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James Gunn's Superman Release Date, Cast, Director, And More Details

DC Comics has been competing with Marvel Comics for nearly a century. When they started translating comic book stories to the cineplex, DC shot out in front by putting Christopher Reeve as Superman and Michael Keaton as Batman on the silver screen. Recently, however, Marvel has become the one to beat with their massive Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now DC looks to reclaim its place as the number one box-office winner with its reboot of the Big Blue Boy Scout in the upcoming "Superman."

Like many high-profile projects, much of the information surrounding this new iteration of one of the world's most recognizable superheroes is being kept under wraps. However, we do know some things, like casting details, plot elements, and the simple but hugely impactful fact that Warner Bros. has tapped comic book film veteran James Gunn and bigwig Peter Safran to head up a new slate of films. From casting to source material, we've got all the info you need on "Superman."

When will Superman be released?

When James Gunn first announced his plans for the DC Universe reboot, he revealed that his version of Superman would hit theaters on July 11, 2025. It was also originally titled "Superman: Legacy," but Gunn dropped the latter part in February 2024, saying on Instagram, "When I finished the first draft of the script, I called the film 'Superman: Legacy.' By the time I locked the final draft, it was clear the title was 'SUPERMAN.'"

By putting the film in the slot following the biggest summer holiday weekend, Warner Bros. Discovery is betting big on their launch of the Gunniverse. It will contend with some major films throughout the always-overpacked summer blockbuster slate. Particularly, the DC tentpole will be sharing theater space with the most anticipated Marvel movie in years: "The Fantastic Four." The exploits of Reed Richards, Sue and Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm will play out on July 25, just a few days after "Superman" soars into theaters. It will be interesting to see what happens when the Man of Steel battles the First Family for box office dollars and critical praise. In this battle between the DCU and the MCU, we all win. 

What is the plot of James Gunn's Superman?

As James Gunn has revealed, "Superman" will follow a 30-year-old Clark who's working as a Daily Planet reporter. That's right: This will not be an origin story in any way. It will, however, be about Superman's most iconic traits, especially the character's core compassion. "Superman represents truth, justice, and the American way. He is kindness in a world that thinks of kindness as old-fashioned," Safran remarked at a January 2023 press conference(via Yahoo). Lois Lane's virtues seem likely to play a major role as well. Phoebe Dynevor, who was a finalist for the role, told Variety, "She saves Superman. She's the brains; she's actually the fearless one." Lois actor Rachel Brosnahan elaborated on this to Entertainment Tonight, remarking that her take on the character will be "feisty, marvelous, and fiercely intelligent." 

The film will feature a vibrant ensemble cast including Metamorpho and Guy Gardner, making it a pan-DC affair. It will also be funny; as Brosnahan put it, "I think this Superman will have a sense of humor." Intriguingly, the movie might also tackle Superman's invulnerability in potent ways. In conversation with Entertainment Weekly, star David Corenswet noted, "The cool thing about Superman is the thing that everybody says is the problem with the character, which is that he's invincible. That's the most interesting thing abut him. What a difficult position for a person to be in. There's so much to be mined there, and deal with the drama that's inherent in somebody who doesn't have any problems and can't die." We couldn't agree more.

Who is starring in Superman?

There's a recipe for making a good Superman movie, and the most important ingredient is the casting of Clark Kent, aka Superman. David Corenswet, best known for "The Politician" and "Pearl," will play the iconic role. Lois Lane — nearly as important to any Superman production as Superman himself — will be played by Rachel Brosnahan of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" fame. And the Man of Steel's archenemy, Lex Luthor, will be portrayed by Nicholas Hoult of "The Menu" and "The Great."

Rounding out the Superman regulars, Skyler Gisondo ("The Righteous Gemstones) will play Daily Planet photographer Jimmy Olsen, Wendell Pierce ("The Wire") will appear as Daily Planet editor-in-chief Perry White, while model Sara Sampaio will portray Lex Luthor's right-hand woman Eve Teschmacher. "Superman" will also feature a list of other DC heroes. Isabela Merced ("Dora and the Lost City of Gold") has inked a contract to portray Hawkgirl, an Egyptian warrior who's been reincarnated over the centuries. Edi Gathegi ("For All Mankind") will suit up as brilliant inventor Mister Terrific. Nathan Fillion ("Firefly") will bring Guy Gardner, one of the few human Green Lanterns, to life. Anthony Carrigan ("Barry") has signed on to play Rex Mason, aka Metamorpho. Over on the bad guys' team, Maria Gabriela de Faria ("The Moodys") will portray Angela Spica, aka the Engineer.

Granted, some fans have expressed concern about this wide-ranging cast. One went so far as to ask James Gunn on Threads if he thought there'd be time for Superman himself in such a crowded field. Gunn responded succinctly, "I don't understand this fear. There are less characters than in '40-Year-Old Virgin.' Did you think Steve Carell got enough time?"

Who is directing and writing Superman?

If you're spearheading a new cinematic universe, taking the reins of the flagship film makes sense. This is exactly what James Gunn decided to do when he took on writing and directing duties for "Superman." He confirmed on X (formerly known as Twitter) that he would be taking the helm, writing, "Yes, I'm directing 'Superman' ... to be released on July 11, 2025." In theory, this gives him total control over the franchise's direction moving forward.

In that same post, Gunn revealed the release date's special sentiment. "My brother Matt told me when he saw the release date he started to cry," Gunn said. "I asked him why. He said, 'Dude, it's Dad's birthday.' I hadn't realized." He went on to talk about losing his father a few years prior, and how his paternal support has influenced the script. 

Taking on dual duties isn't easy. "It has been a long road to this point," Gunn remarked. "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." But in time, he found a way to deliver. Gunn is poised to bring whole new life to this beloved character, and fans couldn't be more excited.

Who is producing Superman?

With the departure of Walter Hamada, Warner Bros. needed to find a new producer to oversee their DC properties. The studio ultimately decided to pair James Gunn with Peter Safran. Safran is anything but a rookie; he has a long list of properties under his belt, which give him valuable experience in building a universe.

Safran came to WB with ownership credentials from his own production outfit, The Safran Company. He's teamed up with James Wan to bring "The Conjuring" franchise to the screen, which has become one of the most successful horror movie franchises of all time. Safran and Wan have gone on to work together in the DC Universe with their Jason Momoa-led "Aquaman" films. Safran also served as a producer on both "Shazam" films and "Blue Beetle."

Safran is no stranger to working with Gunn, as he collaborated with the writer and director on DC series "Peacemaker." His return to both Gunn and the DC universe promises to be fruitful.

Is James Gunn's Superman based on a comic?

James Gunn isn't the type to make a movie that simply adapts a singular comic book. However, his work on "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "The Suicide Squad" shows he knows how to capture these characters' classic essences. He does this by pulling inspiration from comics, rather than directly adapting them. In July 2023, the official Superman X (formerly known as Twitter) account offered a peek at three comics that have inspired Gunn's take on Superman: "All-Star Superman," "Superman: Birthright," and "Superman: Brainiac." Gunn has also mentioned "Superman for All Seasons" is a major influence on the movie.

Since Gunn and Safran have revealed they aren't doing an origin story, fans might be wondering how origin-centric stories like "Superman for All Seasons" and "Superman: Birthright," will play into the story's plot. Likely, they will serve as an inspiration for the character's background, provide flashback material, and — perhaps most importantly — set the tone. "Superman for All Seasons," for example, boasts a contemplative mood that highlights Superman's compassion and humanity. This feels very much in line with Gunn's remarks on his movie. 

Is Superman part of a cinematic universe?

Given the struggles that DC has experienced at the cinema, it's no surprise that "Superman" is an attempt at rebooting the franchise. Zack Snyder's DCEU is kaput, and the Gunniverse is set to usher in a new era. This has confused some fans, however — especially in regards to when the new DCU actually starts. Was "Blue Beetle" the kick-off? Well, not exactly. 

In September 2023, Gunn took to Threads to clarify things, writing, "Nothing is canon until 'Creature Commandos' next year — a sort of aperitif to the DCU — & then a deeper dive into the universe with ['Superman'] after that." This lines up with Gunn's original announcement, in which he revealed that his reboot of the Superman character is the first in his new universe and that it will lead into the rest of the projects. He also announced the movies that will follow his introduction, including "The Authority," "The Brave and the Bold," "Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow," and "Swamp Thing." The television series accompanying the films in the franchise include "Creature Commandos," "Waller," "Booster Gold," "Lanterns," and "Paradise Lost."

The placement of "Superman" signals a serious separation from the DCEU, bringing a lighter tone and a more comic-accurate aesthetic than Henry Cavill's portrayal of the character. Notably, while Gunn may be offering a fresh take on the franchise, he is using the same approach as Snyder by kicking things off with the last son of Krypton.