could be a compelling way to reintroduce the team.

And at the end of the day, New Frontier would be a perfect inspiration for the DCU on a tonal and subtextual level. Cooke’s original book, at its core, was about exploring the DC Universe’s shift from the gritty and paranoid into something hopeful — and it’s no secret that the big-screen DC franchise has been struggling with that dichotomy for most of the past decade. Regardless of whatever Gunn and Safran’s eight to ten year plans for the DCU ultimately hold, it would definitely be epic to see shades of New Frontier within that.


Do you think DC Studios’ DCU slate could be inspired by New Frontier? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!