Man Of Steel 2: Will Henry Cavill Ever Return As Superman?

It looks like Man of Steel 2 is in the works at Warner Bros with Henry Cavill set to reprise the role of Superman. But there is no official release date for the movie.

By Rick Gonzales | Updated


Apparently, the more things change in the DCU, the more things truly change. Not that long ago we had Henry Cavill thrilling audiences with his end-of-the-movie cameo in Black Adam. Then we had Cavill heading to his Instagram to announce that yes, he would be returning as Superman and Clark Kent in Man of Steel 2. Then, James Gunn and Peter Safran were given the keys to the DCU car by Warner Bros.

Whether this eventually will be a good move by Warner or not remains to be seen. They (Gunn and Safrin) are in it for the long haul and they are beginning to put their stamp on the upcoming slate of DCU films. Sadly, Henry Cavill is no longer in the equation as Man of Steel 2 has been nixed by DCU’s new bosses.

Henry Cavill Seemed Set As Superman

When Henry Cavill first donned the red cape in Zack Snyder’s 2013 blockbuster, Man of Steel, he was almost immediately considered to be the best wearing the Superman costume. The film told the familiar story of Kal-El, an infant on the planet Krypton, who arrives on Earth to be raised by the Kents. Snyder didn’t stray too far from Superman’s origins and for his and Cavill’s efforts, they brought in nearly $700 million at the box office for Warner Bros.

Somehow, though, the film never got a Man of Steel 2, though fans were clamoring for one. But it wasn’t like Cavill didn’t return as Superman. On the contrary, Cavill has appeared as Superman five times in total. The other four were Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, and his short cameo in Black Adam.

Henry Cavill has always been a fan favorite, whether it be as Superman or as Geralt of Riva in The Witcher, another role in which Cavill has been replaced, ironically because he was going to be reprising his role as Superman. Needless to say, it has been a rough few months for the ex-Man of Steel.

There Were Conflicting Man Of Steel 2 Announcements

Current Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav was one who absolutely wanted Henry Cavill for a Man of Steel 2. In fact, when Zaslav stepped into the role as CEO, he informed everyone to stop everything they were gearing up to do with Superman and start it all fresh with Cavill as Superman. That “green light” was what Cavill was talking about when he took to his Instagram to announce his return as Superman.

Little did Cavill know that when Gunn and Safran stepped in, things would change drastically for him and for Man of Steel 2. Gunn and Safran both were mum on Henry returning as the Man of Steel and it would take them some time before Gunn would finally address the caped elephant in the room.

Gunn took to the defense in late-January 2023 when he finally explained his and Safran’s side of the story of Cavill no longer playing Superman. Gunn, talking about Cavill’s cameo in Black Adam and his future within the DCU, stated that, in fact, Henry Cavill was never fired from playing Superman because he was never cast as the Man of Steel.

“We didn’t fire Henry. Henry was never cast,” Gunn explained to The Hollywood Reporter. “For me, it’s about who do I want to cast as Superman and who do the filmmakers we have want to cast. And for me, for this story, it isn’t Henry.”

Gunn went on, saying that it wasn’t he or Safran who “dicked” Cavill around, but those who were in charge prior to Gunn and Safran taking over. “I like Henry, I think he’s a great guy,” he continued. “I think he’s getting dicked around by a lot of people, including the former regime at this company. But this Superman is not Henry, for a number of reasons.”

Those reasons? Well, they have never been fully articulated. Not even by Cavill, who finally spoke about him not returning for Man of Steel 2. Once again, he took to Instagram in December 2022 to make his written announcement.

“I have just had a meeting with James Gunn and Peter Safran and it’s sad news, everyone. I will, after all, not be returning as Superman. After being told by the studio to announce my return in October, prior to their [Gunn and Safran] hire, this news isn’t the easiest, but that’s life.”

Cavill then went on to explain that the “changing of the guard” can be cause for more change and he respects the fact that Gunn and Safran have their universe to build, it is just unfortunate that the DCU will no longer include him.

He told fans that they can “mourn for a bit” but to remember that although he won’t be, Superman is still around. You can see his entire Instagram post below.

Man Of Steel 2 Rumors Were Around For Years

henry cavill superman man of steel 2

The rumors were plenty with Man of Steel 2. The script was going to be written by Christopher McQuarrie, the heavy hitter who jumped onto the screen by penning the hit crime thriller, The Usual Suspects. Then, he met Tom Cruise.

Christopher McQuarrie wrote the 2008 war drama Valkyrie which starred Tom Cruise in a true-life story about Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, a German soldier who led the failed plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler.

This first meeting between McQuarrie and Cruise proved to be beneficial to both as they teamed up for a number of financially successful films. After Valkyrie, they then paired up for Jack Reacher, which McQuarrie wrote and directed.

McQuarrie then joined Cruise on the Mission: Impossible franchise writing and directing Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, and the upcoming Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One and Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part Two

Not only that, but McQuarrie also wrote the scripts for Tom Cruise’s Edge of Tomorrow, The Mummy, and the record-setting Top Gun: Maverick. So, you can see why Warner Bros. was looking at McQuarrie to pen the script for Man of Steel 2.

dwayne johnson black adam

Then there was Dwayne Johnson, who went all in trying to get the red cape back on Henry Cavill. Johnson had big plans for a number of movies concerning his character of Black Adam and Cavill as Superman, with the two finally duking it out on the big screen. Johnson even got Cavill to film his cameo in Black Adam well after the film had wrapped. It was a short scene, but one that was setting up the potential future between the two. Alas, that future is no longer.

There Will Still Be DC Superman Movies

Just because Henry Cavill and Man of Steel 2 are no longer on the drawing board doesn’t mean Gunn and Safran have entirely removed Superman from the DCU equation. They aren’t that dumb (right?). Superman has been a mainstay, and a popular one at that, pretty much since he first appeared in comic books. He is a DCU cash cow and one they could never turn their back on, even if they turned their back on Cavill.

James Gunn has already announced Superman: Legacy, a feature film he is writing and directing. He has a few things he needs from whomever they choose to be the next Superman, including “humanity” and “kindness and compassion.”

“It’s hard, but we’re looking,” said Gunn of finding the next Superman. “And we actually have some really great choices, which I’m excited about it. But it has to be somebody who has all the humanity that Superman has, but he’s also an alien. It’s gotta be somebody who has the kindness and the compassion that Superman has, and it has to be somebody who you want to give a hug.”

Well, there you have it. Guess he wasn’t going to get that with a Man of Steel 2 film.