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DCU: 11 Actors From the DCEU That Should Continue Into James Gunn's New Universe

MovieWeb 3/31/2023 Kyle Kruske
© Provided by MovieWeb

With the recent release of Shazam! Fury of the Gods, we have officially entered the awkward transitional phase between the end of the DCEU and the beginning of the new DCU, under the leadership of James Gunn and Peter Safran. In a surprise to some, the approach that Gunn and Safran are taking to their new DC universe is not a complete reboot, but rather a soft reboot of sorts. The existing world of DC films will be largely reset, with a few actors carrying over in their same roles, while most others are recast. So far, it seems like it’s mainly the core actors from the DCEU and Snyderverse that are not sticking around. Henry Cavill will not return as Superman in Gunn’s Superman: Legacy, Ben Affleck will be recast as Batman (again) for The Brave and the Bold, and it seems likely that Gal Gadot’s time as Wonder Woman will also be coming to a close.

However, there are some major names that are carrying over from the old DC universe into the newest rendition. Viola Davis will not only be returning as Amanda Waller, but she’s even getting her own standalone series, titled Waller. That series will also see some additional cast from The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker returning as well, presumably Steve Agee and Jennifer Holland at the very least. While there haven’t been any other specific actors that are confirmed to return, Gunn has stated on several occasions that he’s open to having other DCEU cast members transition into the DCU as well. With that in mind, here are 11 actors from the DCEU that we’re hoping will make the jump into the new DCU.

J.K. Simmons

It’s easy to forget that J.K. Simmons was even in the DC universe, as the part he played was much smaller than it was originally meant to be. Simmons played none other than the classic Batman character Commissioner Gordon. He was only ever featured in one film, which was the Justice League movie that was released in 2017. He didn’t have much to do in that movie, and while he was given a somewhat expanded role in the extended version that was Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Simmons’ casting in the DCEU never really amounted to much. He was set to return in the Batgirl film starring Leslie Grace, but since that movie was canceled, there has been no talk about Simmons' version of Gordon. We would love to see him come back to play an adjusted version of the character in the newest Batman adventure, The Brave and the Bold.

Jason Momoa

Of all the actors from the DCEU, Jason Momoa seems to be in the best position to transition into the new DCU. His version of Aquaman is one of the most well-received and successful aspects of the DCEU, with his first standalone movie being the only film in the franchise to make more than a billion dollars at the box office. With the sequel, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, set for release later this year, Momoa is primed for a grand reintroduction as the character. He has been very open about his conversations with Gunn and seems genuinely excited about his future with DC. There has been a rumor circulating that Momoa will step away from the Aquaman role in order to play Lobo in the new DCU. While that would be cool to see, we love his take on Aquaman too much to let him go that easy.

Robin Wright

While it’s unlikely that Gadot’s Wonder Woman will return, as Gunn and Safran are probably looking to cast their own version of DC’s iconic trinity, that doesn’t mean the supporting cast from the Wonder Woman films is off the table. Specifically, we would love to see Robin Wright return to the role of Antiope. Wright was one of the standouts from the first Wonder Woman movie, and there’s a lot more to delve into with her character than what audiences got in the DCEU. Considering Gunn and Safran are producing a Themyscira-based series, titled Paradise Lost, that will explore Wonder Woman’s home, this is the perfect opportunity to bring Wright back. The series is pitched as a Game of Thrones-style series full of political intrigue. Considering the incredible work Wright did leading House of Cards, she would be perfect for Paradise Lost.

Related: DCU's Paradise Lost: Why a Wonder Woman Prequel Series Is Perfect for the New DCU

John Cena

John Cena is one actor who is almost certainly going to return to his role in the new DCU. Cena played the character of Peacemaker in both The Suicide Squad and the Peacemaker spin-off show that hit HBO Max last year. A second season of Peacemaker was given the green light a long while ago, but it seems the show has been delayed as Gunn is more focused on establishing the broader foundation for the DCU. When asked about the series on Twitter, Gunn replied that Peacemaker was “just postponed while I work on [Superman: Legacy]. Waller first. [Peacemaker] after.” It would be an out-of-nowhere choice to recast Cena, especially considering Davis, who appeared alongside him in both previous projects, is already confirmed to return. It might be a while before we see Cena’s Peacemaker again, but we can rest easy knowing that he will be back.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

Another actor from the Aquaman series that we’d love to see return in the DCU is Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta. He played a key role in the 2018 Aquaman film, and he is set to return for an even bigger part in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Abdul-Mateen is one of the most talented actors that was featured in the DCEU, and it would be a shame for him not to continue. Assuming The Lost Kingdom is a success, it’d be crazy not to bring him back for more. The Aquaman series has existed pretty independently of the rest of the DC films, so it wouldn’t be all that difficult to adjust this version of Black Manta to fit the new DCU.

Zachary Levi

As the lead of the Shazam! films, Zachary Levi has done an excellent job carrying that series. Across both movies, he has been immensely charismatic and likable in the role. The Shazam! movies in general have their own unique flair that has separated them from the rest of DC’s films, and we hope that the entire creative team makes the jump into the DCU. Of all the characters in the DCEU, Levi’s Shazam also has the added advantage that both his films were produced by Safran and the actor himself is good friends with Gunn. So, things seem to be looking good for Levi’s return as Shazam. We’ll just keep our fingers crossed that Fury of the Gods’ box office is strong enough to warrant a return.

Related: Zachary Levi Hopes to Continue in the DC Universe

Jurnee Smollett

The 2020 Birds of Prey film is one of the most underrated films to come from the DCEU franchise, as much of its impact upon release was undercut by the Covid-19 pandemic, which shut down the world only a few weeks after the movie opened. The entire cast of that film was great, and while we’d love to see most of them return, Jurnee Smollett especially deserves another opportunity to play Black Canary. Smollettt is a phenomenal actor, and she really stole the show in just about every scene she was in from Birds of Prey. She was supposed to receive her own standalone spin-off movie on HBO Max, but that movie has joined the long line of canceled DC movies from over the years. We really hope Smollett’s role in Birds of Prey doesn’t end up being a one-off, as she’s too good a fit for the role to move on from her so quickly.

Idris Elba

Idris Elba is another actor that, on paper, looks to be in a good position to reprise his role in the DCU. He played the character of Bloodsport in The Suicide Squad, arguably the lead role, but there has been very little said about the character in the years since that film’s release. While some of his cast mates went on to be featured in Peacemaker, Elba never did. Because of this, Elba’s future in the role (or lack thereof) is up in the air right now. After Elba was drastically underutilized in the MCU, we would hate for the same thing to happen with his DC character as well. He was one of the best parts of The Suicide Squad, and it’d be great to see him return in Waller or any other new DCU project.

Djimon Hounsou

Djimon Hounsou is an actor that has appeared in just countless major franchises and action films over the years, and yet he has still never really gotten his due. Hounsou is a great actor who is often relegated to small supporting roles. He has actually played two different characters in the DCEU, as he appeared as King Ricou of the Fisherman Kingdom in 2018’s Aquaman as well as The Wizard in both Shazam! films. Considering the role of The Wizard is a much larger part, especially in Fury of the Gods, we believe Hounsou should be brought back to continue playing this role for as long as he wants to. He was really solid in the first movie, but he was even better in the sequel, where he was given much more dialogue and comedic moments. Even if the Shazam! movies don’t end up continuing, we would still love to see Hounsou take on just about any role in the DCU.

Karen Fukuhara

While there weren’t very many redeeming qualities about 2016’s Suicide Squad, there’s no denying the outstanding cast that it assembled. One actor from the film that deserves a lot more love is Karen Fukuhara, who played Katana. While the role was one of the smallest in the movie, and as such Fukuhara wasn’t given much to do, we would love to see her return anyway. Suicide Squad was her debut film, and in the years since she has really proven herself to be quite talented. She’s most well-known, at this point, for playing the role of Kimiko in Prime Video’s The Boys. Since both she and the character of Katana were so underutilized in Suicide Squad, we think it’s time to bring Fukuhara back and really give her a chance to shine in the role.

Margot Robbie

Finally, how could you bring back so many cast members from Suicide Squad, Birds of Prey and The Suicide Squad without also bringing back Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn? Robbie’s Quinn is one of the few DCEU characters that has always worked, even if the films she was in weren’t the best. People love her in this role, and she’s proven to have a really solid grasp of the character and what makes her tick. It’s a shame that Robbie has played Quinn for nearly ten years now, and she has yet to have any genuine crossover with Batman outside one short bit in Suicide Squad. Let’s change that by bringing her into The Brave and the Bold.

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