As if the stakes for casting a new Superman weren’t already high enough, The Flash’s underwhelming box office performance and divisive critical response means the great hope of restoring DC to glory now, somewhat fittingly, falls to its marquee hero, the Man of Steel. In a June 26 report, The Hollywood Reporter provided some insight into the casting process for James Gunn’s Superman: Legacy and the crop of young talents who have apparently made it to the final round to play Clark Kent, as well as Lois Lane. .
The three pairs of actors are The Menu’s Nicholas Hoult and Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s Rachel Brosnahan, Sex Education’s Emma Mackey and Pearl’s David Corenswet, and Grantchester’s Tom Brittney and Bridgerton’s Phoebe Dynevor. (Notably, almost all of these actors are British, save for Brosnahan and Corenswet—America’s hero hasn’t been played by an American actor since Brandon Routh in 2006’s Superman Returns.) The trio of duos performed several scenes together on the first day of screen tests on June 17, with the men in character as Clark Kent. (Back in May, The Wrap had Jacob Elordi, Andrew Richardson, and Samara Weaving as contenders for the roles, though their exclusion from these test screenings likely means they are not in consideration.)
The following day, the three male actors had to appear in costume as Superman, while Mackey was the only aspiring Lane who read with them. (The Hollywood Reporter’s source said this didn’t necessarily make Mackey a lock for the role.) There is a possibility the casting decisions may finalize within the week as Gunn presents the material to Warner Bros. execs.
After these two key castings, Gunn will move to filling other big roles like Lex Luthor, for which both Alexander and Bill Skarsgard, and possibly Hoult, will be considered.
Gunn was appointed co-chair and co-CEO of DC Studios along with producer Peter Safran last October. In January, he shared plans for the future of the DC Universe, including a TV show focused on The Suicide Squad’s Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), an animated series called Creature Commandoes, and another Batman film focused on Bruce Wayne and his son that will continue alongside the Robert Pattinson and Matt Reeves trilogy. But he called Superman: Legacy the “true beginning of the DCU,” and it’ll be the clearest glimpse into Gunn’s vision for the embattled studio’s future.
Superman: Legacy is slated for release on July 11, 2025, and THR reported that Gunn wants to shoot at the start of 2024. The last standalone Superman film was 2013’s Man of Steel, though the character played a key role in 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and both iterations of Justice League. The news that Cavill would not return, like so many things in the DC world, was not handled cleanly, with the actor sharing in a December 2022 Instagram post that he would “not be returning as Superman” after plans for his return were announced publicly in October.
“After being told by the studio to announce my return back in October, this news isn’t the easiest, but that’s life. The changing of the guard is something that happens. I respect that,” Cavill wrote. “James and Peter have a universe to build. I wish them and all involved with the new universe the best of luck, and the happiest of fortunes.”