All-Star Superman's Legacy: Inspiring the DC Universe's Superman Reboot

For the first time since Man of Steel launched the DC Extended Universe in 2013, the Last Son of Krypton will fly solo in Superman: Legacy. The reboot, written and produced by James Gunn for DC Studios, releases in theaters on July 11th, 2025, as the official start of the DC Universe. "It's not an origin story," Gunn's DC Studios co-chief, Peter Safran, said during a slate presentation. Like The Batman — an Elseworlds story separate from the new DCU that introduced Robert Pattinson's Bruce Wayne in his second year as a costumed crime-fighter — Legacy will focus on a younger version of Superman. The role will be recast, and Henry Cavill will not be the DCU's Superman.

"Superman: Legacy is the true foundation of our creative vision for the DC Universe," said Gunn. "Not only is Superman an iconic part of DC lore, he is also a favorite character for comic book readers, viewers of earlier movies, and fans around the world. I can't wait to introduce our version of Superman who audiences will be able to follow and get to know across films, movies, animation and gaming."

Gunn's Superman is approximately 25 years old, making him more established than Tom Welling's high school-aged Clark Kent in Smallville, but younger than Cavill's 33-year-old rookie superhero in Man of Steel.

A greener, more youthful Clark Kent typically features in retellings of Superman's oft-told origins — John Byrne's seminal 1986 origin story Superman: The Man of Steel, and more modern versions in 2004's Superman: Birthright and 2009's Superman: Secret Origin — but Legacy is not Superman: Year One (yet another younger-skewing Superman origin tale).

Instead, Legacy draws inspiration from writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely's 12-part series All-Star Superman. Morrison envisioned his alternate-universe as a "timeless" take on the Super-mythos with such classic characters as Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Perry White of The Daily Planet, Ma and Pa Kent, Krypto the Superdog, the Fortress of Solitude, and Lex Luthor. 

While Legacy is not an adaptation of All-Star Superman, Gunn said, "I'm a huge fan of All-Star Superman, and it is very inspired by All-Star Superman."

In All-Star Superman, a trip to the Sun exposes Superman to critical levels of stellar radiation: Superman is dying from the very source of his superpowers. It's a world where Lois Lane describes her bumbling co-worker, a clumsy Clark Kent, as a "big country lummox," while Superman has had a storied career of saving the world. Like that alien farm boy-turned-idealistic superhero, the DCU Superman will be "the embodiment of truth, justice, and the American way," Safran said, revealing Legacy "focuses on Superman balancing his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing."

Added Gunn, "I really love the idea of Superman. He's a big old galoot. He is a farm boy from Kansas who is very idealistic. His greatest weakness is that he'll never kill anybody, doesn't want to hurt a living soul. And I like that sort of innate goodness about Superman as his defining characteristic."

Superman: Legacy opens in theaters July 11th, 2025.

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