James Gunn's Superman Movie: Kingdom Come Connections Explained

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
Kingdom Come, Superman logo

Director James Gunn teased connections to DC's "Kingdom Come" storyline in his upcoming Superman movie (formerly titled Superman: Legacy).

As Gunn's Superman finally enters production, plot details on the DCU flick are being kept under wraps. The DC Studios boss has cast many new characters for the movie, including several fresh superheroes, but the story remains unclear.

The movie's synopsis promises it will see David Corenswet's Man of Steel "reconcile his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing:"

"'Superman: Legacy' tells the story of Superman’s journey to reconcile his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing as Clark Kent of Smallville, Kansas. He is the embodiment of truth, justice, and the American way, guided by human kindness in a world that sees kindness as old-fashioned.”

James Gunn's Kingdom Come Superman Teases

James Gunn's "Kingdom Come" teases began in December 2022, just one month into his reign as DC Studios co-CEO as he shared the most iconic image from the storyline and its Superman with the caption, "Making plans."

James Gunn Kingdom Come Tease

And now, as production is just getting underway on Superman, Gunn revealed the official logo for the new Man of Steel. While the red and yellow color scheme of the logo may differentiate it from the distinct red and black of the "Kingdom Come" Superman emblem, its unique pattern reveals clear similarities.

James Gunn Superman Logo, Kingdom Come

Explaining DC's Kingdom Come

Firstly, what is the "Kingdom Come" story about? Well, it was a four-issue limited series written by Mark Waid set in an alternate-future DC universe.

The story explores a world where key Justice League superheroes such as Superman have retired as the public began to show a preference for a newer generation of protectors who are more willing to use lethal force.

However, a tragedy in Kansas saw the death of Captain Atom cause a nuclear explosion that destroyed the American Midwest, leading to many casualties and these newer superheroes further pushing their limits. 

As such, Superman put an end to his retirement as he returned to reassemble the Justice League and restore order, leading to a conflict between the generations.

How Kingdom Come Connects to James Gunn's Superman

As James Gunn's Superman will be kickstarting a whole new universe of DC superheroes as opposed to focusing on an older and troubled world, the potential connections to "Kingdom Come" may initially appear confusing.

One key difference in the DCU's Superman versus that of "Kingdom Come" comes with the age of the Man of Steel. While the DC Comics tale follows that of an older Kryptonian exiting retirement somewhere around his '60s, the James Gunn flick will star one the same age as actor David Corenswet, making him around 30.

David Corenswet Superman
David Corenswet vs. "Kingdom Come" Superman

Perhaps the story of Superman will instead revolve around a younger Kal-El coming into the spotlight as a superhero to inspire hope, both toward these existing superheroes who may have lost their way and a new generation.

The DCU flick has announced several superheroes who will appear outside of the Man of Steel including Edi Gathegi's Mr. Terrific, Isabela Merced's Hawkgirl, Anthony Carrigan's Metamorpho, and Nathan Fillion's Green Lantern.

This could also set up for The Authority, a DCU movie that will star a group of heroes known for being cynical and brutal. Members of this team, including the Engineer who will appear in Superman and be played by María Gabriela de Faría, could be among those at the forefront of these more brutal heroes.

As such, this could see Kal-El deliver his on-brand hope to both these older and more established heroes, along with laying the groundwork for the many new characters who will join the DCU in the coming years.

So, while Superman will not be the first hero of this world as he will be joining a universe where superheroes already exist, his arrival ought to mark a turning point in this DC saga, and thus an intriguing point to enter it. 

While this is mostly conjecture for the moment, there are clear signs Superman will take inspiration from the "Kingdom Come" storyline. But these will likely result in more of a surface-level use of the basic premise and themes, as opposed to a direct adaptation of the story and its events.

Superman, directed by James Gunn, hits theaters on July 11, 2025.

Read more about Gunn's new DCU movie below:

James Gunn's Superman Movie: First Look at Logo Possibly Revealed (Photo)

James Gunn Confirms What We All Suspected About How His New Lex Luthor Will Look

3 Marvel Actors Now Expected to Appear In James Gunn’s New Superman Movie

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.