henry cavill as superman in the Snyderverse superman films

James Gunn Was Hired for ‘Superman: Legacy’ 6 Months Ago and Something Isn’t Adding Up

Anticipation for James Gunn’s and Peter Safran’s new DC Universe has been tentatively rising, and the announcement of the projects slated for the franchise’s Chapter One has largely drowned out dissatisfaction over the handling of the stars and films of the old regiment. However, one sore spot remains, and that is when it comes to Henry Cavill. While Supergirl, Wonder Woman 3, and Cavill all weren’t treated very fairly by the DCU, new evidence has shown that the studio may have particularly done Cavill dirty.

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Cavill made his highly anticipated return as the DCU’s Superman in Black Adam, after a 5-year hiatus, in 2022. In addition to appearing in a post-credits cameo that teased his return, Cavill himself took to social media to confirm the news. In a touching message, he expressed his gratitude for the role and his devoted fans, as well as excitedly promised that the cameo was just a “small taste of what’s to come.” However, less than two months later, after Gunn and Safran were instated as the new co-CEOs of the franchise, Cavill published a somber post making the sad and difficult announcement that he wasn’t returning after all.

Upon hearing the news, many Cavill fans became upset, and their reactions were understandable. What was especially maddening was that Cavill stated in his post that he had been specifically “told by the studio” to publicly announce his return. Then, after making him publicly announce it, the studio backtracked and told him he wasn’t actually Superman, leaving him with the difficult task of letting down millions of fans.

While frustrating, many could initially just describe the whole thing as an unfortunate situation due to poor timing and Cavill being hired before a corporate shakeup changed things. However, a new statement by Gunn has many wondering if the situation could’ve been avoided.

James Gunn was hired for Superman: Legacy six months ago

On Sunday, Gunn took to Twitter to answer some fans’ questions, as he is known to do. One user commented on Gunn’s post about his dog, sharing a screenshot of Gunn’s Instagram Story. In the Instagram Story, Gunn commented on a news article that claimed the DCU’s first chapter was being fast-tracked due to Gunn confirming Creature Commandos was already in production. Gunn commented on the article, clarifying that it wasn’t actually being “fast-tracked,” but it was merely that Creature Commandos and Superman: Legacy began production before Gunn and Safran were actually instated as CEOs.

Hence, the user asked for clarification of Gunn’s statement, questioning if Superman: Legacy was first planned as Man of Steel 2 with Cavill, considering its early development. However, Gunn confirmed that the project was always separate from Cavill. He then revealed that he had been hired on the project over 6 months ago.

What’s surprising about this news is that Cavill revealed he filmed his Black Adam cameo in September of 2022. Meanwhile, if Gunn was hired for Superman: Legacy over six months ago, that would mean the project was already in early development as far back as August 2022. So, naturally, the question is one of why DC shot Cavill’s cameo and specifically told him to announce his return, all while knowing a new DCU Superman film was in development that did not include him?

Fans are outraged on behalf of Cavill

It didn’t take long for users to begin letting out their anger on Gunn. Many users began accusing him of purposefully letting Cavill cameo in Black Adam and then callously firing him afterward, though Gunn has previously insisted that he didn’t fire Cavill and had no part in Cavill being “dicked around” by the old regiment. Others directed their anger at the studio for letting the cameo and Cavill’s announcement go through despite Superman: Legacy already being on the horizon. Some also blamed Dwayne Johnson for going over executives’ heads to get Cavill in the film and, thus, going against plans and causing the whole unfortunate situation.


While many are slamming Gunn following his clarification of the Superman: Legacy timeline, it isn’t likely Gunn had any control over Black Adam or the announcement at the time. Still, if Gunn and other executives let this situation develop while knowing about Superman: Legacy the whole time, it is difficult to excuse. Surely, even if executives still weren’t sure whether Superman: Legacy would happen or Cavill would actually return to the role—which may have depended on how well Black Adam did at the box office—someone could’ve at least clued Cavill in on what was going on instead of letting him announce his return, oblivious to the alternate plans.

Likely, though, it all comes down to the studio. Even if Johnson went over some heads for Cavill’s cameo, it was ultimately approved by the big boss at Warner Bros., David Zaslav. Similarly, while Gunn was on the scene, the studio was the one handling Black Adam and Cavill’s announcement. Sadly, what the evidence does seem to be pointing at is that some at DC and Warner Bros. had some inkling that Cavill wasn’t returning, but let his cameo and announcement go through to raise hype and box office earnings for Black Adam.

Neither Gunn nor Warner Bros. has responded to the backlash publicly, but the confirmation of Superman: Legacy’s timeline has raised some questions that need answering, as what it seems to imply has left fans feeling misled and very indignant on the behalf of Cavill.

(featured image: DC / Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

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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.