It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Whatever it is, it’s not Henry Cavill, who, it’s being reported, will no longer play the Man of Steel in Warner Bros.’ DC Comics cinematic universe.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cavill, who has played the Kryptonian crusader in “Man of Steel”, “Batman v. Superman” and “Justice League”, is exiting the franchise.
One reason for his reported exit, notes THR, has to do with scheduling conflicts. A proposed Superman cameo in the studio’s upcoming “Shazam” feature will apparently not happen after contract talks between the actor’s agents and Warner Bros. “broke down,” which will likely “close the door” on future appearances featuring Cavill’s Superman. (Cavill recently signed on to star in the Netflix series “The Witcher”, but THR says that deal came through after the Warner Bros’ negotiations fell apart).
Another factor is apparently the studio’s desire to reboot its entire DC Comics franchise, a theory borne by earlier reports that Ben Affleck won’t be returning as Batman; the upcoming standalone Batman film will reportedly feature a younger actor playing the character in his earlier years.
“There’s a recognition that some parts of the previous movies didn’t work,” a studio insider tells THR, while another source says the studio is eager “to hit a ‘reset’ button” on its DC-derived movies
However, this will not be a full reset, with Gal Gadot returning for “Wonder Woman 1984” (slated to premiere in November 2019) and Jason Momoa back for a solo Aquaman movie, due this December. Meanwhile, Ezra Miller will reprise his role as the Flash in a standalone feature scheduled to go into production early next year.
As THR points out, Disney’s Marvel movies are far outpacing WB’s DC films at the box office, a situation the studio is anxious to correct.
During a recent investor conference, WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey hinted that a change was brewing in the DC extended universe. “Some of our franchises, in particular at DC, we all think we can do better,” he said.
Following publication of THR‘s report, Warner Bros. issued the following statement to ET Canada: “While no decisions have been made regarding any upcoming Superman films, we’ve always had great respect for and a great relationship with Henry Cavill, and that remains unchanged.”
Cavill’s agent, Dany Garcia (whose clients also include ex-husband Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) issued an update via Twitter:
Meanwhile, Deadline is reporting that Warner Bros.’ primary DC strategy involves a “Supergirl” movie, focusing on the Kryptonian character who lands on Earth when she’s a teenager, which would require a substantially younger Superman than the 35-year-old Cavill.
In addition, Deadline reveals that Warner Bros. has no Superman films in development that would require Cavill, with the studio reported to be “mulling a completely different direction with its Superman canon for some time, even considering casting Michael B. Jordan in the role down the road.”
Cavill mysteriously reacted to the news with an Instagram video posted Wednesday. “Today was exciting,” the actor cryptically captioned a video of him wearing a Krypton Lifting Team T-shirt while showcasing a Superman figurine to the sounds of Johann Strauss II’s “The Blue Danube”.