James Gunn Wants To Kill Superman?

By Zack Zagranis | Published

james gunn superman

When James Gunn started hinting at the Superman comics that inspired his upcoming take on the Man of Steel, one particular one drew a lot of praise: All-Star Superman. There’s a good reason for this. All-Star Superman is often considered one of the best depictions of the character ever put on paper. It’s also a story where the hero is slowly dying from a terminal illness, which is a weird inspiration for the first movie in a new Superman franchise.

All-Star Superman

james gunn dcu

All-Star Superman was a maxiseries—DC’s name for a limited series that runs for 12 or more issues—written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Frank Quitely, that ran from 2005-2008. The story sees Superman diagnosed with a terminal condition caused by overexposure to the Sun. Upon finding out that he’s going to die, the hero attempts to make peace with the world in the little time he has left. Essentially, All-Star plays like a greatest hits album that celebrates elements from every era of the character’s existence, no matter how cheesy they come off in the modern era.

In other words, it’s a love letter to Superman that rewards readers who have been following his adventures for decades. What it’s not is a jumping-on point for folks who are just getting into the character. In truth, it’s kind of a terrible story for James Gunn to jumpstart the new DCU with.

Kingdom Come

kingdom come

I know that “inspired by” and “based on” are two different things and James Gunn could simply be borrowing the essence of All-Star Superman without adapting any of the plot. However, the recent reveal of the new S-symbol Gunn is using for his movie, combined with All-Star‘s bleak premise, has us concerned. Both Kingdom Come and All-Star Superman are late-stage Superman stories and should be the farthest thing from Gunn’s mind if he’s looking to begin a new chapter in the legacy of one of the most iconic figures in comics.

Snyder Didn’t Take Long

james gunn soperman

While I hate to be a doomsayer, I feel my fear is justified in this situation. Zack Snyder already showed us the worst possible outcome in this scenario by giving fans just one-and-a-half movies to get emotionally invested in his Superman before killing him off. That’s hardly enough time to establish a real connection with a character before getting rid of them.

The Signs Are There

Sure, Snyder resurrected Kal-El in the very next movie, but we would argue that it only made things worse by robbing his sacrifice against Doomsday of any meaning. Given his track record with the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, one would assume that Gunn is smarter than that when it comes to audiences needing time to bond with a character. On the other hand, he did begin his career as an edge lord working for the notoriously offensive indie studio Troma.

We wouldn’t put it past James Gunn to snuff out Superman in his first movie for the shock value alone.

Let’s Hope We’re Wrong

James Gunn DCU

Hopefully, Gunn is just into All-Star Superman for its aesthetic and not because he plans to kill David Corenswet‘s Clark Kent before anyone gets to know him. Fans should still keep their fingers crossed though, just in case.