A group of DC Extended Universe fans are feeling slighted once again after it appears that Warner Bros. has snubbed both Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck with their new Studio Tour building in Burbank, California. The studio, which is behind all the big-screen adaptations of DC comic book properties, has adorned the outside of the building with several recognizable faces from its most bankable properties, but Cavill’s Superman and Affleck’s Batman are both conspicuously absent.
As photos of the building’s new decor began circulating on Twitter over the past few days, fans pointed out that along with portraits of Looney Tunes and Big Bang Theory characters, the building features Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, both characters that were introduced as part of director Zack Snyder’s massive endeavor to bring these characters to the big screen. However, it’s Christopher Reeve and Michael Keaton repping the Last Son of Krypton and the Dark Knight of Gotham, respectively. Not Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck, who each donned the capes of DC’s two powerhouse characters as part of Snyder’s (unrealized) vision.
Naturally, the reliably vocal DCEU fans were quick to take notice of these omissions. None seemed terribly happy with Warner Bros., especially considering Henry Cavill’s perpetual on-again/off-again relationship with the character.
Reeve was the first to play Superman in a movie, starring in director Richard Donner’s 1978 film. He’d go on to reprise the role in three sequels, ending with 1986’s Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Two decades would go by before Brandon Routh would take on the role, and channel Reeve himself, for the 2006 feature Superman Returns, a direct sequel to Superman II. Superman wouldn’t return to the multiplex until Henry Cavill first donned the cape in 2013’s Man of Steel, and again in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, as well as Justice League the following year. He also appeared in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, informally referred to as “The Snyder Cut.” Similarly, Michael Keaton was the first to play Batman in a feature film, with Affleck first donning the bat-cowl for Dawn of Justice, who also appeared in both versions of Justice League, as well as a bit part in Suicide Squad.
While it’s possible that Warner Bros. was simply going with the most widely-beloved iterations of the characters, some fans thought that it was a deliberate move to erase Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck from the public’s consciousness outright. Particularly after Warner Bros made it clear that releasing “The Snyder Cut” wasn’t going to lead to any future sequels, and instead seem to be working with the idea of stand-alone features, as opposed to the intrinsically inter-connected Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The addition of Keaton’s Batman, which drew plenty of ire when it was first announced back in the late 1980s, is also interesting, given that the actor will be reprising the role in the upcoming stand-alone Flash movie. It’s not entirely clear how this will end up happening, narratively speaking, but does seem to indicate that the DCEU could be flirting with the multiverse for its stand-along endeavors. Whatever the case, the absence of both Ben Affleck’s Batman and Henry Cavill’s Superman didn’t sit right with some fans at all.