Everything We Know

James Gunn's Superman: Release Date, Trailer, Cast & More

We break down everything we know about the first entry in James Gunn's new DC Universe, from the epic cast of characters to what the story will entail and more.

by | May 30, 2024 | Comments

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Superman as drawn by Frank Quitely

(Photo by @frankquitelyofficial via @jamesgunn)

In the mid-1970s, producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind embarked on one of the most ambitious film concepts: a live action film based around DC Comics’ Superman. After a number of false starts and filmmakers like Goldfinger’s Guy Hamilton trying to bring a European sensibility to the proceedings, The Omen’s Richard Donner signed on to direct with two major objectives. The first was to play things absolutely straight so the character felt real. The second, as given to his effects team: make the world believe a man could fly.

Subsequent Superman films have been chasing Donner’s core principles ever since. But as tends to happen with the Man of Steel, victories turn to defeat in the never-ending battle to bring him to the screen — see Donner’s dismissal from Superman II after shooting more than half of it, or the history of Superman Lives in the 1990s. This has been doubly true in the 21st century, where Superman’s status with filmgoers either leads to a reverential attempt to recreate Donner’s film (Superman Returns) or a re-appraisal of what the character is meant to be (Man of Steel). As every director has learned, Superman is not easy. The common understanding is that the truest take on the character is boring to a studio more comfortable with Batman, so the Man of Tomorrow seems stuck in the past.

But in 2025, director James Gunn intends to change that perception with Superman, a film not only primed to give the Metropolis Marvel a new lease on cinematic life, but intended to launch DC Studios’ plans for a new interconnected DC film universe. Will the director, known for long-shots like Guardians of the Galaxy and The Suicide Squad, find a way to make Superman fly into the hearts of theater patrons worldwide? We might be able to get near the answer to that billion-dollar question as we examine everything we know about the new Superman.

No Careless Product Of Wild Imagination

David Corenswet as Superman in an image from James Gunn's Superman (2025)

(Photo by @jamesgunn)

While the exact plot of the film is being held under strict security, Gunn has been forward about a few things. It is not an origin story, so don’t expect to see an extended preamble with Superman’s father, Jor-El, trying to convince his world that it is about to explode, or much of a young Clark Kent growing up in Smallville, Kansas. Instead, the film will center on the early days of Superman in Metropolis, when he is still looking for the right way to use his powers for the good of the Earth and establishing himself as one of the premiere reporters at The Daily Planet. He will also face reconciling his Kryptonian heritage with the life he knows on Earth. And if the first photo of the new Superman is any indication, he will take on an external threat from space.

Also, taking inspiration from more modern DC Comics tales, like Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman, this Man of Steel will enter a world already familiar with costumed characters flying across city skylines and at least one supergroup, the Authority, making people doubt if they even want the heroes around. Will it be Superman’s task to create trust with the populace? Will there finally be a place for his boy scout persona?

Meanwhile, we expect the relationship between Clark and ace reporter Lois Lane to be re-framed once again, like it was in Man of Steel, though it remains to be seen if it will be an instant connection, a slow-build from friendship to lovers, or a reversion to the original dynamic — in which she only has eyes for an in-costume Superman. We also hope she gets to do some investigative reporting of her own along the way.

The Great City Of Metropolis

The city of Metropolis as depicted in Man of Steel (2013)

The city of Metropolis as depicted in Man of Steel (2013) (Photo by ©Warner Bros. Pictures)

Naturally enough, the film will be set in Metropolis as Clark gets his bearings, Superman makes himself known, and others react to the new strangers in town. Of course, the look of Metropolis can vary greatly from project to project. The 1950s Adventures of Superman series used Los Angeles area locations and backlots. Donner’s Superman transposed the city into New York (complete with a Rex Reed cameo and The New York News building doubling for the Planet) while Superman Lives tried for a more stylized approach loosely based on Cleveland, Ohio and Toronto, Ontario, Canada — the hometowns of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

With such varied representations (only the Eastern US seaboard is a constant), Gunn can go for just about any look, from a futuristic city on the go to something stuck in a 1970s rut, and we look forward to seeing it. Of course, one thing must be there, though: The Daily Planet building complete with its art deco globe adorning the top.

Other possible locations include the Kent Farm in Smallville, the LexCorp tower, S.T.A.R. Labs, and even the Fortress of Solitude.

Any More At Home Like You?

Rachel Brosnahan, David Corenswet, and James Gunn reading Superman comics on the set of Superman (2025)

(Photo by @jamesgunn)

After an exhaustive search, David Corenswet dons the cape as Superman/Kal-El/Clark Kent. The actor, who resembles several of the previous Superman performers, rose to the top after Gunn dismissed Henry Cavill. As evidence of just how quickly things change in the superhero business, Gunn reportedly never considered bringing the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice star back because his story focused on a “younger” version of the character. As mentioned above, Clark is at the beginning of his career, but he operates with the sort of kindness people find old fashioned. Curiously, though, the first photo of Corenswet in costume suggests an amalgam of approaches to the character as the costume takes ideas from the classic suit, the Man of Steel texture variant, and even the S-shield from Mark Waid and Alex Ross’s Kingdom Come.

Joining Corenswet as Lois Lane in journalistic pursuits is Rachel Brosnahan. When asked about the character, she told Entertainment Tonight that her Lois is “fiercely intelligent” and feisty. “Dare I say marvelous?” she added. For those of us looking from the outside, she also possesses a near uncanny resemblance to some of the characters most classic interpretations, from co-creator Joe Shuster’s original vision right to Gary Frank’s Margot Kidder-inspired take.

Edi Gathegi, Isabela Merced, and Nathan Fillion

(Photo by Eric Charbonneau, Steve Granitz, Gotham/Getty Images)

Normally, the cast list would move on to stalwart supporting characters like Jimmy Olsen, Daily Planet editor Perry White, and Clark’s adoptive parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent. But this Superman is different. It will feature other superheroes. For All Mankind star Edi Gathegi is set to appear as Mister Terrific, an inventor with a brilliant mind, free-floating “T-Spheres,” and a sense of fair play. He is typically allied with the Justice Society of America — the oldest superhero team — as is Isabela Merced’s Hawkgirl. In fact, the winged warrior and Gathegi’s characters take their visual cues from the JSA comics of the late 1990s. It remains to be seen if they will represent the group, last seen on screen in Black Adam, or claim membership with another team.

Frequent Gunn collaborator Nathan Fillion takes on the role of Guy Gardner, a sometimes Green Lantern who is a fan favorite despite his regressive attitudes and extreme ego. Reportedly, Fillion will sport Guy’s classic bowl cut. We also hope his more militaristic Lantern costume makes it to the screen as well. Also, how could Guy make his first appearance in a feature film without the infamous “one punch” moment? (Granted, Batman landed that blow in 1987’s Justice League #1.)

Anthony Carrigan, known to Gotham fans as Victor Zsasz, will play Metamorpho, a wilder DC Comics character from the 1960s who can transmute into various elements and has been portrayed as both goofy and intensely serious depending on the circumstances. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Carrigan, who has alopecia, said he relates to the character’s unusual appearance. He also mentioned it is “refreshing” to play a hero.

Anthony Carrigan and Nicholas Hoult

(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin, Angela Weiss/Getty Images)

Of course, it remains to be seen just how heroic any of these characters will be and whether or not they will be part of the Authority, a super team known for adopting pre-emptive strikes as part of their efforts against villains and crime. While the comic book Superman (or a version of him, at least) has allied with the Authority in the past, he also took on a parody version of them known as The Elite in Action Comics #775. So far, though, the only member of the team confirmed to appear in the film is The Engineer, played by María Gabriela de Faría. It is possible the heroes listed above will also be on her team or, maybe, oppose their methods and champion Superman’s style of heroics.

No matter how things pan out with the Authority, Superman’s number one foe, Lex Luthor, will also appear in the film. This time, he’s played by Nicholas Hoult, an actor quite familiar with superhero worlds. He will, of course, be the businessman version of Lex (as opposed to the rogue mad scientist of the 1940s through to the 1980s), and we imagine his resources will test the Strange Visitor in Metropolis. Or, perhaps, Lois will spend her time trying to prove he is not the city’s benefactor.

Other members of the cast include Pruitt Taylor Vince and Neva Howell as John and Martha Kent, respectively; Wendell Pierce as Perry White; Skyler Gisondo as Jimmy Olsen; and the double act of Terence Rosemore and Sara Sampaio as Lex’s loyal goon Otis and assistant Eve Teschmacher, who both first appeared in Donner’s Superman. Additionally, Sean Gunn takes over as Maxwell Lord, the rich industrialist played by Pedro Pascal in Wonder Woman 1984, and Milly Alcock, cast as Supergirl in her own film — Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow will reportedly make an appearance as Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El.

Chief Architects

The cast and crew on the set of James Gunn's Superman (2025)

(Photo by @jamesgunn)

DC Studios co-CEO James Gunn serves as director and writer. When the film was first announced in January of 2023, it was unclear if he would take the reins himself. But by that March, Gunn was ready to direct, saying, “Just because I write something doesn’t mean I feel it in my bones, visually and emotionally, enough to spend over two years directing it, especially not something of this magnitude… But, the long and the short of it is, I love this script, and I’m incredibly excited as we begin this journey.” His fellow DC CEO, Peter Safran, joins him as producer.

Other crew include director of photography Henry Braham, editor Jason Ballantine, production designer Beth Mickle, costume designer Judianna Makovsky, and composer John Murphy.

Recently, Gunn revealed production is just a little over halfway complete.

A Chance For Greatness

Logo for Superman Returns (2006)

Logo for Superman Returns (2006) (Photo by ©Warner Bros.)

Superman is currently set for release on July 11, 2025. At that point, we will know if Gunn’s latest gamble works out. For longtime Superman fans, he is saying all the right things, and the inclusion of other heroes will offset some of Clark’s boyishness. Superman is not as surefire a character as Batman, but Gunn plans for anyone cast in one of his DC productions to carry on playing the character in other projects, including upcoming animated series, so he, at least, expects Corenswet to be around for awhile. All that said, it’s unclear if Gunn already envisions a Superman 2, but that may work in his favor: it may be that not having an announced sequel plan already in place will lead to a great standalone film worthy of the name Superman.

Superman (2025) opens in theaters on July 11, 2025.

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