James Gunn to direct 'Superman: Legacy,' aiming for 2025

Writer-director James Gunn, appears at the premiere of "The Suicide Squad," in Los Angeles on Aug. 2, 2021, left, and producer Peter Safran appears at the premiere of "The Conjuring" in Los Angeles on July 15, 2013. Gunn and Safran, co-chairmen and CEOs of DC Studios, announced today that Gunn, who penned the screenplay "Superman: Legacy" will also direct the hugely anticipated film, with Safran producing. (AP Photo) (Uncredited, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

James Gunn is directing a Superman film.

“Superman: Legacy,” which Gunn also wrote, is also set for a July 11, 2025, he and his co-chair and fellow CEO of DC Studios Peter Safran announced Wednesday.

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The film, Gunn said, deals with the superhero's journey to make sense of both his aristocratic Kryptonian heritage and his small town, midwestern upbringing as Clark Kent.

The legacy of Superman has been somewhat fraught recently. In October, Henry Cavill announced that he would be returning to the role starting with a cameo in “Black Adam." Two months later, though, Cavill was back on social media with the news that he was out.

“This news isn’t the easiest, but that’s life,” Cavill wrote. “The changing of the guard is something that happens. I respect that. James and Peter have a universe to build.”

Gunn and Safran were announced as the new DC leaders just a few days after “Black Adam” opened in October, replacing Walter Hamada, who had headed DC Films for four years. And Cavill as Superman was one of the casualties of the new guard.

“It has been a long road to this point,” Gunn wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “I was offered Superman years ago - 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. ... Then a bit less than a year ago I saw a way in.”

Gunn also said the release date is the same as his late father's birthday.

“He was my best friend,” Gunn wrote. “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.”

Gunn has for several years been the rare director to bounce between both DC and Marvel films. He first came to DC after directing Marvel’s well-regarded “Guardians of the Galaxy” films. When the Walt Disney Co. temporarily dropped Gunn over old tweets that joked about rape and pedophilia, he jumped to DC and made the supervillain film “The Suicide Squad,” a kind of blockbuster do-over that followed David Ayer’s much-maligned “Suicide Squad.”

He and the veteran producer Safran came aboard with several upcoming DC films already on their way to theaters, including “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” (March 17), “The Flash” (out June 16) and “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” (Dec. 25). And he still has “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" coming on May 5.

“Superman: Legacy” will be the first film in the new iteration of the connected DC Universe, followed by Matt Reeves’ “The Batman Part II,” which is set for an Oct. 2025 launch. That film, like Todd Phillips' “Joker” sequel coming in 2024, will lie outside of the DCU.

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