Henry Cavill Belongs In DCU, But Not As Superman

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

james gunn henry cavill

Most Superman fans are looking forward to seeing what James Gunn does with the character in Superman: Legacy, the film that properly kicks off the brand-new DCU. However, even the most excited fans have to admit that it will be difficult saying goodbye to Henry Cavill, the talented actor who so iconically played the Man of Steel and served as the face of the DCEU from beginning to end. It’s important for the DCEU to properly pass the torch, and we’ve got the perfect solution: Henry Cavill needs to appear in the DCU playing someone other than Superman.

Henry Cavill Should Play A Different Character

For some hardcore fans, it may be difficult to imagine Henry Cavill playing anyone but Superman in the DCU. That’s understandable…when someone so perfectly brings a superhero to life, it becomes hard to see them as anything other than their most famous role. Ironically enough, this is a problem that often followed Christopher Reeves: after the world learned to believe a man could fly, it was tough to watch him do almost anything else.

Hard To Seperate Cavill From Superman

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That brings us to an important question…if Henry Cavill were to pop up in the DCU, what role could he play that wouldn’t immediately make everyone think of his previous performances as Superman? Here’s our hot take: James Gunn should lean into our association of Cavill and the Man of Steel and cast him as Ultraman. Once you know a bit more about who that horrific character is, you’ll understand why Cavill would be pitch-perfect casting.

The Original Evil Superman

Originally, Ultraman was a multiversal villain from the Silver Age…an early example of the now familiar character design trope of “Superman, but evil.” The version of the character that we’d like Henry Cavill to bring to the DCU, though, is the Ultraman written by Grant Morrison for his graphic novel JLA: Earth Two. In that story, Ultraman leads the Crime Syndicate of America, which is (no points for guessing) an evil version of the Justice League that has essentially conquered the Earth of their home dimension.

Bring In The Crime Syndicate

We’d like to see the DCU build up organically until we have a new Justice League. Traditionally, the big storytelling problem for such a superhero ensemble is finding a threat big enough to give the most powerful team on the planet a run for their money. The solution is simple: pitting these paragons of power and virtue against their evil counterparts.

A DCEU Send Off

henry cavill

This is, of course, where Henry Cavill comes in. Making him play an evil Superman would serve as a fun wink and a nod to the DCEU, but it will also serve as a symbolic transition for audiences. Before the world can fully accept David Corenswet as the new Superman, we need to see an epic fight between himself and Henry Cavill, a symbol of the best the DCEU ever had to offer.

Recasting Has Been Done Before

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Casting to pass a torch like this isn’t unheard of, as in the hit Superman series Smallville, Clark Kent’s Kryptonian father Jor-El was originally voiced by Terence Stamp, the actor who previously played the legendary villain Zod alongside Christopher Reeve’s Superman. With Henry Cavill playing Ultraman in the DCU, we could get proper closure for the death of the DCEU even as we get the perfect villain to put the newest Justice League through its paces. 

Let Henry Cavill Punch Out Superman

james gunn dc

Plus, there are psychological benefits for the actor himself. After being jerked around so thoroughly by Warner Bros. for so very long, we’re pretty sure Henry Cavill would like to take it out on someone. Why not let him beat the “S” out of Corenswet’s Superman, giving himself some much-needed closure and giving us an onscreen fight infinitely less embarrassing than the one in Batman v. Superman?