Despite reports that Henry Cavill will not be playing Superman, there have been no official statements from either Cavill or Warner Bros’ affirming these rumours. Fans have been in limbo wondering whether Cavill will continue as the character.
Recently a Youtuber, Robert Roecken, bumped into Cavill at Comic-Con. Allegedly speaking to Cavill at the event, the fan tweeted afterwards that Cavill “still wants to play Superman. Wants a sequel to Man of Steel. Wants to explore how it affects someone with absolute power. So many stories to tell, what makes him tick?”
The tweet has not been corroborated but Cavill in a 2018 CinemaCon interview was asked what the status on a new Superman film was. He answered that he still has a “desire” to make Man of Steel II and that he is in talks behind the scenes. He stated further that, “…there is a whole bunch of Superman stories I want to tell. There’s a whole style of Superman’s character that I am very keen to tell and I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”
Cavill is obviously eager to resume the role but under the right creative conditions. The disarray at Warner Bros’ seems to be stalling any further Man of Steel films. Cavill must be frustrated at the delay but hasn’t divulged anything official recently.
We can speculate that Warner’s new $500 million deal with J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot production company has something to do with the hold up. Is the studio hoping Abrams will take the helm and lead the DCEU?
The upcoming Flash film, also beset with production problems, is rumoured to be using the Flashpoint Paradox storyline. Could this be the solution to the problems in the DCEU? The alternate realities in that storyline could accommodate different versions of the same characters, thus accommodating Cavill’s Superman alongside other versions of DC characters.
Adding credence to this theory is Robert Pattinson’s casting as a younger Batman in Matt Reeves’ 2021 The Batman film. It’s hard to picture Pattinson’s Batman alongside Cavill’s Superman. Similarly, Pattinson next to Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman seems implausible.
It goes without saying that Cavill is a good Superman, but the character needs a film that will better bridge the gulf between Donner’s 1970s Superman II and the new version of Superman. The disaster that was Justice League (2017) incorporated a lighter version of the caped crusader, harkening back to the old days. It was enjoyable and satisfying seeing Cavill play the other side of Superman, aspects of him that were not focused on in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman. The rotten character development and cheap storyline in Justice League overshadowed the few positives of the film. Justice League also never answers the question of Clark Kent’s resurrection from the dead. Cavill has said that a future film would address the topic, adding greater expectation for a future Superman film.
The first Man of Steel explored Superman’s origins. It would therefore be inexplicable for Warner Bros to scrap all ties with Cavill and reset the franchise. It makes more sense for Warner Bros to keep Cavill than to upturn everything and gamble on someone else. Perhaps Warner is simply waiting for a better script and the right director.
For the DCEU to move forward there must be a Man of Steel sequel. Superman is still a cultural icon despite cynicism toward the character. Whoever directs the next film must take the foundations laid by Zack Snyder and build on it. Incorporating a more self-assured Superman, less brooding and unsure of himself. The future director would have to show audiences that Superman still matters more than ever. Reminding us why his good nature, his virtue, can inspire as it did in the past.
For now, fans will have to wait patiently, hoping that the next slate of releases are a success. Hopefully giving the studio enough confidence to move forward with a sequel. Let’s hope Cavill perseveres and the studio does the right thing and keeps him as Superman.