James Gunn almost directed a new Superman movie before joining The Suicide Squad. The former creative lead of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy franchise hasn't been officially confirmed to helm The Suicide Squad just yet - which is more a reboot than a sequel - but Gunn is penning the script, and it's possible he might ultimately end up in the director's chair.
DC and Warner Bros. have done quite a bit to court Gunn after Marvel let him go from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after his controversial past tweets surfaced. Gunn's script is reportedly still being used for the third Guardians of the Galaxy film, but the movie has no director and production been put on hold until at least 2021. DC meanwhile seem to be catering to Gunn's every need and reportedly offered him the pick of the litter with their cinematic heroes.
According to THR, The Suicide Squad was not the first project that DC had in mind for Gunn. Sources suggest that Warner Bros. gave Gunn his pick of properties, and among these was a Superman movie. Gunn evidently never got too close to taking over the Man of Steel, but he did show some interest in Superman's super-powered dog Krypto. This interest spurred DC and Warner Bros. to develop their newly announced DC Super Pets, though Gunn currently has no formal connection to the film.
While Gunn's vision of Superman may not see the light of day, this news is revealing for several reasons. The most obvious factor is that it makes clear that Warner Bros. wants to move as far away as possible from Zack Snyder's vision of Superman for the character's next cinematic outing. Gunn has always been focused more on humor and (literally) colorful characters, whereas Snyder has a much darker visual style and tone. More importantly, though, it reveals that DC and Warner Bros. are still interested in making a Superman movie, even though the current state of the cinematic Man of Steel has been a bit of a mess.
It's important to remember that Gunn was announced to be on board with The Suicide Squad in October 2018. This was a month after reports that Henry Cavill was leaving the role of Superman, only for the actor to later vaguely refute those claims. Currently, it's not clear if Cavill is still Clark Kent or not; unlike Ben Affleck who is confirmed to be out as Batman. If this report is true, it means DC isn't retiring Superman and they've just put the character on hold until an interested, available, and worthy creative team comes along. This isn't exactly surprising news as Superman is a massively popular character, but it should serve as a ray of hope for fans who want to see Superman back on the big screen with the rest of the Justice League.
Of course, it's possible that Gunn's Superman movie would have been completely disconnected from the DCEU. Unlike their main competition, Marvel Studios, Warner Bros. has had no problem putting effort into standalone superhero projects. For example, The Joker has no connection to the Clown Prince of Crime in the DCEU and it's likely to stay that way. If Gunn had chosen to direct a Superman movie, it could have been a completely different version than the one who was last played by Henry Cavill in Justice League.
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- The Batman (2021) release date: Jun 25, 2021
- The Suicide Squad (2021) release date: Aug 06, 2021
- DC Super Pets (2022) release date: May 20, 2022