With Henry Cavill officially out as Superman in the DC Universe, audiences are anxious to see who will inherit his superhero mantle in James Gunn’s upcoming reboot film. This reboot, tentatively titled Superman: Legacywill follow the legendary hero in his first years fighting crime and working at the Daily Planet in Metropolis, so fans can expect to see a fresh, young face fly through the skies with the iconic red cape.
The search for the right actor to play the new Superman will surely be a challenging endeavor. Despite this, DC and Warner Bros. have had a long and successful history of finding once-relatively obscure actors and turning them into household names with the role of Superman. Right now, there are plenty of rising stars who are ready to shine as the next Man of Steel, and there are some who have already shown they are perfect to play him.
8. Charles Melton
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If Gunn wanted his Man of Steel to be impossibly good-looking and brooding, he can do no wrong with Charles Melton. The former Riverdale actor looks the right age for Gunn’s iteration (he’s 32 but looks almost a decade younger) and in pictures as diverse as The Sun is Also a Star, Bad Boys for Lifeand Heart of ChampionsMelton shows he can be a plausible romantic lead as well as an action star.
In addition, Melton’s casting would be a first for DC as he’s of mixed Korean heritage. Melton’s Superman would be the first Asian Man of Tomorrow, and would be a refreshing change from past portrayals of the character. He also gets bonus points for already perfecting the hair curl key that is iconic to the character’s look.
Courtney is likely known best for his role as Lee Flynn in Netflix’s Kissing Booth trilogy. However, Courtney first became famous for his childhood role leading J.J. Abrams’s sci-fi gem, Super 8for which he was given a Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Young Actor, along with many other award nominations.
Courtney has already shown that he is a qualified actor, and he’s already starred in the kind of alien adventures that Kal-El has found himself in. He also just appeared in the upcoming film Jesus Revolutionand based on its trailer, Courtney seems to capture the wide-eyed optimism and the worldly spirit that a young Clark Kent would radiate.
6. Fionn Whitehead
For those who may not remember, Fionn Whitehead had the lead role of Tommy Jensen in Christopher Nolan’s epic war film Dunkirkfor which he was nominated for an Empire Award for Best Male Newcomer. Despite this movie’s ensemble cast, he has shown with his performance that he is capable of carrying the kind of huge blockbusters that most superhero movies rank themselves among.
Likewise, Whitehead has had experience working in sci-fi, having led projects like the BBC series Him and Netflix’s Black Mirror Bandersnatch. All this shows that Whitehead is fit to join James Gunn’s new DC Universe.
5. David Corenswet
Audiences have seen David Corenswet rise to prominence in recent years with his roles in two of Ryan Murphy’s TV shows, The Politician and Hollywood. He also recently starred in A24 and director Ti West’s beloved horror film Pearl as the projectionist, who had a real Smallville, Kansas vibe to him.
This alone is proof that this up-and-coming actor can bring DC’s favorite superpowered farmboy back to cinemas in Gunn’s reboot. But more importantly, Corenswet has shown that he possesses the charm and charisma needed to play a young Superman.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, everyone loves Paul Mescaland with good reason. The 27 year-old actor has been on a hot streak ever since his attention-grabbing debut as the lovestruck Connell opposite Daisy Edgar-Jones in Hulu’s pandemic hit 2020 mini-series Normal People. He’s followed that up with roles in the acclaimed dramas The Lost Daughter and God’s Creatures and is nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his brilliant work in one of 2022’s best movies, After sun.
Hollywood has already tapped him to lead a blockbuster tentpole, Gladiator 2so it only makes sense for Gunn to select him to inaugurate the second coming of the DC Universe. Mescal’s Superman would be more soulful than others, and would tap into the character’s pain of being an orphan and alone in the world. We’ve already has Reeves screwball comedic Man of Steel and Cavill’s brawny iteration, so why not go in a different direction and focus more on Superman’s interior life rather than his buff physique?
3. Jacob Elordi
Audiences likely know Elordi best for his role as Nate Jacobs in HBO‘s acclaimed and cage-rattling series Euphoria. While it may be hard for some to see this despicable uber-jock as Superman, Elordi did play a more conventional teenage heartthrob in The Kissing Booth films. This shows that he has the range and experience as an actor to play the Last Son of Krypton on the big screen.
On top of that, Nate’s struggles with his masculinity and insecurity on Euphoria could translate to Elordi performance as Clark Kent, who is essentially Nate’s polar opposite. Part of what makes Superman so popular and relatable is his humbleness and vulnerability, so Elordi should know how to convey this character by not acting like Nate. And since his character in The Kissing Booth is a huge fan of Superman, perhaps his casting as the esteemed hero would be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
2. Darren Criss
Bearing a striking resemblance to Tyler Hoechlin, who plays Superman in the Arrowverse, Darren Criss has the look and skill to play the Blue Boy Scout on the silver screen. Not only is Criss famous for playing Blaine Anderson on Gleebut he also won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his riveting performance as notorious spree killer Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.
Such an acclaimed and diverse history as an actor makes Criss a worthy candidate to play DC’s first superhero in Gunn’s movie. And Criss is already ahead of the competition because, unlike the other actors on this list, he has already played Superman in film. Having voiced the Man of Steel in the animated movie Superman: Man of TomorrowCriss has already proven that he is capable of portraying the hero in live-action.
Eli Goree is the perfect choice for Superman. He’s relatively unknown like former Supermen Christopher Reeves and Brandon Routh, but has already shown enough range and physicality to prove has has what it takes the to don the cape and spandex. Even though he’s only 28, he has a vast amount of TV credits on his resume, including sci-fi and superhero shows like The 100, The Peripheraland yes, even a DC show (Legends of Tomorrow). Plus, he’s already played a real-life Superman, Cassius Clay, In Regina King’s critically acclaimed movie One Night in Miami.
Beyond his impressive previous work, young age, and relative anonymity, Goree has the charm, intelligence, and physique that fits the classic Superman mold. Just as important, his casting would make him the first Black Superman to fly on the big screen. Goree’s casting would shake things up in a good way, and make Gunn’s take more relevant, inclusive, and exciting.