Henry Cavill's Superman Replacement: New Actor Traits Confirmed by Director

By Gillian Blum Posted:
Henry Cavill's Superman

At the Los Angeles premiere of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, DC Studios co-CEO James Gunn revealed the traits he's looking for in the actor who will ultimately succeed Henry Cavill as DC's big-screen Superman.

With the announcement of the soft-reboot of cinematic and television projects in the DCU, fans have anxiously awaited any news on who the new Superman actor who will replace Cavill will be.

Gunn has been teasing that there are names in the works, though no specifics have been released yet.

Now, the co-CEO has revealed some of the traits he's seeking out in the soon-to-be Superman.

What Is James Gunn Looking For in Superman?

Superman comic

In an interview with Variety, James Gunn discussed the traits he's looking for in the next Superman for his DCU reboot, also confirming that "it's not Chris Pratt" playing the role.

Gunn explained that they "actually have some really great choices" in the works and that they are "looking" for the right actor to replace Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel:

"It’s hard but we’re looking. And we actually have some really great choices, which I’m excited about."

He then broke down the three main traits he's looking for in whoever is cast. First, the actor cast needs "all the humanity that Superman has:"

"It has to be somebody who has all the humanity that Superman has, but he’s also an alien."

Gunn then said that the new Superman must have Superman's "kindness and compassion:"

"It’s gotta be somebody who has the kindness and compassion that Superman has."

Finally, in some vivid imagery, Gunn explained that Superman should be someone you want to receive "a hug" from:

"And it has to be somebody that you’d want to give you a hug."

Gunn added that he is hoping to "add to" the canon of "all the Supermen:"

"You know, all the Supermen have been good, so we just have to add to that story."

A Comics-Accurate Superman For New DCU

These key characteristics — "humanity," "compassion" and the comfort that comes with a "hug" — are all critical to the character of Superman in the comics.

This is good news for DC fans who felt that Henry Cavill's stories deviated far from the source material, or who are looking for a Superman that speaks to the hope and optimism that his comics counterpart does.

This also indicates an overall light-heartedness and breath-of-fresh-air attitude from Gunn about these characters, especially when compared to the dark and gritty SnyderVerse.

This is not to say that Superman: Legacy, the movie featuring this new Superman, will be all happiness and hilarity — Gunn has revealed that the film will not be a goofy comedy like Guardians of the Galaxy or Peacemaker.

Ultimately, though, the prospect of a lighter-hearted Superman bodes well for comics fans and Superman fans alike.

Superman: Legacy will premiere on July 11, 2025.

- About The Author: Gillian Blum
Gillian Blum has been a writer at The Direct since 2022, reporting primarily from New York City. Though she covers news from across the entertainment industry, Gillian has a particular focus on Marvel and DC, including comics, movies, and television shows. She also commonly reports on Percy Jackson, Invincible, and other similar franchises.