Major Studio Didn’t Want Henry Cavill To Return
Dwayne Johnson says Warner Bros. executives did not want Henry Cavill back as Superman, but he insisted.
Warner Bros. did not want Henry Cavill to return as Superman in Black Adam, according to a video by Dwayne Johnson. The Red Notice star posted a nearly seven-minute minute video on his popular Twitter account, stating that the studio “inexplicably and inexcusably” did not want to bring Henry Cavill back as Superman, despite the actor having performed in the role since Man of Steel in 2013. It seems that Dwayne Johnson had to essentially compel Warner Bros. via the classic “not taking no for an answer” technique, resulting in one of the most applauded and exciting post-credits scenes in years.
Dwayne Johnson seems to feel that in order for his beloved Black Adam character to be viewed as the most devastatingly overwhelming force in the DC Universe, he would need to have an equally powerful opponent in order to raise the stakes, hence Henry Cavill and Superman. As a dramatic device, this makes complete sense; after all, in order to show someone is strong, you show them fighting someone who is at least as strong. And as Dwayne Johnson puts it in the video, Superman is “the most powerful, unstoppable force of all time in any universe.”
What makes less sense is Warner Bros. being unwilling to bring back Henry Cavill as Superman. Prior to Black Adam, Henry Cavill had appeared as the iconic superhero in three movies: Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Justice League (plus the HBO Max edit from 2021, but more on that in a moment). While none of those films were critically well-regarded, the blame was generally not laid at the feet of the Last Son of Krypton.
To put it mildly, the tenure of Zack Snyder as creative chief of Warner Bros.’ attempt to utilize its DC Comics to compete with Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe was controversial. Reportedly, Henry Cavill is more than happy to continue playing Superman in the DC Universe, as long as the character moved away from the dour, tortured characterization of the Snyderverse. It is possible that Warner Bros. executives also did not want to keep this memory of Superman alive in public memory, but getting rid of Cavill seems like the wrong way to go about it.
The new co-heads of DC Studios, James Gunn and Peter Safran, have been quite clear that nobody but the two of them has any idea where the DC Universe is headed in the future, up to and including plans for mild-mannered Clark Kent. Whether that means that they want to keep Henry Cavill locked down as Superman is up for debate, but the actor stepping away from his mega-popular Witcher series on Netflix certainly indicates he has something at least as equally big on the way.
For now, it appears we can thank the direct and repeated intervention of Black Adam himself for getting to see Henry Cavill back as Superman, as well as the crumbling willpower of unnamed Warner Bros. executives. Thanks, Dwayne Johnson.