James Gunn Might've Just Accidentally Revealed the Secret Villain of His Superman Movie

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
David Corenswet as Superman, James Gunn

The villain for James Gunn's Superman, releasing in 2025, has yet to be confirmed, but the director may have just spoiled who it will be.

The DCU's Superman has announced a stacked cast including several major Justice League superheroes, but plot details, including the identity of the movie's main villain, remain vague at best.

Past live-action Superman movies have pitted the Man of Steel against General Zod, Doomsday, and Lex Luthor, while other iconic villains from his rogues gallery such as Brainiac, Bizzaro, Metallo, and Parasite have gone largely ignored.

Who Is the Villain in James Gunn's Superman Movie?

In a post on Threads, Superman director James Gunn revealed all the speaking roles in his DC Studios film have "now been filled:"

"All roles in Atlanta have been filled (I think all speaking roles in the film have now been filled actually)."

Naturally, this had left many wondering who would play the lead villain for Superman, as fans were expecting that casting to still be on the way. Brainiac had been widely speculated to be the villain for Gunn's DC blockbuster, but those theories appear to have been debunked with the news that casting is done.

Superman has only announced one outright DC villain casting so far with Nicholas Hoult's Lex Luthor. But most are still expecting David Corenswet's Clark Kent to go toe-to-toe with another villain who will pose more of a physical threat to Superman.

The movie cast one other morally questionable character in María Gabriela de Faría as the Engineer, but she is unlikely to pose any massive threat to Superman this time as she will return as part of another DCU ensemble flick in The Authority.

After all, James Gunn has a famous fondness for lesser-known and more obscure characters, making it unlikely his Superman script would be simple enough to only include the Man of Steel's most famous and often-adapted villain.

So perhaps the villain actor for Superman has already been not just cast but announced and hiding in plain sight - David Corenswet.

David Corenswet
David Corenswet

The six-foot-four actor will be leading the way in Superman as the new Man of Steel, taking over from the DCEU's Henry Cavill, but some have theorized he may also be tagging in for villain duties as none other than Bizarro.

Bizarro was created in 1958 and has long been a recurring villain of Superman, being a clone of the Man of Steel with a flipped powerset.

Bizarro, DC

Insider MyTimeToShineHello may have even hinted at Bizarro's inclusion in claiming Corenswet is "playing more than one role" in Superman. With Bizarro being a botched clone of the Man of Steel, such a part would be played by the same actor as Clark Kent, explaining his supposed dual roles.

Of course, that is not to say Bizzaro is the only option for a villain along these lines, as there are other "evil Superman" characters in DC whom Corenswet could play.

For example, Ultraman is a Superman from an alternate Earth filled with villainous counterparts to iconic superheroes who make up the Crime Syndicate.

Ultraman, DC

However, any exploration of Ultraman would undoubtedly require some changes as Superman isn't currently expected to dive into the Multiverse.

Gunn added fuel to the 'Corenswet as the a villain' fire in another post on Threads as well, remarking that, "The main villain of Superman is, shockingly, Lex Luthor:" 

"The primary protagonist of 'Superman' is, shockingly, Superman. The main villain of Superman is, shockingly, Lex Luthor. I don’t know where all the stuff is coming from that it’s something other than this. There are so many stories coming out every day it’s difficult to deal with and everytime I strike something down I’m giving it attention. So, I’ll say again, don’t believe anything unless you see it HERE (& why would you want to know everything before the movie comes out anyway?)"

While he noted the movie's primary antagonist, the director did not deny rumors of Corenswet playing two different characters in the DC blockbuster, meaning he could potentially be a side villain.

How an Evil Superman Could Fit Into James Gunn's Movie

Bizarro has had multiple origins over his many years in DC Comics but on several occasions, the Superman clone has been created by Lex Luthor, who has funnily enough already been confirmed for a starring role in the 2025 movie.

Either through creating or allying himself with Bizarro, Lex Luthor has often been tied to the flawed Superman clone, using him as a weapon to counter Superman.

Perhaps Luthor could also seek to use a corrupted Superman duplicate to alter the public's view of the Man of Steel. This would contribute to the movie's original and since-scrapped Legacy subtitle as the genius villain would look to distort the public image of the Justice League superhero for years to come.

That said, the trope of an evil Superman has been heavily explored over recent years with The Boys' Homelander, Invincible's Omniman, and Brightburn. The notion of diving into it once again may sound unappealing to some who have grown tired of this trope and were hoping for something fresh from Superman.

Superman hits theaters on July 11, 2025.

- In This Article: Superman: Legacy
Release Date
July 11, 2025
- 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.