James Gunn is the next in line to try and give Superman an upgrade in his reboot that won’t enter production until next year, but a lot of you out there wonder if he is the right man for the job. He doesn’t do himself many favors when his story seems to change every week as to what Superman: Legacy is.

Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman in Justice League: Warworld (2023), Warner Bros. Entertainment

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“A workplace origin story” sounds like a good start at first glance. However, that is such an abstract idea that Gunn might fumble, and thus fail to bring the Man of Tomorrow back to his roots. Casting updates indicate Legacy is going to be cluttered — which, while that doesn’t mean it will turn into an unfocused mess, the risk is there.

Gunn might not know what fans want either despite how long he has been one. Dozens of other fans and creators could have better ideas to put Superman back on top. One who opined in the past that Gunn is in over his head, writer Chuck Dixon, has a pitch for what he thinks could work.

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Dixon is mainly associated with Batman but, he has known DC’s pantheon of characters up and down his entire career.

As a lifelong fan of all things Superman, such as the Max Fleischer cartoons, he knows what he wants to see in the next movie. It starts with giant robots, something a few pining for the unmade Superman Lives would like to hear.

Superman (Bud Collyer) fights a giant robot in Max Fleischer’s Superman: The Mechanical Monsters (1941), Paramount Pictures

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“My opening scene would be Superman vs. a giant robot,” Dixon explained on his YouTube channel. “I want to see Superman vs. a giant robot. Superman used to fight giant robots all the time. I love the Fleischer cartoon [where] he fights the magnetic monsters.”

“And wouldn’t you, with a scene like this, learn everything you wanted to know about Superman in a few minutes?” Deep down, he wouldn’t want to see a Superman film that doesn’t open like that — in a pseudo-James Bond opening that moves on with the story from there.

Superman (Jack Quaid) in My Adventures with Superman (2023), Warner Bros. Animation

The ensuing challenge forming the heart of the plot would be a threat to Metropolis and the Earth even Superman might have trouble stopping. However, he would use his strength and intelligence to defeat evil and surmount whatever peak he has to climb. “That’s the formula, it’s not that hard,” Dixon said.

The next question he read, how Dixon would fix Man of Steel’s ending, dovetails with all of the above. He answered that Superman would find another way to beat Zod without killing him — ideally through some means his foe didn’t think of or was unaware of. The natural place to plant the seed for that is the setup.

Michael Shannon as General Zod in Man of Steel (2013), Warner Bros. Pictures

The first 30 pages of the script, in other words, is the best place to introduce an object or MacGuffin that will be important later. And in a tightly written movie, you don’t see the twist coming which was the case Dixon remarked on with the sled, Rosebud, in Citizen Kane.

Wrapping up his thoughts on this subject, Dixon clarified that everything boils down to the language of cinema, which is shared and understood the world over. “We understand it better than you.” The bottom line is Chuck Dixon’s Superman would be principled and never kill because he’d never have to. “He’s smart enough to figure a way around it.”

Superman (Henry Cavill) is distressed after killing General Zod (Michael Shannon) in Man of Steel (2013), Warner Bros. Pictures

Do you agree with Dixon? Tell us your position below.

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  • About The Author

    JB Augustine

    Writer, journalist, comic reader. I cover all things DC and Godzilla. Fan since Batman TAS was brand new. Favorite character is between Swamp Thing and Darkwing Duck.