DC is in the midst of a makeover. DC Studios has new leadership in James Gunn and Peter Safran, and they're planning on shaking things up for the brand. This is good news for DC fans - Gunn is known for his creativity and willingness to take risks, both of which are sorely needed in the DCU. While Gunn gets to work on his vision for the future of DC, it looks like everyone else wants a say in what that future should be.
James Gunn's Star Wars influence
While the logical association to make for the future of the DCU is Marvel, especially since Gunn has produced several titles for the MCU, namely the Guardians of the Galaxy series, he says that is not it. Specifically, all content, from movies to TV shows to video games, will be connected going forward. This is an approach that differs a bit from Marvel for a couple of reasons.
First, Marvel does not own the rights to produce media content for all of its own properties. Sony still holds the rights to some characters, while Paramount has some as well. That means that, for stories to be told of those characters within the MCU, they need Sony's or Paramount's permission. Most famously, this includes Spider-Man, which was originally not included in the MCU until the most recent incarnation.
Secondly, Marvel does not always want everything connected. There have been shows that have drifted in and out of official MCU positioning. For example, at differing times, Marvel's position on Agents of SHIELD has changed. Whether it is MCU canon or not is seemingly nebulous.
Instead, he is taking his inspiration from Star Wars. Everything in that universe, or should I say galaxy far, far away, exists in a single continuum. Nothing produced by Lucasfilm or Disney bearing the name is disconnected from one another - everything is canon. That is how we should expect the DCU to act going forward.
The other influences
In addition, the members of the DCU, past, present, and future, want to have a say in how their characters are treated in the future. For example, Asher Angel, who plays Shazam, wants his character to interact with others in the DCU. This was a hallmark of DC comics, with heroes like Shazam interacting with Batman and Superman regularly.
DC's movies also need to be box-office successes. DC's recent success is attributed largely to Aquaman, which became one of DC's highest-grossing films. DC fans are eager to see the same level of quality in future productions as well. Gunn has said that he wants to make sure DC continues its successes by crafting high-quality stories that connect to the main DCU narrative.
The direction DC takes from here on out will no doubt be heavily molded by James Gunn, but everyone from cast members to executives have a stake in this new DCU going forward. We can expect plenty of changes and surprises, but one thing is for sure - DC is in for an exciting time.