Superman: Legacy Controversy Erupts Involving James Gunn and Bassem Youssef

An Egyptian-American comedian claims he was cut and the script was changed which sees IGN and James Gunn refute the notion.

An Egyptian-American comedian claims he was cut and the script was changed which sees IGN and James Gunn refute the notion.

superman legacy james gunn basse youssef

It’s another day and it’s another disaster at DC as a controversy has erupted surrounding the new DCU, Superman: Legacy, James Gunn and Bassem Youssef.

Bassem Youssef is an Egyptian-American comedian, tv host, and surgeon who says he was cast in James Gunn’s Superman: Legacy but then cut from the movie.

Youssef says he has been cut from Superman: Legacy because of his politics and that the script was changed. He says he was cut from the movie following a viral interview with Piers Morgan in October where he spoke out about the conflict in Gaza in support of Palestine and against Israel.

However, James Gunn refutes what Bassem Youssef is claiming.

James Gunn Superman Legacy

James Gunn and politics

Recall James Gunn was fired by Disney over controversial tweets that right-wingers brought up in response to Gunn’s tweets about Donald Trump.

It’s also been said Superman: Legacy involves a plot surrounding terrorists in the Middle East, but it’s thought Gunn had to rewrite that because of the current situation between Israel and Palestine, which seems to be suggested by Bassem Youssef below.

Also worth a mention is that new Superman actor David Corenswet is Jewish.

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David Corenswet fan art

“We changed the script”

In a follow up interview to the Piers Morgan interview, per the video description, Youssef says he thinks speaking out against the Israeli government and the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza cost him a role in the upcoming Superman: Legacy film.

The interviewer mentions to Bassem Youssef: “You’ve been very outspoken on behalf of Palestinian humanity and you lost a role in the new Superman movie and some other projects. What do you feel comfortable sharing about it?”

Youssef responds (bold my own emphasis):

I was a little bit bitter about losing the role, and I was kind of very sad. Why, in the United States of America, you can talk about Joe Biden, and you can talk about Donald Trump, but you cannot criticize a foreign government? Which is kind of very sad. And then, because of that… I was cast in the movie, Superman, and then they told me, “We changed the script.” After this Piers Morgan interview. And I want to assume good faith. I want to know, I want to believe that this is true. And I was a little bit bitter, and I wanted to go, I was like, “Oh, screw DC, screw Warner Brothers.”

But then I understand, I understand the emotional burden that those people have. I mean, those people have a connection with Israel. Yeah, I understand. For them, Israel is not a place, it’s not just a country, it is an emotional connection, because those people and their ancestors went through generational trauma that I understand.

So for them, the whole world, when they give up on them, they have a place, a strong place that can defend them. So I understand that connection. And I understand maybe the people who are in charge, that took the decision, looked at me and didn’t want to have me. And maybe I understand. If I am Arab Muslim, I was the head of Warner Bros., I wouldn’t like a pro-Zionist or pro-Israel to be in my movie if he attacked my people. I understand. This is the thing that we need to dissect: when I attack Israel, I attack its policy, I’m not attacking Jewish people. I want to tell those people, “I’m not a danger to you.” Because that dream, that idea that you long for, and it’s important to have, the right-wing government in Israel has spoiled that dream. It has ruined it. And you should not feel obliged to continue supporting something that’s so heinous and hideous. If you look at the facts, I think Israel is the biggest threat to Jewish people all around the world.

james gunn nicholas hoult superman legacy
Nicholas Hoult and James Gunn

James Gunn confirms IGN’s sources

IGN wrote an article about the controversy where IGN says:

A source close to the production, however, disputes Youssef’s timeline, telling IGN that Youssef’s character was dropped from Superman: Legacy well before the Piers Morgan interview.

According to our source, writer/director James Gunn was indeed in talks with Youssef to play the character Rumaan Harjavti. The character was dropped entirely from the script, though, by at least September, before the Morgan interview. Therefore, the source says, Youssef was never offered the role to begin with, and the issue does indeed come down to script changes and the character being cut altogether.

Following IGN’s article, James Gunn confirmed what IGN sources said is true, that Youssef was never offered the role to begin with in Superman: Legacy:


Variety adds in their report:

However, production insiders disputed the timeline of events. 

According to a source close to the production, the character was in the script, and Gunn talked to Youssef about possibly playing the role, but a formal offer was never made and talks never went further, because the character was dropped from the script before the strikes started. The changes to the story were made prior to Hamas’ attack in Israel.


Egyptian-born comedian Bassem Youssef claims he lost a role in James Gunn’s Superman Legacy movie due to his public support of Palestine during a Piers Morgan: Uncensored October interview, however, a source close to production tells Deadline, that’s not the case: Youssef was never formerly offered the role.

We hear that Youssef taped an audition pre-actors strike for the role of Rumaan Harjadi. However, by the time Gunn turned in his final shooting strike post writers’ strike ending in late September, that role was cut. This was all before the tragic events of Oct. 7, 2023. Hence per the Superman Legacy production source — no official ask was made to Youssef. Given that the actors strike was still ongoing in late September, and didn’t end until early November, no communication about Youssef obtaining or not obtaining the role would have been communicated to him.


Superman: Legacy sources are pushing back on actor Bassem Youssef’s claim that he lost a potential role in James Gunn‘s upcoming Warner Bros. film over comments he made that were critical of Israel.

According to insiders, Gunn and Youssef discussed a role prior to the writers strike beginning in May, but the character was ultimately cut from the final script after the labor dispute ended in late September, but before the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel. The actor did not have a formal offer for the role.

Youssef was eyed to play the leader of a fictional a middle eastern country in the DC universe.

The Wrap:

The Egyptian-born TV host and satirist never officially received an offer to star in the superhero film. According to an insider with knowledge of the project, that segment of the script was cut prior to the tragic Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

Bassem Youssef has responded where he says in part he hopes he wasn’t let go because of his political views and that he’s a big fan of James Gunn:

A rumor now offers the Middle Eastern plot has been dropped.

Superman: Legacy has a July 11, 2025 release written and directed by Gunn with filming expected to begin in March.

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