James Gunn's First Big DC Movie Is Taking the Opposite Approach as the DCEU

The Man of Steel is charting a new way forward.

Superman in Superman and the Authority #1
DC Comics

It’s hard to think of a superhero project as scrutinized as DC’s new curtain raiser, Superman: Legacy. DC Studios has been on a roller coaster for the past decade and change, and as the old guard shuffles off to make way for a new regime, there’s a lot of pressure on the new film, and a lot of eyes on its production.

With casting apparently winding down for Superman and his leading lady, Lois Lane, fans are getting more insight into writer-director James Gunn’s plan for his next project. The Hollywood Reporter has been leading the charge on recent Legacy updates: the outlet was the first to tease the inclusion of The Authority, an elite squad of ruthless vigilantes. That news gave fans pause, given the Authority’s dynamic with Superman.

The superteam is known for their cavalier approach to fighting crime. Nothing ever gets in their way. Not civilians, not fear of collateral damage. They’ll do whatever it takes to save the world on their terms, and they’ve racked up quite a body count in the process. They’ve worked with Superman a few times in the comics, but their disparate morals usually put them on opposing sides.

Whatever role the Authority are playing in Legacy, it will undoubtedly be a defining element of the film, and crucial to the development of this new Superman. Will the superteam rise up in response to Superman’s boy scout routine, or will our Man of Steel be the new kid on the block? According to a recent update from THR, Gunn is going for the latter.

Superman won’t be the only superhero in Superman: Legacy, but he’ll be a very different one.

DC Comics

Legacy will apparently introduce Superman to a world where superheroes already exist. Those heroes will likely be the Authority, which suggests their world will be a much darker place — not unlike that of The Boys — before Superman sets a new example. It’s a clever inversion of DC’s original plan, championed by Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. In that 2013 film, Superman was the first hero in the public eye. His presence might have inspired other heroes to step up, but we only ever really saw how he influenced vigilantes, like Batman v Superman’s incredibly-bleak Batman (Ben Affleck).

Gunn previously teased a radical new direction for Superman, and though DC remains tight-lipped about the details, his plan is coming into focus. Legacy has the chance to do what Richard Donner’s original Superman movie did, and bring an uplifting, hopeful hero to a cynical world. It would certainly be a welcome change after so much doom and gloom in the world of DC.

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