Much hoopla has been made of James Gunn’s plans to transform the DCU, particularly when it comes to his curtain-raiser Superman: Legacy. With previous Superman actor Henry Cavill out of the running for good, many assumed that Legacy would be reintroducing its titular hero in every sense of the word. A new actor – one that could remain in the role longer than the 39-year-old Cavill might – and a fresh origin story seemed like a no-brainer. It turns out, though, that Legacy might not be an origin story at all. For Gunn, a fresh slate doesn’t mean a remix of the past – nor does it justify a baby faced Man of Steel.
Gunn and his co-chair Peter Safran have been pretty careful with their statements of late, which has invited all manner of speculation from fans and critics alike. Though neither have confirmed specific plot details for Legacy, it’s widely assumed that the film will adapt Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman, and that its new cast will skew much younger than in previous films. Rumors have been circulating that casting is already underway, and DC are looking for actors in their early 20s for their new Clark Kent.
Gunn rebutted the scoop via Twitter: “We haven’t begun casting other than making lists,” the director explained. And whoever the lucky hopefuls are, the casting pool is “not limited to people in their twenties.”
With Gunn considering actors regardless of age, there’s no telling what story he plans to bring to this new universe. Superman: Legacy is meant to mark “the true beginning” of this new DCU — but the film may not be the true beginning for this new Superman. Perhaps Legacy will kick off a few years into Kal-El’s tenure as a hero, much like what The Batman did for its own caped crusader. Robert Pattinson was 33 when he was cast as the new Batman, and though his film won’t be attached to this new universe, there’s a chance that Gunn will go a similar route in Legacy.
Of course, this little detail might not mean anything in the grand scheme. Henry Cavill was exactly 30 when he was tapped to play the Man of Steel, so it won’t be too surprising if the new actor is a similar age.
Ultimately, age is nothing but a number. Gunn has a chance to change a lot of the perceptions attached to the hero, and to do that, he can’t afford to get caught up in the minutiae.