Perhaps to the surprise of no one, James Gunn is going to direct the new Superman movie being written and produced by James Gunn. We first learned that Gunn was working on a script for a new Superman movie back in December, when we also learned that Henry Cavill was, in fact, done as the Man of Steel.
This new Superman movie is supposedly going to be a younger take on Clark Kent as a fresh-faced, cub reporter at The Daily Planet. We now also know the movie is titled Superman: Legacy and will explore the tension between Clark Kent’s humble Kansas roots on Earth, and aristocratic, er, legacy from Krypton. That’s kind of what Zack Snyder was doing in Man of Steel, where salt-of-the-earth Jonathan Kent didn’t want Clark to stand out, and dead daddy Jor-El wanted Kal-El to be a god to humans. Is James Gunn writing Man of Steel fanfic?
I’m terribly curious to see how Gunn balances directing a film—a task which requires intense attention for an average of two years, minimum—and running a studio. Granted, he has a co-president at DC Studios in Peter Safran, but one of the big reasons Marvel has struggled over the last few years is that Kevin Feige’s attention has been pulled in so many directions, he’s spread too thin, despite having a co-president of his own (Louis D’Esposito), and he’s not even directing anything.
Superman: Legacy is expected in July 2025. Before then, DC still has to get through several films, including Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and Shazam!: Fury of the Gods, which opens this weekend. Despite a huge press push, including Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren front and center, Shazam! is tracking with a soft $35 million opening weekend. There is palpable entropy consuming the remaining DC films before the new, Safran-Gunn vision kicks in—the only film that stands a chance of separating itself from the pack is The Flash, and you have to wonder what the energy for superhero movies will even be by 2025. Two years isn’t THAT far away, but I cannot shake the feeling that audiences are finally getting restless for something new at the cinema. There will always be interest in a malleable character like Batman, but Superman has been a hard sell since the Seventies. Can James Gunn and his fanfic-sounding film change that?
Here is James Gunn at the Shazam!: Fury of the Gods premiere the other night, and Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren trying to get people to care about Shazam! yesterday in New York.