James Gunn to direct Superman: Legacy

James Gunn put to rest months of speculation about the director of the next Superman movie. The new DC Studios head confirmed that he would direct the upcoming Superman: Legacy title. Gunn previously announced that he would write the screenplay too. The movie marks the start the new era of the DC cinematic universe. 

What is Superman: Legacy?

Gunn has called the movie “the true beginning of the DCU.” Details have been thin, but a recent press release from the studio has some interesting tidbits. According to the press release, Superman: Legacy is about Superman/Clark trying to make sense of the two parts that make him whole – “his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing.

There have been hints that All-Star Superman is Gunn’s key inspiration for the movie. The comic, which ran from 2005-2008, features the writing and art of Grant MorrisonFrank Quitely, and Jamie Grant. Gunn even used the cover of All-Star Superman #1 to promote the movie to fans on Twitter.

All-Star Superman #1 has been used as source material by DC movies in the past. Man of Steel, the Zack Snyder movie with Cavill in the title role, had a monologue by Russell Crowe’s Jor-El that was very similar to what appeared in the comic. Jor-El’s monologue was even used in the trailers to promote the flick.

Gunn took to Twitter to say that he’d been offered Superman before but never had a “way in that felt unique and fun and emotional that gave Superman the dignity he deserved.” That changed, as did Gunn’s desire to spend the time and emotional energy necessary to direct it.

Gunn and Safran make moves as the new heads of DC

In November of 2022, James Gunn and Peter Safran became the head of DC Studios. The move is WBD’s answer to Marvel and the MCU. Two experienced heads will help them chart a unified course forward. It’s especially important given DC’s rocky box office run as of late. Peacemaker, the hit show from HBO Max that Gunn both wrote and directed, was one of the critical bright spots for the DCEU. The Batman franchise, envisioned by Matt Reeves and starring Robert Pattinson, fits that bill too. In announcing his plans for the studios, Gunn has made clear that Superman, the marquee superhero of the DC brand, was a huge priority to him. The

Who will play Superman?

Henry Cavill has portrayed the film version of the displaced Kryptonian since 2013. The actor’s social media made it seem like he’d pick up the cape again for the Gunn-Safran DC universe. Cavill’s departure from the high-profile The Witcher Netflix series magnified that talk.  

In September of 2022, the British actor posted a message to Instagram saying that he was back as Superman and that his role in Black Adam was a “very small taste of things to come.” However, the return was short-lived because, in December, Cavill released a statement with the sad news that he wouldn’t be continuing with the role in the new universe. According to the post, “the changing of the guard is something that happens.”

Gunn faced criticism for the apparent about-face, but he would later tell The Hollywood Reporter that he never fired Cavill because he had never been cast in the first place. That makes sense, considering Cavill’s statements about resuming the role came before Gunn was officially on board with Warner Brothers Discovery.

If not Cavill isn’t Superman, then who is?

Since the Cavill news, there’s been no announcement about who will play the lead role. However, there has been plenty of speculation, with names like Jacob Elordi and Austin Butler rumored. More details will emerge as the movie progresses in preproduction and closer to filming.

Gunn said the script must be finished before casting the lead role. In his tweets announcing that he would direct Superman: Legacy, Gunn mentioned that the script was done. We’ll have to wait and see for more updates.

How and when to watch the movie

Superman: Legacy is scheduled to be release in theaters on July 11, 2025. Interestingly, the date has a highly personal connection to director and writer James Gunn. The movie releases on Gunn’s late father’s birthday.

As evident by the date, we’re still far from getting fresh James Gunn DC content. Movie magic takes time to brew. We’re still in the tail end of releases greenlit by the previous DC folks, including this weekend’s Shazam: Fury of the Gods sequel and the upcoming The Flash movie. But you can watch Gunn’s upcoming and final Marvel movie, Guardians of the Galaxy 3, when it comes out on May 5, 2023, in the meanwhile.

Source: WBD Press Release at Business Wire