Backlash Erupts as Report Emerges on DC’s ‘Superman’ Movie About Middle East Conflict

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Henry Cavill weighs in on 'Superman' direction

Credit: Warner Bros.

After the Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) merger in the previous year, a significant restructuring occurred which led to the exit of the former head of DC, Walter Hamada. Taking his place is James Gunn, the acclaimed director recognized for his contributions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), notably the Guardians of the Galaxy series. Now serving as CEO alongside co-CEO Peter Safran, Gunn plays a prominent role in reshaping the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), which is initially known for its iconic characters like Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince/Wonder Woman and Henry Cavill’s Superman from Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

Related: Dwayne Johnson Hints That New DC Leadership is Why Henry Cavill Returned as Superman

Henry Cavill Revealing the Superman logo
Credit: DC/Warner Bros.

Having previously worked on productions like The Suicide Squad (2021) — distinct from the 2016 Suicide Squad starring Jared Leto as the Joker — Gunn has ascended to a role of creative leadership within DC Studios. In this capacity, he stands as a counterpart to Kevin Feige’s position at Marvel, entrusted with steering the creative direction of the DC Universe (DCU). Presently, DC Studios is poised to undertake a venture that is purportedly entirely distinctive and, purportedly, a departure from what Marvel Studios presents to audiences.

The Flash about to race with Superman
Credit: Warner Bros.

In the newest chapter of the DC Universe (DCU) titled “Chapter One – Gods and Monsters”, James Gunn is preparing for a substantial overhaul of the former DCEU, intending to kickstart a fresh, new beginning. The most noteworthy details currently accessible revolve around the DCU’s inaugural film, Superman: Legacy, which Gunn has written and is seemingly in the advanced stages of development, just ahead of the anticipated Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike in Hollywood.

Before the extensive revamp, Warner Bros. Discovery plans to release all their existing DC films from the period before Gunn’s involvement. This roster includes Shazam! Fury of the Gods, already released on March 17, and The Flash, starring Ezra Miller, which premiered on June 16, 2023. Additionally, Blue Beetle made its debut on August 18, 2023. Moving forward, DC’s upcoming lineup includes Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, led by Jason Momoa, set to hit theaters on December 25, 2023, preceding the imminent major reboot.

superman legacy promo james gunn
Credit: DC

Related: DC Fans Shocked as “Perfect” Image of James Gunn’s New ‘Superman’ Surfaces

The Superman Legacy

Under the current leadership of DC Studios President James Gunn and Peter Safran, the rejuvenated DC Universe is being crafted to span the next decade –all beginning with the first DC Universe (DCU) Superman: Legacy, currently slated to release July 11, 2025.

Through the years, the character of Superman from DC Comics has appeared in an array of comic books, TV series, movies, and diverse media formats. From memorable performances by actors such as George Reeves, Christopher Reeve, Brandon Routh, Tyler Hoechlin, to Henry Cavill, the character has solidified his position as one of the most revered and cherished figures in popular culture. Now, the upcoming portrayal of Clark Kent/Kal-El, the Kryptonian raised by the Kent family on Earth, is set to make its first appearance on the big screen.

George Reeves and Phyllis Coates as Superman and Lois Lane
Credit: Lippert Pictures

Although specific plot details for Superman: Legacy are scarce, what is evident is its focus on a younger Clark Kent navigating the complexities of his identity as Superman. Extensive speculation surrounded the casting of key roles, particularly Superman/Clark Kent and Lois Lane, until the recent revelation that David Corenswet (Hollywood) and Rachel Brosnahan (renowned for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) are set to portray these respective characters.

Nathan Fillion takes on the role of Guy Gardner/Green Lantern, Isabela Merced as Hawkgirl, Edi Gathegi as Mister Terrific, and Anthony Carrigan as Metamorpho.

Elizabeth Tulloch and Tyler Hoechlin as Superman and Lois Lane
Elizabeth Tulloch and Tyler Hoechlin as Superman and Lois Lane
Credit: Warner Bros

Fans have been divided over this news ever since the announcement. Some genuinely are looking forward to a brighter, younger iteration of the Man of Steel following Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel (2013), starring Henry Cavill, who played the character into the DCEU Justice League’s end.

Superman: Legacy‘s Reported Plot Under Fire

Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder as Superman and Lois Lane
Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder as Superman and Lois Lane
Credit: Warner Bros

Superman: Legacy will allegedly feature a rather controversial plot, according to known Hollywood insiders.

Recently, insider source MyTimeToShineHello openly reported on the new DC Studios reboot of the Superman character (in the new DC Universe continuity), written and directed by James Gunn himself. The revelation that the upcoming DC movie’s plot will “involve a conflict in the Middle East” has sparked backlash from members of the public online. The initial reveal reads:

It’s true. Part of the plot for Superman Legacy will involve a conflict in the Middle East

Some individuals expressed confusion over why this was a controversial decision in the first place:

@HezekiahTVT: what am i missing here? is it bad to involve a conflict in the Middle East in films? 🤔

@SupesKenobi: Read the room

 

While others explained that a Superman film intervening in a Middle Eastern conflict “is a bit tone deaf”:

@HezekiahTVT: conflicts have been happening in the Middle East before you were even born chief

@SupesKenobi: And? Having a white, American director make a movie where a white man whose whole schtick is being a symbol for “Truth, Justice and the American Way”, intervene in a Middle Eastern Conflict, is a bit tone deaf; especially right now!

Considering the current situation in Gaza, it’s understandable that people are wary about Gunn’s Superman: Legacy potentially being insensitive.

What do you think about a Superman: Legacy plot about conflict in the Middle East? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

The new DCU currently has the main DC Universe films run by James Gunn directly, and the “Elseworlds” movies, including an alternative take on Gotham City, Matt Reeves’ The Batman franchise starring Robert Pattinson. This effectively means that elements of the DC Comics and their DC Comics character that have yet to be revived in the DCU count as well – whether it’s meeting a new Hal Jordan as the Green Lantern, or meeting a non-DC films Lex Luthor iteration – new DC character stories are all up for grabs.

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