The Quick Report

Superman: Legacy is Officially Coming — Will The New Superman Live Up To His Name?

It’s official. David Corenswet will become the newest actor to don Superman’s cape and take on the legacy of one of film and television’s most – if not the most – enduring superheroes.

Corenswet, 29, hails from Pennsylvania, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, and earned a BFA at Juilliard School.

As an actor, he is best known for his role in the 2022 movie Pearl, the TV series We Own This City and The Politician, and the 2022 film Look Both Ways.

Superman: Legacy – What to expect

The film is set in Superman’s early years as he tries to make sense of being a Kryptonian raised on Earth. Playing opposite Corenswet in the role of Lois Lane is actress Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel).

Director Gunn, who is also writing the script, has hinted that the film will feature iconic characters such as Lex Luther and superhero The Authority but has yet to reveal who might star in those roles.

Gunn has been widely lauded for teaming up with DC Co-CEO Peter Safran with Superman: Legacy and setting their ambitions on revamping the DC Universe.

With David Corenswet stepping into the title role, we decided we would rank our favorite five actors who have portrayed Superman in the past. Can Corenswet live up? We trust in Gunn and are excited to find out!

5. Brandon Routh

Brandon Routh as Superman
Warner Bros

Brandon Routh portrayed Superman in the 2006 film “Superman Returns.” Taking up the mantle after a long hiatus of Superman films, Routh had the challenging task of embodying the iconic character with his own interpretation while also paying homage to Christopher Reeve’s legendary portrayal. Routh’s performance was commendable, capturing the essence of Superman’s unwavering sense of duty and goodness. He portrayed Clark Kent as an earnest and slightly shy reporter, bringing an endearing charm to the character.

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While “Superman Returns” received mixed reviews, Routh’s portrayal was widely appreciated. He managed to evoke the spirit of Christopher Reeve’s Superman, bringing nostalgia to longtime fans. Routh’s Superman left an impact by showcasing the enduring appeal of the character, proving that even after many years, the world still yearned for the symbol of hope that Superman represents.


4. George Reeves

George Reeves as Superman
NCP

George Reeves portrayed Superman in the 1950s TV series “Adventures of Superman.” He was the first actor to bring the character to life on the small screen, leaving an indelible mark on popular culture. Reeves’s portrayal of Superman was defined by his stoic and strong demeanor, making the character an aspirational figure for the children of that era. His Clark Kent was mild-mannered and bumbling, creating a clear contrast when he transformed into the heroic Superman.

Reeves’s portrayal popularized the image of Superman for a generation, and his character became synonymous with the idea of a “Man of Steel.” Although he faced challenges typecasting, Reeves’s Superman remains iconic and laid the foundation for future adaptations, becoming a beloved symbol of justice and heroism.


3. Henry Cavill

Henry Cavill as Superman
Warner Bros

Henry Cavill portrayed Superman in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) starting with “Man of Steel” in 2013. His portrayal brought a modern and more grounded perspective to the character. Cavill’s Superman faced internal conflicts, struggling with his identity and place in the world as an alien with god-like powers. This added depth and complexity to the character, making him more relatable to contemporary audiences.

Cavill’s physically imposing presence and charismatic performance lent an aura of strength and authority to Superman. Despite the divisive reception of the DCEU films, Cavill’s portrayal was widely praised, with many fans appreciating his commitment to the role and his ability to convey the emotional turmoil of a hero burdened by the weight of his decisions.


2. Tom Welling

Tom Welling as Superman
WB / CW

Tom Welling portrayed Clark Kent in the TV series “Smallville,” which aired from 2001 to 2011. Although the show focused on Clark’s journey to becoming Superman, Welling’s portrayal left a significant impact on the character’s development. “Smallville” delved into the formative years of Clark Kent, exploring his struggles with identity, responsibility, and love while discovering his powers.

Welling’s portrayal of a young Clark Kent resonated with audiences, as they witnessed the transformation of a teenager with extraordinary abilities into the legendary hero. His character’s growth over the series created a unique bond with viewers who followed the story for a decade. Welling’s Clark Kent was characterized by his empathy, vulnerability, and innate goodness, which showcased the human side of Superman.


1. Christopher Reeve

Christover Reeve as Superman
Warner Bros

Christopher Reeve is widely regarded as the quintessential Superman, having portrayed the character in four movies from 1978 to 1987. His performance as both Clark Kent and Superman was nothing short of iconic. Reeve’s embodiment of the dual personas was masterful – he portrayed Clark as endearing and clumsy, while his Superman was a symbol of hope, courage, and virtue.

Reeve’s portrayal of Superman set the gold standard for all future iterations. He captured the essence of the character’s unwavering moral compass and imbued him with warmth and charm that resonated with audiences worldwide. Beyond his on-screen portrayal, Reeve’s genuine love for the character and his dedication to making a positive impact on the world following his tragic accident made him a real-life hero as well.

Christopher Reeve’s legacy as Superman is unparalleled, and his impact on the character will forever be remembered as the embodiment of truth, justice, and the American way.