Comics lover nation

Legacy Is in Good Hands

  • Share

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has been in theaters for nearly a week now, bringing James Gunn’s tenure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to a climactic close. Luckily, Vol. 3 will be far from Gunn’s last foray into the superhero genre, as he and Peter Safran will be co-leading DC Studios. The first ten projects in Gunn and Safran’s slate have already been announced, including Superman: Legacy, a reboot of the Man of Steel which will be written and directed by Gunn himself. Updates surrounding Legacy have been scattered amid the film entering pre-production, and it’s still a mystery as to who will even be cast in the film’s ensemble. Still, after Vol. 3, it’s abundantly clear that the film is in good hands. Spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 lurk below! Only look if you want to know!

None of the new narrative threads in Vol. 3 — Rocket Raccoon’s (Bradley Cooper) tragic backstory of torture by the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), Adam Warlock’s (Will Poulter) long-awaited emergence from his cocoon, and Peter Quill / Star-Lord’s (Chris Pratt) relationship with the time-displaced Gamora (Zoe Saldana) who doesn’t remember their epic love affair — are lifted directly from the comics. But every second of Vol. 3 still exhibits a profound reverence for the source material, littered with even deeper deep-cut Marvel easter eggs, but also an unflinching commitment to who the characters have been on the page. Gunn has already been incredibly effective with that approach over at DC, with The Suicide Squad capturing the incredibly-specific energy of the John Ostrander-penned Suicide Squad run of the 1980s while boasting a roster and a villain who had not crossed paths, and Peacemaker expanding the titular character’s sporadic pieces of lore into a bizarre and deeply-personal character study.

But Vol. 3‘s approach — not only honoring the near-decade of time that the Guardians have been on our screens, but so much of the weird comic lore that surround them — only further heightened its emotional roller coaster, instead of ever feeling like fan service. If even an ounce of that reverence is applied to Superman: Legacy and the near-century of lore that can possibly be drawn from, the result can potentially be something special. Nearly everyone, even if they don’t realize it, already has some sort of preconceived notion about Superman — and instead of subverting it entirely as some previously have, Gunn has the opportunity to use that to his advantage, while still surprising us along the way.

Circling back to that emotional roller coaster — Vol. 3 was billed, even in the years leading up to its release, as incredibly heart-wrenching. The actual execution of the movie delivered in that regard, between the Guardians fighting tooth and nail to save Rocket from a sudden death, the unspoken trauma of Rocket’s childhood torture, and the profound way that the group decides to disband. While that might seem a bit more extreme than whatever Legacy probably has in store, Vol. 3 proves the kind of balance and emotional resonance that the film may very well have. Sure, Gunn has teased that the film will highlight the character’s “humanity”, “kindness” and “compassion”, but it’s safe to assume that’ll involve tugging on some heartstrings. Look no further than All-Star Superman, which Gunn has repeatedly cited as an influence on Legacy, and which is arguably among the best modern, but heartfelt examinations of the character.

At the absolute least, Vol. 3 is a promising indicator for however Legacy might approach Superman’s origin story. We’re already familiar with the beats of Krypton’s destruction — outside of the senseless murders of Batman’s parents and Spider-Man’s uncle, it might be the superhero tragedy that is most ubiquitous. But that doesn’t mean that Gunn can’t find a new, emotional angle to approach it. Vol. 3 proved that by giving the audience moments that it was expecting and dreading, like the deaths of Rocket’s childhood friends and the team’s decision to part ways, but in a way that was no less impactful. The fact that Vol. 3 was able to strike such a specific emotional chord along the way, adding moments of true happiness and humor amid the definitive conclusion, is all the more of a miracle.

On top of all of that, Vol. 3 is filled with aesthetic choices that could tease what’s in store for the look of Superman: Legacy. While Gunn’s superhero films have all had a distinct approach to costume and set design, electing for detailed practical effects as much as possible, there’s definitely a sense of visual grandiosity with Vol. 3. It’s easy to imagine the attention to detail on the massive sets of Knowhere and the High Evolutionary’s headquarters being awarded to Krypton or Metropolis. The High Evolutionary’s garb and the Abnett and Lanning-inspired team uniforms from costume designer Judianna Makovsky, who is already reported to be part of Legacy, are stunning. The fluidity of Vol. 3‘s action sequences involving Adam Warlock also need to be mentioned, as they could be just a taste of how Superman’s flight is shot in Legacy. Hell, if Superman’s pet sidekick Krypto the Superdog does appear in Legacy, the Guardians‘ saga’s approach to Maria Bakalova’s Cosmo the Spacedog is a pretty strong blueprint.

We’re still over two years out from the premiere of Superman: Legacy, the first of several blockbusters planned in Gunn and Safran’s new DC Universe. Even without any footage, casting choices, or concrete hints, it’s already clear that the film is going to be significant — both in the DCU slate, and in our ever-evolving superhero landscape. But if James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 proves anything, his next work on Legacy could be wonderful.

Are you excited for James Gunn’s Superman: Legacy? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now playing in theaters. Superman: Legacy, meanwhile, will be released exclusively in theaters on July 11, 2025.

  • Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *