Behind Superman’s downfall is Henry Cavill

Nearly two months to the day after Henry Cavill announced on Instagram that he was back as Superman — “I wanted to make it official,” he said in the Oct. 24 clip — the actor was forced to admit that no, he won’t be back after all as DC Studios’ new heads. , James Gunn and Peter Safran are charting a new course for Man of Steel in a movie Gunn is writing, which will feature a younger actor in the lead role.

“I will not, after all, be returning to Superman,” Cavill said in a new Instagram post on Dec. 14. “Having been told by the studio to announce my return in October, before they were set, this news isn’t it’s the easiest, but that’s life. Changing the guard thing. It happens. I respect that. James and Peter have a world to build.”

The sunset of Cavill’s time as Superman was the clearest indication yet that Gunn and Safran are undergoing a fundamental overhaul of DC, a reboot that will sever, if not most, the important ties with the previous systems that handled DC films for Warner Bros. Cavill also shot a cameo Sparkleone of four DC films slated for release in 2023, but sources say that movie, along with Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, is now being cut given the studio has opted not to move forward with director Patty Jenkins’ version. Wonder Woman 3.

Cavill found himself at a confluence of different headwinds in the studio. Dwayne Johnson pushed for his comeback with a much-touted cameo Black Adam and a potential mainstay for DC universe’s Johnson franchise. But Black Adam It made $389 million worldwide, and its soft-spoken performance calls into question Johnson’s infamous plans for a sequel and eventual Adam vs. Superman movie even before Gunn’s decision. The studio had its own plan as new co-presidents of cinema Michael De Luca and Pam Abdi wanted to do a movie. man of steel its sequel Poor disguise Creator Stephen Knight to write the treatment. (The classic character Brainiac was supposed to be the villain in that piece, says the source.)

“Ultimately, he was a pawn in Dwayne’s failed attempt to seize control of a piece of DC,” one insider said.

Cavill didn’t have a deal in place to return as Superman, sources say, only a verbal agreement that the studio would develop future projects. He was paid $250,000 each for his cameos. The actor has made a comeback in recent years thanks to starring in the hit Netflix fantasy series the magician, making him earn $1 million per episode. Cavill left the show this fall, though it’s unclear if the promise of more Superman appearances is behind his exit.

Jan and Safran are well aware of the sensibilities behind the exclusion of Zack Snyder’s iconic Justice League team as well as the sensibilities of their ways of parting ways with high-profile and popular talent. After ignoring a call to agents or producers, the executives met with Cavill to discuss their plans and he seemed to point to a possible new role in the future. The pair also made overtures with Ben Affleck, aka Batman, asking him to direct a DC movie for them while Jason Momoa – who might be done as Aquaman – met with the duo as well, possibly about playing a new role.

Cavill has already lined up another franchise, Love Hammer 40,000 on amazon.

As for Gunn, he responded to a fan who accused Warner Bros. and DC beating Cavill together. Black Adams opening weekend. “Everything with Black Adam happened before I was around,” Jan said in an Instagram caption this week.

A version of this story first appeared in the Dec. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. Click here to subscribe.

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