James Gunn's SUPERMAN Was Planned As Standalone Movie Like THE BATMAN Before DC Studios' DCU Reboot

James Gunn's SUPERMAN Was Planned As Standalone Movie Like THE BATMAN Before DC Studios' DCU Reboot James Gunn's SUPERMAN Was Planned As Standalone Movie Like THE BATMAN Before DC Studios' DCU Reboot

SUPERMAN director and DC Studios boss James Gunn has revealed that, before the decision was made to reboot the DCEU, the idea was for his movie to be a standalone project akin to Matt Reeves' The Batman.

By JoshWilding - Mar 13, 2024 11:03 AM EST
Filed Under: Superman: Legacy

Before Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav decided to scrap the DC Extended Universe and start over with DC Studios' DCU, James Gunn was being eyed to write and direct a new Superman movie. 

Ultimately, the success of The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker led to the studio deciding that, alongside veteran movie producer Peter Safran, Gunn should take charge of the DCU. Now, he's helming Superman: Legacy SUPERMAN and overseeing a slate of movies and TV shows dubbed "Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters."

Only time will tell whether the Guardians of the Galaxy helmer is the right pick to overhaul this franchise and SUPERMAN will be a big test when it comes to whether fans embrace his vision. 

The DCEU delivered a string of critical and commercial disappointments, but there were some hits along the way. Among the biggest was the standalone DC movie, The Batman, a new take on the Caped Crusader which existed in its own continuity. 

Now, Gunn has revealed that when he was first approached about SUPERMAN - in the summer of 2022 - the idea was for his take on the Man of Tomorrow to also be an Elseworlds project separate from the DCEU. 

We'd assume the story has evolved quite a bit since then and it appears the original idea was for Henry Cavill to be paired up with Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam while Gunn's Superman existed separately. That would have been a little odd, but it's not like Warner Bros. ever really planned ahead and it's possible Cavill hadn't been enlisted by The Rock when Gunn was first approached. 

Either way, Gunn clearly never intended to have Cavill play his Clark Kent. 

Check out the filmmaker's comments in the screenshots below. 

James Gunn said when Michael De Luca hired him to write ‘SUPERMAN’ in around August 2022 it was going to be separate from the DCEU similar to ‘THE BATMAN’ & the 'Black Superman' project by JJ Abrams & Ta-Nehisi Coates which would be a separate Elseworld project rather than part of a shared universe.
byu/GodlessMonsters inDC_Cinematic

SUPERMAN tells the story of Superman's journey to reconcile his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing as Clark Kent of Smallville, Kansas. He is the embodiment of truth, justice and the American way, guided by human kindness in a world that sees kindness as old-fashioned.

David Corenswet is playing the Man of Steel, while Rachel Brosnahan has been tapped to star as Lois Lane. Other recent casting additions include Isabela Merced as Hawkgirl, Edi Gathegi as Mister Terrific, Nathan Fillion as Guy Gardner, Anthony Carrigan as Metamorpho, Gabriela de Faría as The Engineer, Sara Sampaio as Eve Teschmacher, Skyler Gisondo as Jimmy Olsen, Nicholas Hoult as Lex Luthor, and Wendell Pierce as Perry White.

SUPERMAN is currently set to be released in theaters on July 11, 2025.

SUPERMAN Set Photos Feature DC Easter Eggs, A Nod To Tim Drake/Robin, And The Classic Daily Planet Logo

SUPERMAN Set Photos Feature DC Easter Eggs, A Nod To Tim Drake/Robin, And The Classic Daily Planet Logo

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soberchimera - 3/13/2024, 12:04 PM
Which I think everyone would have much preferred...
Nightwing1015 - 3/13/2024, 1:25 PM
@soberchimera - Why would people have preferred that? Whether its connected to other films or not doesn't really impact its quality. This is the last chance to launch a DC film universe, might as well take it...
soberchimera - 3/13/2024, 1:31 PM
@Nightwing1015 - Whether its connected to other films or not doesn't really impact its quality.
Yes it absolutely does, look at all the MCU films that had to have their quality reduced just to serve the larger narrative, Thor: The Dark World, Age of Ultron, Multiverse of Madness, etc. Barbie and Oppenheimer last year both proved that the general audience is tired of shared universes and just want good standalone movies.
ObserverIO - 3/13/2024, 2:00 PM
@soberchimera - For every "proof" that people like standalones over shared universes there is "proof" that they like shared universes over standalones (more proof I would argue, when you look at the average box office of the MCU).

The truth is that people like good movies and generally don't like shit. Unless it's connected to something good.
soberchimera - 3/13/2024, 2:05 PM
@ObserverIO - Except your proof is from 2012-2019, whereas mine is from last year.
Nightwing1015 - 3/13/2024, 2:18 PM
@soberchimera - But James Gunn's guardians films are shared universe and are well received - a better comparison seeing as he's doing it.
ObserverIO - 3/13/2024, 2:41 PM
@soberchimera - So suddenly shared universe films are now compromised when they weren't before?

And if we're talking about success, NWH, MoM even Love and Thunder were all successful.

Instead of picking a certain period, lets look at the all-time charts. Only two movies in the top 10 are standalone (Titanic and The Lion King). Four of them are MCU movies.
Of the next 10 (11-20) only two of them are standalone (Barbie and The Super Mario Bros. Movie).
Of the next 10 (21-30) only one of them is standalone (Beauty and the Beast).
Of the next 10 (31-40) there are none.

It's beginning to look like standalones aren't anywhere near as popular as you might think.
soberchimera - 3/13/2024, 2:58 PM
@ObserverIO - Was my argument that the MCU was never successful? No. My argument was that GA are moving away from shared universe films as has been proven in the past couple of years. There's still hope out there that the MCU will return to its former glory, but until that happens, the audience has spoken.
soberchimera - 3/13/2024, 3:00 PM
@Nightwing1015 - The Guardians films really do feel more standalone than other MCU efforts though despite them appearing in Infinity War and Love and Thunder. Literally no Avengers cameoed in the GotG trilogy.
krayzeman - 3/13/2024, 3:50 PM
@soberchimera - they are not tired of it they just want GOOD shared universe movies. You cant say at this point because of one bad year of superhero movies that audiences are therefore "tired" of this. What about all those years of success beforehand serving the "larger narrative" and how well that worked out? By their own admission they focused less on quality than on quantity after Endgame when the mandate was to pump out more product. It all remains to be seen. These companies wont be releasing a ton of product this year and have gone back to the drawing board to re-up for 2025. Its a slew of stuff from Marvel and DC coming out next year so lets see if there a "real" backlash on these shared universe movies. It did well before it can be done well again. Maybe audiences just need a breather like a marathon runner pacing himslef for that last lap
bcom - 3/13/2024, 4:19 PM
@soberchimera - I don't. If you're adapting a comic book universe for movies/TV/games etc... then it shouldn't be viewed as individual heroes contained within their own closed off universes, because that's not how they operate in the comics. I want a movie world where at any time Batman can come in and help Superman take a bad guy out, or Wonder Woman helps Green Lantern take down a threat. Who wouldn't? You're limiting these character's stories if you keep them closed off from the rest of the comic book universe they live in.
bcom - 3/13/2024, 4:23 PM
@soberchimera - I don't think people are tired of shared universes. They're tired of poorly conceived movies. I also think your examples of MCU movies are the exception to a wider universe where the vast majority of movies and shows have been well received by audiences.
krayzeman - 3/13/2024, 4:27 PM
@soberchimera - They only thing the audiences have spoken about is they refuse to see a bad movie.
soberchimera - 3/13/2024, 4:41 PM
@bcom - I think quality control becomes more difficult within a shared cinematic universe though because writers and directors have less creative freedom. Think of all the directors who have parted ways with Marvel because they weren't able to bring their vision to life, most MCU films are directed by the studio which is why only about 1/3 of all the MCU films are really any good, the rest are mediocre to bad. If the primary goal is to have quality movies than the standalone model trumps the shared universe any day of the week.
bcom - 3/13/2024, 5:44 PM
@soberchimera - I still think the quality of a movie has nothing to do with it being in a shared universe or not. There are PLENTY of terrible stand alone movies out there. With a franchise, there will always be some movies that are worse off than others, but just like with stand alone movies, a franchise also relies on a clear vision with great writers, producers and directors coming together and working together to tell great stories.

I don't think it matters if a movie exists in a shared universe or not, what matters is how well it is made.
McMurdo - 3/13/2024, 5:50 PM
@soberchimera - pretending Barbie was good is a choice
lazlodaytona - 3/13/2024, 6:02 PM
@soberchimera - boo hoo. So the MCU had taken some lumps to achieve greatness. That's how ALL greatness achieved is. Any kind of athlete, copy boy to senior executive, H.S. teachers (which includes being shot at), and movie universes. You take the hit then move on.

That's where Snyder and DC failed. They took some hits from MoS, a TON from BvS, then completely f***ed Suicide Squad up out of fear instead of believing what the over-all vision was.
RolandD - 3/13/2024, 6:32 PM
@soberchimera - I am definitely part of everyone and that is absolutely not what I would have preferred. So yeah, by definition, you are wrong. I don’t even have to argue the point even though some have already successfully done so.
soberchimera - 3/14/2024, 12:51 PM
@McMurdo - I didn't say it was good, I said it was standalone and financially successful.
THEKENDOMAN - 3/13/2024, 12:10 PM
Well, thank God for that
Forthas - 3/13/2024, 12:26 PM
Since it will be the only live action film that comes out of the DCU before it bombs then it will essentially be a stand alone anyway.
WruceBayne - 3/13/2024, 1:29 PM
@Forthas - you want this to fail? Then what?
ObserverIO - 3/13/2024, 3:00 PM
@Forthas - If the DCU bombs and Matt Reeves is put in charge of DC Studios in Gunn's stead, expanding his The Batman universe to include other DC characters, then Superman and The Batman will both be the complete opposite of each other in a really crazy way:

Superman will have gone from standalone to shared universe to standalone again and The Batman will have gone from shared universe to standalone to shared universe again.

(because it started out as Batfleck's solo DCEU movie)
Forthas - 3/13/2024, 3:07 PM
@WruceBayne - In a perfect world Jonathan Nolan would become the head of DC studio, he would relaunch the DC universe with Christian Bale'Batman and Henry Cavill's Superman and ignore everything that came after. He would then build the most epic super hero shared universe that does not rely on silly jokes and garish CGI but would be far more grounded and character driven.
Forthas - 3/13/2024, 3:24 PM
@ObserverIO - Is the Superman Stand Alone the Cavill version or Routh!
ObserverIO - 3/13/2024, 4:18 PM
@Forthas - Corenswet. Superman Legacy. I called it just 'Superman' because they dropped the 'Legacy' from it recently.

So it started out as standalone, when it Gunn was hired by Mike DeLuca, then it became shared universe as the first film of the DCU and if it all goes down (the whole DCU) then it will become standalone again, due to it being the only DCU film.
Forthas - 3/13/2024, 4:23 PM
@ObserverIO - Got it! That is weird!
WruceBayne - 3/13/2024, 5:29 PM
@Forthas - this reboot hasn’t even taken flight yet. Let’s give Gunn’s vision a chance before we start lighting torches and calling for his first born.
McMurdo - 3/13/2024, 5:55 PM
@WruceBayne - he's a snyder brat and thinks Man of Steel is high art
McMurdo - 3/13/2024, 5:56 PM
@ObserverIO - Reeves can't even get his sequel script ready for photography. He isn't touching Superman nor should he.
McMurdo - 3/13/2024, 5:56 PM
@Forthas - Nolan is about to have a Fallout show that bombs critically to match his terrible Westworld adaptation.
RolandD - 3/13/2024, 6:40 PM
@Forthas - Bale has said he will not do another Batman film unless he and Christopher, not Jonathan Nolan agreed they had a worthwhile story to tell. Christopher Nolan also said that he is done with superhero movies. If we were fortunate enough to get another Batman movie from Bale and Christoper Nolan, it would surely only be one last movie. It’s time to let it go.
Ha1frican - 3/13/2024, 12:27 PM
That kinda explains why the slate seems all over the place. I’m hopeful but so far nothing aside from the actors they’ve chosen for each role have interested me about any of the projects that have been announced
TheVisionary25 - 3/13/2024, 12:31 PM
@Ha1frican - to be fair , we don’t really know much other then that

I’m intrigued honestly by the chapter 1 slate so far but I do hope we get more news soon.

Ha1frican - 3/13/2024, 1:33 PM
@TheVisionary25 - Unless Superman makes a billion I bet we only see Superman, Batman, and Supergirl with the rest being canned in favor of bigger properties
TheVisionary25 - 3/13/2024, 1:49 PM
@Ha1frican - maybe, we’ll see

I feel it’s kinda hard to make 1 billion nowadays since so few have after the pandemic so I hope WB is realistic about their expectations.

However it’s Zaslav so you never know
Ha1frican - 3/13/2024, 4:17 PM
@TheVisionary25 - Zaslav is exactly why I don’t have faith lol I don’t think it’s a bad lineup but that dude seems to have crazy expectations and retaliates hard when he doesn’t see big returns
TheVisionary25 - 3/13/2024, 4:42 PM
@Ha1frican - I get ya lol
mountainman - 3/13/2024, 12:27 PM
With the generic “8 Avengers villains…” article having comments turned off, I was shocked to see “toxic fans” not as the #1 on that article.
SATW42 - 3/13/2024, 1:13 PM
@mountainman - it's so funny how twisted up people are over not being able to comment. "argh, I can't let Josh know Ihate his lists for the 8,000 time, how will he know!"
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