Henry Cavill is best known as “that lame Superman guy” and/or a mustache, but now he will need to reinvent himself as he has both shaved and, apparently, quit being Superman. Yesterday word got out that after a three-movie run that includes some of the most divisive and unpopular superhero movies of all time, Cavill will be leaving the role of Superman. Why? “Scheduling conflicts.” They wanted him to make a cameo in Shazam!, it didn’t work out because of filming on Mission: Impossible – Fallout, so now he’s done as Superman. That doesn’t 100% track because a missed cameo is relatively minor, but apparently DC Films is looking to pivot to Supergirl, developing a movie for Superman’s cousin and building off the success of Wonder Woman, instead of perpetuating Zack Snyder’s misguided superhero vision. (Supergirl is also a popular show in DC’s television “Arrowverse” and I continue to believe doubling up characters like this will eventually bite them in the ass. Talent doesn’t like it and their agents HATE it.)
It’s clear that DC is moving in a new direction post-Zack Snyder, but that has not meant a talent dump across the board. It is widely assumed Ben Affleck is done as Batman—and it is shocking he isn’t the first one out—but Cavill is the only other person apparently done. Gal Gadot continues as Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa has Aquaman this December, Ezra Miller is still the Flash with a movie slated to film in 2019, and Margot Robbie is spinning off her own Harley Quinn project. So it’s not like DC is cleaning house and starting over—they’re not. But they are clearly moving away from the dark and gritty of before and toward something more upbeat and Marvel-like (except for that Joker-mark-Joaquin movie, which will undoubtedly be grim, for the prestige).
So apparently they don’t see Cavill and Superman as part of their new direction. There has been no real heat on a Man of Steel sequel despite lots of speculation and empty promises in the trades. It’s just not been urgent, especially since Man of Steel was not widely beloved, and people didn’t buy into Cavill as Superman, not like they have, say, Chris Evans as Captain America. (The popularity of Captain America makes the public less interested in Superman: Discuss.) I don’t think missing a cameo opportunity is enough to sh*tcan a whole character, but the notion of DC changing gears and Cavill no longer fitting into their plans does make a lot of sense.
However, no one actually confirmed this. Warner Brothers released a wishy-washy statement, saying, “We have a great relationship and great respect for Henry Cavill that continues to remain unchanged. Additionally we have made no current decisions regarding any upcoming Superman films.” First of all “continues to remain unchanged” is terrible syntax, and second, “no current decisions” doesn’t preclude ANY decisions, it just means you haven’t made a decision recently. That Shazam! stuff went down earlier this year, months ago, not exactly “current”. So it’s not a firm response either way. And Cavill added to the confusion by posting a weird Insta video that also neither confirms nor denies the report:
So what IS going on? My money is on Cavill is done being Superman, just like Affleck is done being Batman. We probably won’t get actual confirmations until Warners/DC has a plan in place on how to move forward, because that is what will look good to their shareholders. Right now they can soft-pedal it and try to look like they’re in control, and then later when they have an actual clue, they can release an official announcement of new projects/casting. (Please note the Deadline item that they are “even considering casting Michael B. Jordan in the role down the road” is not the same thing as actively pursuing MBJ. That sounds like water cooler talk at this point.) As for Henry Cavill, he has a new Netflix show to keep him occupied until the day he is officially no longer Superman.