After benching Henry Cavill, James Gunn will direct new DC film, ‘Superman Legacy’

A man with white hair and a white beard smiling in glasses and a blue suit
James Gunn attends the 2021 premiere of “The Suicide Squad” in Los Angeles.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision/Associated Press)
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New DC boss James Gunn is set to direct the forthcoming movie “Superman Legacy,” Warner Bros. Pictures confirmed Wednesday. The announcement comes months after DC co-heads Gunn and Peter Safran made the controversial decision to recast the superhero previously portrayed by Henry Cavill.

Coming to theaters July 11, 2025, “Superman Legacy” will serve as the flagship film for Gunn and Safran’s reimagined DC Extended Universe. Safran is producing and Gunn wrote the screenplay for the project, billed as “Superman’s journey to reconcile his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing as Clark Kent of Smallville, Kansas.”

In December, Cavill informed fans that he would “not be returning as Superman” after all, despite announcing he would reprise the role at the studio’s behest shortly before Gunn and Safran took over. The 39-year-old actor has played the movies’ Clark Kent in the DCEU since 2013.


The ongoing creative overhaul at Warner Bros. Discovery and DC Studios has claimed another victim: Henry Cavill as Superman.

Dec. 15, 2022

Amid widespread criticism from fans, Gunn explained via Twitter that the incoming era of DC would explore the “earlier part of Superman’s life” and therefore require an actor younger than Cavill. He added, however, that the studio execs and Cavill have discussed “a number of exciting possibilities to work together” eventually.

Recasting Superman was one of several major changes Gunn and Safran made to the DCEU upon their highly publicized appointment. The pair also benched Dwayne Johnson‘s Black Adam for the foreseeable future and scrapped a third “Wonder Woman” installment starring Gal Gadot and directed by Patty Jenkins.

“Disrespectful outcry will never, ever affect our actions,” Gunn said last year in a statement responding to the fan backlash.

“We were aware there would be a period of turbulence when we took this gig, & we knew we would sometimes have to make difficult & not-so-obvious choices, especially in the wake of the fractious nature of what came before us. But this means little to us in comparison to our jobs as artists & custodians in helping to create a wide & wonderful future for DC.”

“Superman Legacy” will lead Gunn and Safran’s highly anticipated film slate, followed by Matt Reeves’ “The Batman Part II,” which is scheduled to open Oct. 3, 2025. The creative duo’s first chapter of DC content is titled “Gods and Monsters.”

‘Perhaps these choices are great, perhaps not, but they are made with sincere hearts & integrity,’ DC Studios head James Gunn said in a statement.

Dec. 20, 2022