James Gunn's Superman Is A 'Big Galoot' With One Major Weakness: 'He Doesn't Want To Hurt A Living Soul'

James Gunn and Peter Safran's long-awaited announcement regarding the future of DC Studios and its universe of films is finally here. Thankfully, it didn't disappoint. The co-chairs and co-CEOs of DC Studios seem to truly understand the woes that plagued the DC Extended Universe in the past and are looking to amend those mistakes with their new lineup. Aside from television projects such as "Creature Commandos" and "Waller," the first major film project of the newly minted DCU will be "Superman: Legacy." The previous attempt to bring Superman to modern audiences was 2013's "Man of Steel," Zack Snyder's first film in the defunct DCEU, and his first in a trilogy that included "Batman v Superman" and "Justice League."

However, there was a mixed reception to Snyder's Superman. The chaotic and violent nature of the third act of "Man of Steel" made some concerned about the direction Snyder was taking the character. The final straw that broke the proverbial camel's back was Superman killing Zod, in a scene that seemingly broke down everything Superman stood for in the comics. Now, with Cavill out of the picture and a younger Superman in mind for Gunn and Safran's DC blueprint, the direction that they plan on going for the character is seemingly the antithesis of the previous iteration and more in line with what makes Superman great.

Telling a more complex story

In a press conference attended by /Film's Jenna Busch, James Gunn revealed intriguing details about the upcoming Superman film, which Gunn called the "first big project" and the "launch" of the new DC Universe that's "connected and consistent." As mentioned previously, the film's tentative title is "Superman: Legacy." If you're curious about that subtitle, Safran was quick to explain the premise of the film, stating:

"It's not an origin story. It focuses on Superman balancing his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing. Superman represents truth, justice, and the American way. He is kindness in a world that thinks of kindness as old-fashioned."

As for who would be directing, Safran would also say they're "certainly hoping that [James Gunn] will direct" the upcoming film. Aside from dealing with his legacy, Gunn's Superman will also struggle with being a decent person in a cynical world. However, don't expect a morally black-and-white struggle. James Gunn hopes to bring more complicated stories to the DCU that go beyond the typical battle of good and evil thanks to the wealth of characters at their disposal, "Superman: Legacy" included:

"We want to take it away from 'good guy versus bad guy.' There are almost saintly people [in the DC Universe]; Superman is among them. There are really terrible villains like Gorilla Grodd or Joker. And then there is everybody in-between, so there are all these shades of gray of these different character types which allow us to tell more complex stories."

The 'innate goodness' of Superman

With "Superman: Legacy," James Gunn hopes to create a wholesome version of the character reminiscent of some of the more well-known comics, which feature Clark Kent as incorruptible and good. It's something that Gunn even hopes to reflect in the film's inevitable MPAA rating, as he says, "Superman is definitely something that we would like to be PG-13; I'm going to make sure that it is." More than that, though, it's the concept of the character that excites Gunn and how Superman's inclination to save lives and not take them that will lead to an exciting film:

"I really love the idea of Superman. He's a big ol' galoot. He's a farmboy from Kansas who's very idealistic. His greatest weakness is that he'll never kill anybody. He doesn't want to hurt a living soul. I like that sort of innate goodness about Superman; it's his defining characteristic. He's not "All-Star Superman," but again, I'm a huge fan of "All-Star Superman," and I'm very inspired by [that series]."

Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's "All-Star Superman" is a celebration of the last son of Krypton, albeit in his final days before he "dies," so it makes sense that Gunn would say the upcoming film is not directly adapting the comic. Instead, it's how the book balances the incredible strength and morality of the character that Gunn wants to evoke with the film. Judging by Gunn and Safran's comments, Superman may finally be getting the cinematic treatment he rightfully deserves.

"Superman: Legacy" is slated for release on July 11, 2025