One of the long-beloved exercises in comic book fandom is picking out the dream movie versions of your favorite characters, and with the announcement of James Gunn's new "Superman" movie, the fancast wheels are spinning like mad. It's a major bummer that Henry Cavill, who played the Man of Steel in the DC Extended Universe, won't be back in the red cape and spandex for the new film, but since it's focusing on a much younger Clark Kent/Superman, it only makes sense to cast someone else. As Gunn and Peter Safran move away from the DCEU and form the new DC Universe (DCU), they're going to have to recast a bunch of beloved characters, and it's probably good to rip the bandage off now. After all, we might end up with new versions of Wonder Woman, The Flash, or even Batman. 

Gunn has said that his new movie will follow a younger version of the character, as budding journalist and Kansas farm-boy Clark Kent finds his way in the world. Taking Superman back to his roots is a great way to bring in new fans and hopefully regain the trust of older ones burned by the repeated DC movie shakeups. And so it's time. Here are some potential picks for Gunn's young Supes!

Austin Butler

Based on looks, sex appeal, and the ability to beef up, "Elvis" star Austin Butler seems like a shoo-in to play the young Clark Kent. The all-American actor has proven that he's willing to do whatever it takes for a role with his intense training for Baz Luhrmann's latest, and photos of him as the King aren't really that far off from what he might look like as Superman. His hair is even almost doing the perfect little curly-cue! At 31, Butler is probably on the upper end of the age range for actors playing a "young" Clark Kent, but it's not unreasonable if he's playing the character just after he graduated from journalism school and is freshly starting out at the Daily Planet. Butler would be a great post-college Kent, and he more than has the chops (and beefcake factor) to play the Superman and Kal-El aspects of the character.

Butler has worked with some of the biggest, most creative directors of our time, including Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, and Jim Jarmusch, plus he has experience with the DC universe from his time the CW series "Arrow." Teaming with Gunn and playing Superman just seems like the logical next step for this rising star. 

Skyler Gisondo

Whoever plays this younger Clark Kent is going to have to have a warm kind of earnestness about them, and Skyler Gisondo fits the bill. The actor, who caught my attention as wayward son Gideon Gemstone on "The Righteous Gemstones," has the kind of corn-fed Kansas look that young Superman needs, plus he's a fantastic performer with practice at playing layered characters. As Gideon, he pretends to be a reformed and well-behaved Christian boy despite being quite the opposite, and it's fun to see elements of each part of his personality play against one another. That kind of take could easily be applied to young Clark as he starts working at the Daily Planet, hiding his interstellar heritage and true nature from everyone around him. 

"The Righteous Gemstones" was created by Jody Hill, who directed an episode of "Peacemaker" for Gunn, so it's entirely possible that Gisondo and Gunn have crossed paths in some way behind-the-scenes. Working together to bring a new Superman story to life, they could be brilliant. 

Dacre Montgomery

If Gunn is looking to cast pure, unadulterated beefcake, then he should look no further than "Stranger Things" star Dacre Montgomery, who played the ill-fated Billy. While Billy is about as far from Clark Kent as you can get, character-wise, Montgomery has the chiseled jaw and perfected physique to be a very believable Kryptonian. He also has experience when it comes to performing in a superhero-ish franchise, as he starred as Jason, the Red Ranger, in the 2017 "Power Rangers" movie. (The film also starred Gunn collaborator Elizabeth Banks, who could play a killer Martha Kent if she wanted!) 

As an Australian actor, Montgomery doesn't quite fit the "All-American" mold of Superman, but then again, Cavill is British! I'm curious to see what Montgomery can do with a big, juicy role, and there's a lot to chew on with young Clark Kent. Just picture him with some thick glasses and the black hair. It works, right?

Owen Vaccaro

If Butler is on the high end for age for potential Supermans (Supermen? Supermani?), then 16-year-old Owen Vaccaro is definitely on the young end. If Gunn decides that he wants to start with Clark at the very beginning of his journalism career, however, he would have to go back to high school. Clark's interest in the news started early, and a movie could follow a teenage Clark as he works on the school newspaper and learns how to reconcile his powers with his humanity in Smallville. Vaccaro is a fantastic young actor who more than looks the part when he has dark hair, and his work in films like "The House With a Clock in Its Walls" and "Finding 'Ohana" has proven that he's a rising star to watch. 

While this route might seem a little far-fetched, folks should remember that Gunn produced the anti-Superman flick "Brightburn," and this could be his chance to do an anti-"Brightburn." Gunn loves returning to old ideas with fresh perspectives, so I wouldn't count out a story about a teenage Superman just yet.

A total unknown

There are many, many actors who could theoretically play Clark Kent, but the absolute best tactic might be to hire someone that isn't really a known name. Christopher Reeve was mostly a theater actor working off-Broadway when Richard Donner cast him in "Superman" back in 1978. He was a relative unknown, especially compared to some of the other actors he was competing against for the role (like Sylvester Stallone!). But that worked well for the character, who was supposed to be a superpowered alien pretending to be a wholesome middle American journalist out of his depth in the big city. Instead of looking at the screen and seeing a movie star, audiences looked at the screen and saw Superman, and the character and actor became totally synonymous with one another for years. 

Picking someone who has worked in theater, abroad, or in independent films but hasn't quite made the jump to big blockbuster fare just yet is honestly probably the best move. Gunn works well with actors from a variety of backgrounds, as long as they have a sense of humor, and picking someone smaller to make the new face of Superman could be the best choice for everyone. 

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