Henry Cavill will no longer be a sad Superman in the rain

Plot Twist: Henry Cavill Isn't Returning As Superman After All

His IG post about the new update is so touching.

by Ani Bundel
Warner Bros Pictures

The upheaval behind the scenes at DC Films has been going on for a long time — one could argue since its crowning achievement, The Dark Knight Trilogy, was instantly rendered obsolete by the box office success of The Avengers in 2012. Since then, Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa have been triumphant as Wonder Woman and Aquaman, respectively; however, turmoil has started again. Henry Cavill confirmed in a touching Instagram statement that he’s not returning as Superman, which seems to suggest the Justice League saga is finally over.

Cavill, who truly embodies the platonic ideal of Superman as conceived in 1938, was initially cast in Man of Steel in 2011, a year before the Marvel Cinematic Universe made standalone superhero trilogies instantly passé with its first crossover team-up. Warner Bros. immediately pivoted to taking its new franchise and doing the same, building a Justice League pantheon to accompany Cavill’s Superman. Ezra Miller as Flash, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, plus Gadot and Momoa were all announced in 2014, followed by Ben Affleck as Batman a year later.

Whether or not these movies were successful depends on who you ask, but critical panning of both 2016’s Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and 2017’s Justice League wound up putting Cavill on the backburner as Supes while DC Films tried to figure out what to do next. However, time heals bad reviews, and the 2021 re-release of a Justice League director’s cut and Cavill making it known he was happy to return to the suit and cape seemed to suggest he would come back.

When Cavill appeared at the end of the recent Black Adam film and officially announced his return in October 2022, fans were thrilled but not surprised. Cavill went so far as to exit his starring role in Netflix’s The Witcher, reportedly due to the two projects conflicting.

Fifty-one days later, it turned out he needn’t have bothered, as the entire DC Film department was given over to a new set of directors, James Gunn and Peter Safran, who reportedly decided to sack the whole lot and start over. Gunn took to Twitter to explain that there will be a whole new Superman film. “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,” he tweeted. “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.” This suggests the duo might find a new spot for Cavill in the refreshed DC Cinematic Universe.

Cavill confirmed he will not return in a touching Instagram that reads in part, “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.”

His co-stars commented on the post, including Momoa, who gave Cavill his love, while Zachary Levi, whose new Shazam movie will be one of the last of the old DC Films regime, wrote, “Hope to catch you in another universe, sir.”

Levi may do just that, as Cavill is still free to film DC movies now that he is no longer committed to The Witcher. (However, he’ll still probably return as Absolute Unit Sherlock in another Enola Holmes film.)

Until then, fans will always have Man of Steel. The Witcher Season 3, filmed before Cavill’s exit, will see his last turn in that role in 2023. As for the future, perhaps a new cape will soon hang in his closet.