James Gunn poses at the premiere of The Suicide Squad

James Gunn Responds to the Latest Henry Cavill ‘Superman’ Recasting Controversy

The latest chapter in the Henry Cavill Superman recasting saga has begun as James Gunn responds to allegations that he was already planning to take over the DC Universe as early as 2021.

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In late 2022, Warner Bros. Discovery announced that Gunn and Peter Safran would serve as co-CEOs of the new DCU. With the pair essentially rebooting the shared universe, many of the characters, actors, and film series from the old regime were retired. Black Adam 2 was put on hold, Wonder Woman 3 was shelved, and any prospect of a Justice League 2 or Man of Steel sequel was shot down. However, the one change that has sparked the most backlash and attention was the recasting of Cavill, as David Corenswet took over the role of Superman.

The recasting of Cavill wasn’t a typical one. Mere days before the new co-CEOs were announced, Black Adam premiered, with Cavill reprising his role as Superman. He commemorated his long-awaited return with a heartfelt social media post, promising his fans that their patience would be rewarded with future Superman projects. Rumors quickly started swirling of all the new projects Cavill’s Superman could be in and which heroes he’d cross paths with. Sadly, less than two months later, he was forced to backtrack and confirm he wouldn’t be back despite the studio having explicitly given him the green light to announce his return.

Even over a year later, outrage persists over how Cavill was treated, as many continue to question when Gunn and Warner Bros. knew that Cavill would be recast. Is there a chance he could’ve been alerted to the news before announcing his return? The recasting debacle has returned to public discourse yet again after Nathan Fillion claimed Gunn was planning the DCU reboot in 2021.

James Gunn denies DCU reboot conspiracy theory

Recently, it was announced that Fillion, a longtime collaborator of Gunn’s, would portray Guy Gardner (a.k.a. Green Lantern) in Gunn’s Superman. However, in an interview with Collider, he claimed he had already known for some time that he was going to be Green Lantern. He claimed he was attending the premiere party of The Suicide Squad when Gunn approached him, asking Fillion if he knew what he and Safran were planning for him next. When Fillion confirmed he did not, Gunn leaned over to him and said, “You’re gonna be Guy Gardner.”

Fans were caught off guard by this interview as The Suicide Squad premiered in 2021, over a year before Gunn and Safran were announced as co-CEOs of the DCU. Many took it to mean that Gunn was already planning his DCU reboot in August of 2021. When questioned about Fillion’s statement on Threads, Gunn claimed that Fillion simply got confused and meant to refer to the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 premiere party instead of The Suicide Squad. By the time the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie premiered, Gunn was already instated as DCU’s co-CEO and working on casting for Superman. Fillion is featured in many Gunn movies, so it is possible that he mixed up movies.

However, users continued pressing Gunn about a “conspiracy theory” that he lied in 2021 when he said he had no interest in running the DCU. Some users have become convinced that he was “always” planning on taking over the DCU and on “screwing over Cavill” despite his claims of not being interested. Gunn responded that he didn’t quite understand the theory. He did confirm that, upon being hired to write Superman, he had always planned on it being a “new Superman movie,” and even if he did know about it during The Suicide Squad, it still would’ve been a new story and resulted in the same outcome of Cavill being recast.

While it’s believable that Gunn didn’t know about taking over the DCU in 2021, he does seem to avoid the major question, which is that, if he did know about Cavill’s recasting in advance, would he have done something about the Black Adam cameo and social media announcement? This same question arose in February of 2023 when Gunn revealed he had already been working on Superman as early as August of 2022. Given that Cavill’s cameo in Black Adam was shot last minute and he announced his return in October of 2022, fans were outraged this was allowed to happen when the studio already knew that a new Superman movie was in the works that potentially wouldn’t include Cavill.

Gunn’s posts refute one theory, but it’s unclear what he means by a “new Superman movie.” It confirms it was always intended to be separate from the old DCU but doesn’t explicitly confirm if it was always meant to recast Cavill. Whether Gunn knew about the recasting months, weeks, or years before Cavill’s Black Adam return, the question still remains of why Gunn and the studio didn’t make the recasting smoother by offering transparency about DCU’s future Superman plans.

(featured image: Rodin Eckenroth / Getty)


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Author
Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.