What does it take to break away from the legacy of a very successful comic book artist and influence in the DC or Marvel Universe? Usually it takes someone with the weight of James Gunn to provide enough of an influence to go in a different direction. That was the case with DC, the home of Superman and Batman, as Gunn started to move the label away from the acknowledged and huge impact of Geoff Johns on the DC portfolio.
Dubbed the DC Extended Universe, the influence of Johns’ impact was felt across multiple characters and storylines during his run. So, Gunn’s work is particularly in the spotlight, shifting away from these paradigms and into new territories for the DC heroes and their related stories.
Not a Rookie by Any Means
James Gunn in his own right, is a huge name to steer the DC stable through 2024. He’s famous for the wild box office success of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise on the Marvel side. Gunn has also had a number of non-comic book titles scored under his belt as well, such as Slither, Brightburn and even Scooby-Doo (a mostly real-actor remake of the famous kids cartoon show from the 1970s). Scoring success with an Avengers movie and then the trio of Guardian chapters, Gunn’s takeover of DC’s direction in movies makes sense.
Changing the Transmission Into Overdrive
Gunn isn’t holding back either. He knows Johns left a serious impression on DC. So, Gunn focuses on the biggest DC character, Superman. The expected project, Superman: Legacy, isn’t going to break open any surprises; instead, Gunn is focusing on rejuvenating the DC lineup for modern times. That likely means more character substance than just the tried-and-true formula of action, action and, by the way, more action.
Throwing in actor Nicholas Hoult as Lex Luthor, Superman’s nemesis, was a Gunn move that is going to win points. First, Hoult humanizes the evil character. Second, Hoult brings a tremendous amount of energy and acting experience to the character. Hoult played a critical, long-running role with his character in Skins, a British TV series that had multiple seasons about kids in high school. Ultimately, his Skins character went from Mr. Popular to a brain-damaged outsider looking in. It was a twisted path Hoult showed early excellence in playing.
So, while DC was in good hands, Gunn is likely to shake things up considerably. The results definitely look to be promising with what the former Guardians director has up his sleeves now.