The recent San Diego Comic-Con revealed a whole lot of big plans for Warner Bros. Discovery’s upcoming slate of DCEU films (even if some of them are being unexpectedly canceled), but it was notable that there was no word of a Superman project. It is also notable Henry Cavill, the Superman actor for the DCEU proper, did not make an appearance despite rumors of him showing up to support Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam in some way. According to our trusted and proven sources, there is a reason for that: Mission Impossible director Christopher McQuarrie is in talks for a Henry Cavill-less Superman movie.
There have been rumors for quite some time that the Warner Bros. brass has been looking to replace Henry Cavill as Superman in the DCEU films. There could be a few reasons for this, namely that Henry Cavill could be perceived of as aging out of the Superman role, hence reports of a younger version of the Last Son of Krypton being spotted in glimpses of the (maybe) upcoming Flash movie starring Ezra Miller. For another, Henry Cavill has said that he has one more appearance as Superman post-Justice League under his existing contract, which presumably means keeping him around would require potentially costly contract negotiations.
Since Man of Steel, Henry Cavill has gone from a somewhat recognized character actor to a leading man with a popular Netflix series, an upcoming Matthew Vaughn starring vehicle, and a role as the most jacked Sherlock Holmes ever, he would probably demand a lot more for Superman. Given Warner Bros.’s recent demonstrations of their cost-cutting measures, they are probably not down for that.
However, the choice of Christopher McQuarrie for a Superman movie is a bit more interesting. For one thing, McQuarrie already directed Henry Cavill in the phenomenally successful Mission: Impossible – Fallout, so to not reunite with him for a Superman project would be an interesting choice. Mission: Impossible – Fallout was is the highest grossing movie of the Mission: Impossible franchise and, until Top Gun: Maverick, the highest of Tom Cruise’s career. A lot of that must have been due to the inclusion of Henry Cavill (and his famous arm-reloading movement) and his newfound fame as Superman.
It is also notable that Christopher McQuarrie is pretty much a Tom Cruise-only director these days. After breaking out in Hollywood for writing the neo-noir classic The Usual Suspects, he directed just one movie, The Way of the Gun, before getting on the Cruise train. Since 2012’s Jack Reacher, he has not directed a film without Tom Cruise as a star. He is also currently set to direct the next two installments of the IMF movies, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One and Two, so it makes you wonder what Warner Brothers is planning to do after jettisoning Henry Cavill as Superman.
On the other hand, could this be a long-term plan to bring the newly resurgent Tom Cruise in as the new DCEU Superman? Probably not, but you never know.