Henry Cavill might still have a future as Superman in the DC Extended Universe but it’s looking increasingly precarious these days considering all of the news that’s come out recently. What looked like a firmly-entrenched role for the actor has become anything but, with the studio clearly looking to go in another direction in at least the short term. But there is a condition or circumstance that could keep Cavill in the role going forward for Man of Steel 2. And that’s if Zack Snyder’s Justice League completely crushes it later this month on streaming.
It’s a tenuous situation for Henry Cavill right now and we could be looking at one of his last turns as Clark Kent/Superman if things don’t go right for Justice League. That film is set to release on March 18th. It will tell a lot about the future of the larger franchise and specifically of this Superman character going forward. The DC Extended Universe, around these characters, has felt moderately in flux anyway. But it looks like Warner Bros wants to see fans’ reactions to the movie and if it garners significant buzz. If it does, then Cavill might be safe. If not, well he could be on the way out.
This Superman buzz around Henry Cavill all stems from the big news two weeks ago that the character was headed in a totally new direction going forward. J.J. Abrams was brought on to produce a new Superman movie and had hired celebrated writer/ author Te-Nihisi Coates to pen the script. It was also posited that in this movie, Cavill was out as Superman and they would be bringing in a black actor for the part, possibly Michael B. Jordan. It’s unclear if they would reboot the Clark Kent timeline and origin story or take it another direction with something like the Calvin Ellis arc. It will be a totally new path.
Henry Cavill being removed from the Superman role isn’t totally surprising. While he’s handled the character in a fine fashion, nearly every time he’s appeared on screen as the character has been in an underwhelming film. Whether this is chicken or the egg isn’t totally clear, but the results aren’t great either way. Just look at the Rotten Tomatoes scores for his films in this universe. Man of Steel started things off at 56%. Then there was Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (28%) and Justice League (40%). And frankly, as far as the box office returns have been, there’s a lot to be desired there as well with around $2 billion in box office on close to $900 million in production costs. It’s a tidy sum, but likely still well below expectations.
So, no pressure on Zack Snyder’s Justice League, but it looks like Henry Cavill and his future with Man of Steel 2 rests in its hands. It’s going to need to probably be both a critical smash and garner huge returns on both HBO Max and in terms of online buzz and reaction. Even that might not be enough for Cavill to take on the character going forward in anything but cameos. There’s a lot riding on this movie.