James Gunn is making his first big move at DC and will be writing a Superman movie.
The project will focus on the hero’s younger years, so he’ll be played by a new actor instead of Superman veteran Henry Cavill. Gunn and his DC Studios co-chairman and co-CEO Peter Safran recently met with Cavill to share the news and discuss ideas for possible collaboration in the future on something else, perhaps a different role.
At this stage, Gunn is only writing the script, though he could potentially direct depending on where his services are needed at DC Studios, according to insiders.
“Peter and I have a DC slate ready to go, which we couldn’t be happier with; we will be able to share interesting information about our first projects at the beginning of the new year,” Gunn wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “Among those on the slate is Superman. In the early stages, our story focuses on an earlier part of Superman’s life, so the character isn’t played by Henry Cavill. But we just had a great meeting with Henry and we’re big fans and we talked about some exciting opportunities to work together in the future.”
While this Superman will be on the younger side, he won’t live in Smallville, but he will Daily planet reporter Clark Kent, according to insiders.
The news may come as a surprise to fans who expected Cavill to return as Superman in the near future. Cavill appeared in a series of post-credits in Black Adam, released in October, and the Monday after the movie opened, posted a message to Instagram announcing he was back as Superman. According to sources, that Instagram post was sanctioned by Warner’s buyer, before Gunn and Safran were hired, hence the change in plans.
Cavill, who announced his departure from the Netflix series The witcher after returning as Superman, he reflected on the change in an Instagram post, writing, “After all, I won’t be returning as Superman. After being told by the studio to announce my return in October, prior to [Gunn and Safran’s] renting, this news is not the easiest but such is life. The changing of the guard is something that happens. I respect that. James and Peter must build a universe. I wish them and all involved in the new universe good luck and the happiest of luck.”
In his nearly decade since he first played Superman, Cavill has become a fan-favorite actor, first appearing in 2013’s Man of Steeland reprise the role in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Justice League (2017).
Since assuming their new roles on November 1, Gunn and Safran have had encounters with other key players in the DC Universe. In addition to Cavill, they recently met with Batman actor Ben Affleck to discuss the possibility of him directing for them in the future, according to sources familiar with the conversation. There’s no deal for him to lead a DC feature at this stage. They also had conversations with filmmaker Patty Jenkins, who won’t be moving forward with a third Wonderwoman movie.
Warners has also been developing a Black superman movie written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and produced by JJ Abrams, and Gunn’s new movie wouldn’t affect that project as Coates is still working on the script.
Warners had long wanted Gunn to make a Superman movie. In 2018, after Gunn left Marvel Studios for DC when he was temporarily laid off Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, then-Warners studio boss Toby Emmerich pushed for Gunn to face Superman. Gunn chose to write and direct The suicide squad instead of. That movie also paved the way for Peacekeeperthe HBO Max spin-off starring John Cena, and gave Gunn a taste of worldbuilding in the DC Universe.
Still, Superman has long been a favorite of Gunn, who’s been thinking about this new movie since his early days at DC four years ago. Over the weekend, Gunn celebrated the anniversary of Richard Donner’s 1978 film, share the poster and reminiscing about seeing it in Missouri theaters as a kid. Wrote the filmmaker and exec: “I loved it and it rivaled Star Wars for me. And the score blew my mind.”