It’s official, Henry Cavill will not be returning as Superman. The news was revealed by DC Studios co-CEO, James Gunn via social media. In a lengthy post, the filmmaker said plans for the superhero slate are complete and details about new projects will be released in 2023. But the new initiative will not include the Man of Steel star or his existing storyline. Instead, he will be writing a new movie focusing on the earlier part of the Kryptonian’s life.
GIANT FREAKIN ROBOT was first to break this story over a month ago with this report in which we laid out the plans that Gunn has now confirmed.
James Gunn and his DC Studios co-CEO Peter Safran have also broken the news to Henry Cavill, explaining that he no longer fits into their vision of Superman. But it wasn’t all bad news for the British actor, as the trio discussed future collaborations. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new Man of Steel won’t live in Smallville. Instead, the story will chronicle Clark Kent’s time as a reporter for the Daily Planet. Gunn has been working on a script for a while but has no plans to direct it.
Henry Cavill’s abrupt departure from the Superman role is very surprising. Especially since the character appeared in the post-credits scene of Black Adam. Following the movie’s release, the 39-year-old announced his return to the superhero franchise on social media. That message was even sanctioned by Warner Bros, sources familiar with the situation told The Hollywood Reporter. But that was before Gunn and Safran were hired. All previous plans changed after that.
Reflecting on the change, Henry Cavill shared a heartfelt message on Instagram. “I will, after all, not be returning as Superman. After being told by the studio to announce my return, this news isn’t the easiest, but that’s life,” he wrote. He added that the changing of the guard is something that happens and he respects that. “James and Peter have a universe to build. I wish them and all involved with the new universe the best of luck, and the happiest of fortunes,” he continued.
Henry Cavill made his debut as Superman in 2013’s Man of Steel. But although the film earned approximately $668 million at the box office, the story proved to be divisive. Fans didn’t care for Zack Snyder’s darker take on the Last Son of Krypton. The filmmaker was also criticized for his excessive use of violence. As such, any plans the studio had for a sequel were scrapped. After appearing in 2017’s Justice League, the actor exited the role.
While shocking, the exclusion of Henry Cavill from the DC Extended Universe may be linked to cost-cutting at Warner Bros Discovery. Under the leadership of new CEO David Zaslav, the studio hopes to save millions of dollars. And the best way to achieve that goal is to replace existing talent with young blood.
If James Gunn and Peter Safran hire an unknown actor to play Superman, their salary bill won’t be as much. And since the Superman persona is bigger than Henry Cavill or any Hollywood star, the box office takings will still be successful. All the studio really needs is a good story.