The DCU has found its Clark Kent and Lois Lane. David Corensweet and Rachel Brosnahan won the parts from hundreds of hopefuls. For months, Corenswet has been a fan favorite, but Brosnahan’s casting was a pleasant surprise for many.
Superman: Legacy won’t be another origin story but will follow Kent in his early days at The Daily Planet alongside Lois Lane. The workplace relationship between Lois and Clark is a hallmark of Superman. And no doubt, casting Corenswet and Brosnahan required several on-screen chemistry tests.
Superman will be the first major role in a tentpole film for Corenswet, who made his big break out in Netflix’s Hollywood. He is emerging as a significant talent after earning plaudits for his performances in The Politician and the indie horror film Pearl. Brosnahan, the Emmy award-winning actress from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisal, needs no introduction.
At 29, Corenswet has a good ten years in the role. DC Films president James Gunn has also promised a brighter, more hopeful Superman film, consistent with the upbeat tone most moviegoers want. If Gunn gets the tone right, Corenswet should become firmly established in the role.
Brosnahan, 32, will be the fourth actor to play Lois Lane on the big screen. Margot Kidder set the standard in Christopher Reeves’ four Superman movies. Then Kate Bosworth took over for Brandon Routh’s Superman Returns. Most recently, Amy Adams portrayed The Daily Planet’s top reporter in Man of Steel (2013), Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), and 2017’s Justice League.
The first Superman film in the new DCU will deliver some fresh surprises.
Most notable is the presence of The Authority, a group of superheroes who use extreme measures to fight crime. Often described as the anti-Justice League, The Authority will appear in at least two films. Gunn announced the team’s standalone movie as part of the DCU slate for “Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters”. But he only recently confirmed they would be antagonists in Superman: Legacy. The Authority has godlike powers but often acts like monsters. Somewhere in this plot, Supes arch-nemesis Lex Luthor will be pulling strings, likely using The Authority for his own ends.
Gunn’s synopsis of Superman: Legacy suggests the Man of Steel will also battle the attitudes of many humans sympathetic to The Authority’s brand of justice. “He [Superman] is the embodiment of truth, justice, and the American way. He is kindness in a world that thinks of kindness as old-fashioned,” Safran said earlier this year.
Corenswet has his work cut out for him in leading the new DCU. Henry Cavill, often described as “this generation’s Superman,” could be Corenswet’s kryptonite. In 2013’s Man of Steel, Cavill distinguished himself as the first actor to explore Superman’s difficulties with his superpowers and the plight of choosing between the people of Krypton and Earth. He returned to the role for the divisive Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, the much-maligned theatrical release of Justice League, and the corrected version, Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
For years, fans campaigned for Man of Steel 2, and in October 2022, Cavill took to Instagram to announce his return. However, after his brief cameo in Black Adam failed to attract audiences, Warner Brothers Discovery announced that a new actor would play a new Superman in the DCU. Dropping Cavill angered fans, and Gunn’s flippant way of dealing with such a large fan base on social media could cripple the box office of Superman: Legacy.
Unlike Corenswet, Cavill never had to shake off the stigma of a failed cinematic universe, which has put the DC brand on life support. After a string of high-profile failures–Black Adam, Shazam! Fury of the Gods and The Flash–the damaged DC brand could undermine the new Superman film. Unfortunately, the DCEU did not conclude as expected at the end of The Flash. With Jason Momoa appearing in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom four months after the release of the DCU’s first film, Blue Beetle, audiences will likely be confused about exactly where the DCEU ends and the DCU begins.
Gunn shifted many cast from The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker TV series to the new DCU. And it is still uncertain whether Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller will continue as Aquaman and The Flash also. These cast members are firmly established in the DCEU. The DCU needs a clean break from the DCEU to give Superman: Legacy a fair chance at the box office.
Gunn wrote the screenplay for the new Superman film and will direct it early next year. Superman: Legacy debuts on the big screen on July 11, 2025
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