Just a few months ago, the Internet was abuzz with feverish excitement after Henry Cavill made the announcement that he would be returning to the role that made him a household name. While some roles simply keep an actor working, others are so iconic it’s impossible to imagine anyone else ever playing the part. And for Cavill, Superman was a role that was uniquely his. With his old-world Hollywood good looks, gym-honed physique and the kind of strong, defined jawline you could cut ice with, he seemed destined to play the role. Understandably, our collective hearts are now breaking as it’s been revealed he will not return as Superman after being dropped from the upcoming film.
Cavill himself made the announcement, which comes after meetings with Guardians of the Galaxy director and DC Studios’ co-chairman, James Gunn, who expressed to Cavill that unfortunately the new Superman movie won’t involve him. Taking to Instagram to share the revelation with fans, Cavill said it was “not the easiest news,” particularly after he himself was so excited about reprising the role.
The new film, which will be written by Gunn, will instead take the franchise in a new direction, choosing to focus instead on the superhero’s younger years. It marks yet another momentous change at DC Studios and Warner Brothers, which has been slashing a number of projects in an effort to cut costs after merging with Discovery, Inc.
For Cavill, Superman is a role that not only catapulted him into a new stratosphere of fame, but also one he himself has learned a lot from. He first played the role in 2013, before more recently reprising his superhero character with a cameo in Black Adam. The latter was such a hit in cinemas and created such fanfare that it seemed only fitting Cavill star in another film. In October, after news broke that he would resign from the lead role in Netflix’s The Witcher, Cavill then announced that he would be returning to play Superman. Sadly, that celebration was cut short after meeting with Gunn and his co-chair, Peter Safran, who delivered the devastating news.
As Cavill explained on Instagram: “I will, after all, not be returning as Superman. After being told by the studio to announce my return back in October, prior to their hire, this news isn’t the easiest, but that’s life. The changing of the guard is something that happens. I respect 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.”
Cavill continued that while it’s natural for fans to “mourn for a bit,” they should rest assured that “Superman is still around,” adding that: “My turn to wear the cape has passed, but what Superman stands for never will. It’s been a fun ride with you all, onwards and upwards.”
The new film will instead focus on the younger years of the hero, which sees him posing as Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent. Insiders have also revealed that Gunn could potentially direct the film and write it, according to the Hollywood Reporter. As Gunn expressed on Twitter: “Peter and I have a DC slate ready to go, which we couldn’t be more over-the-moon about; we’ll be able to share some exciting information about our first projects at the beginning of the new year.”
Gunn added, “Among those on the slate is Superman. In the initial stages, our story will be focusing on an earlier part of Superman’s life, so the character will not be played by Henry Cavill. But we just had a great meeting with Henry and we’re big fans and we talked about a number of exciting possibilities to work together in the future.”