It looks like the DC Comics movie universe is on the lookout for a new chiseled jawline and steely gaze – Henry Cavill is out as Superman according to The Hollywood Reporter. After playing the Man of Steel in three Warner Bros films, Cavill will be stepping down from the role. The studio had been reportedly trying to bring him in for a cameo in next spring’s Shazam! film, which stars Zachary Levi as the titular Mightiest Mortal, but talks have broken down and that has rippled out to affect other Superman cameos and roles.
According to THR, the studio is shifting to focus on a Supergirl movie instead. THR points to Cavill’s age (35) being a problem for a movie about a teen Supergirl, because Supes would “be an infant according to DC lore,” though the CW’s Supergirl effectively hand-waved this with some Kryptonian pseudo-science stuff easily enough, so that isn’t really a good excuse.
It comes down more to the idea that, while Cavill himself is a picture-perfect casting choice for Superman, he was given two and a half barely-watchable movies to establish the character in. Man of Steel wasn’t the worst movie, but the critical consensus is that it wasn’t a good Superman movie. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was a poorly-titled movie that no one wanted. The casting for the movie was great, but no one wanted to watch Batman and Superman fight. And Justice League was just pasted together with gluesticks and construction paper. We got a few good lines out of Cavill’s Superman in Justice League, finally, but it was too-little-too-late.
“There’s a recognition that some parts of the previous movies didn’t work,” one studio insider said to THR. The insider says that WB is likely to let the Superman license lie fallow for a bit before recasting it. Another source told THR that WB wants to reset the DC universe. It sounds like this is all part of Warner scraping off the last remnants of Zack Snyder’s vision for the franchise.
The impetus for the departure came down to scheduling conflicts, the report says, but it seems like there’s been a lot more to it than that. Shazam! is set to hit theaters on April 5, 2019 – without Superman. Cavill, meanwhile, has signed up to star as Geralt of Rivia in Netflix’s upcoming Witcher series – release date unknown.