It’s official: James Gunn is directing a new Superman movie. Gunn first teased the idea in January when he finally unveiled the much-anticipated plans for the new DC film universe he and his fellow DC co-chair Peter Safran have been helming since late 2022. One of the most attention-grabbing titles on the slate was Superman: Legacy, a reboot for the Man of Steel that Gunn wrote, which he and Safran have slated as the official start of their new era. Today via his Twitter Gunn confirmed he’ll direct as well.
Gunn revealed in a Twitter thread that he passed on the opportunity to spearhead a Superman project in the past because he “didn’t have a way in that felt unique and fun and emotional that gave Superman the dignity he deserved,” but has since come up with an exciting idea around the character’s dual Kryptonian and Middle American heritages and how they inform the character.
In that same series of tweets, Gunn also shared the personal significance of the film’s planned July 11 release date. “My brother Matt told me when he saw the release date he started to cry. He said, ‘Dude, it’s Dad’s birthday,’” Gunn wrote. “I lost my Dad almost three years ago. He was my best friend. He didn’t understand me as a kid, but he supported my love of comics and my love of film and I wouldn’t be making this movie now without him.”
Superman: Legacy will be the lynchpin of Gun and Safran’s multi-platform universe that they’re referring to as “Chapter One: Gods and Monsters.” Though the Superman character is one of the most ubiquitous in comic book history, there have been struggles to make the hero resonate on screen. The last solo Superman film was Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, released ten years ago this June, with Henry Cavill in the red and blue suit. Cavill reprised the role in the two ensemble outings that followed, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League which were met with enough critical derision and diminishing box office returns to derail Snyder’s vision and create the vacuum for Gunn and Safran to fill.
Despite The Rock’s attempts to maneuver his friend Cavill back into the DC fold via Black Adam, Gunn is starting from scratch, opting to focus on a younger version of Supes. (Although, blessedly, it won’t be another origin story.) In describing Superman as “the embodiment of truth, justice and the American way. He is kindness in a world that thinks that kindness as old-fashioned,” Gunn has implied his take on the character will hew closer to the traditional depiction instead of Snyder’s moodier, more angst-ridden version.
Even beyond his duties with DC, Gunn’s future docket is quite full. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, presumably Gunn’s final project with Marvel, is due out on May 5, and he is also working on Coyote vs. Acme as a screenwriter and producer. DC has several projects due out in 2023 that were completed before Gunn came on board, including Shazam! Fury of the Gods, The Flash, Blue Beetle, and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.