James Gunn to Direct ‘Superman: Legacy’
James Gunn is officially making Superman: Legacy his next directorial vehicle. Gunn has been writing the feature since before he became the co-head of DC Studios in November, and it was widely expected he would direct, though it was unclear given his duties overseeing the expanding DC slate with partner Peter Safran.
Superman: Legacy will be the first big-screen feature of the Gunn-Safran era. Warner Bros. has the project dated for July 11, 2025.
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“It focuses on Superman balancing his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing. He is the embodiment of truth, justice and the American way. He is kindness in a world that thinks that kindness is old-fashioned,” Safran told reporters in late January.
On Wednesday, Gunn explained that he hesitated to take on a Superman movie, even though he was offered the character before ultimately taking on The Suicide Squad for Warners. “I initially said no because I didn’t have a way in that felt unique and fun and emotional that gave Superman the dignity he deserved,” Gunn wrote on Twitter. “Then a bit less than a year ago I saw a way in, in many ways centering around Superman’s heritage – how both his aristocratic Kryptonian parents and his Kansas farmer parents inform who he is and the choices he makes.”
Even after deciding to write, he was hesitant to direct. Explained the filmmaker: “Just because I write something doesn’t mean I feel it in my bones, visually and emotionally, enough to spend over two years directing it, especially not something of this magnitude. But, the long and the short of it is, I love this script, and I’m incredibly excited as we begin this journey.”
Notably, this Superman will not by played by Henry Cavill, the actor who portrayed the superhero in Man of Steel (2013), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Justice League (2017), and who appeared in a cameo in last year’s Black Adam. While Cavill believed he would be wearing the cape for more films, after Gunn and Safran took over DC, it became apparent they would be going in a younger direction for the hero.
Superman: Legacy will mark Gunn’s first time directing an A-list superhero. He made a name for himself taking relatively unknown characters such as Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and turning them into household names. He also elevated D-list DC characters such as Polka-Dot Man and King Shark to big-screen status in The Suicide Squad, to strong reviews.
The feature is one of the projects Gunn and Safran teased as part of what they have dubbed Chapter 1: God and Monsters, which is billed as an overarching story told via different TV shows and films. Other titles include Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow and The Authority. Also on the big screen will be titles that do not fit into their overarching continuity, such as Matt Reeves’ The Batman Part II, due out Oct. 3, 2025.
On Friday, the Safran-produced Shazam! Fury of the Gods arrives in theaters, the first of four DC features out this year that were made before Gunn and Safran took over DC. In addition to his DC duties, Gunn is closing out another chapter of his career, the one that made him a top director nearly a decade ago; his final Marvel Studios film, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, is due out May 5.
For Gunn, who counts Richard Donner’s Superman as a seminal theatrical experience, the release date of Superman: Legacy is significant. “My brother Matt told me when he saw the release date he started to cry,” Gunn wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “I asked him why. He said, ‘Dude, it’s Dad’s birthday.’ I hadn’t realized.” Their father died in two weeks before Gunn began production on The Suicide Squad.
Reflected Gunn: “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.”