DC’s James Gunn Criticizes Gratuitous Cameos in Superhero Movies

James Gunn, co-head of DC Studios and director of the upcoming Superman: Legacy, made his standards clear on what constitutes a worthwhile superhero cameo, and what doesn’t.

In a series of responses on the social media site Threads (via Variety), Gunn argued that the big names from classic comics doesn’t mean that Superman: Legacy has an inflated cast. “It’s normal for single protagonist films to have other characters – much more unusual for them not to,” he said. Regarding the tendency of some movies to pack in as many characters as possible, he stated, “I call that ‘Cameo Porn’ and it has been one of the worst elements of recent superhero films.”

“If a character is in film, they have to have a reason to be there story-wise,” Gunn continued in the thread. “I don’t mind actual cameos – if it’s a glimpse or a moment, an Easter egg. What bothers me is when they mangle an elegant story by shoehorning characters in – they aren’t there because the story calls for it, but for some other reason.”

Plenty of DC mainstays in Superman: Legacy

As part of the new  DC Universe, Superman: Legacy has a fresh cast, led by David Corenswet as the latest Man of Steel. Rachel Brosnahan is playing Lois Lane, while Skyler Gisondo has been cast as Jimmy Olsen and Nicholas Hoult as the villainous Lex Luthor.

The movie will also feature Sara Sampaio as Eve Teschmacher, Isabela Merced as Hawkgirl, María Gabriela de Faría as The Engineer, Edi Gathegi as Mister Terrific, Nathan Fillion as Guy Gardner, and Anthony Carrigan as Metamorpho.

With co-head Peter Safran, Gunn is building up the DCU from scratch. Following 2023’s Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, 2024 will bring an animated Creature Commandos series. Superman: Legacy follows in 2025, while James Gunn’s brother Sean Gunn was recently cast as  Maxwell Lord and is expected to appear in forthcoming DCU projects.

Superman: Legacy releases in United States theaters on July 11, 2025.

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