After three times at bat (feels like there should be a Batman joke in there somewhere), word’s gotten out that actor Henry Cavill will apparently no longer be playing Superman on the big screen. It’s been widely reported that Warner Bros. is instead choosing to focus on a film version of Supergirl (which won’t star the CW’s Melissa Benoist) rather than the Man of Steel.
In some ways, the rumored decision seems particularly crazy. Admittedly, things got off to a rough start for Henry under the directorial guidance of Zack Snyder in 2013’s Man of Steel, which presented an angsty and somewhat grittier version of the character that, in many ways, seemed to fly in the face of the beacon of hope that Superman is supposed to represent. Things didn’t get much better in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which pit the title characters against each other and, like its predecessor, was mired in doom, gloom, and darkness, culminating in the death of Superman. Based on those two portrayals and the critical response to them, you could almost understand the studio’s position.
However, flash forward to last year’s Justice League, which brought together a resurrected Superman alongside Ben Affleck’s Batman, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman (star of his own film this December), Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman (her sequel, Wonder Woman 1984, is coming next year), Ray Stevens’ Cyborg, and Ezra Miller’s the Flash. Now the movie itself was marred by a substandard plot and villain, but what it got right (finally) was Henry’s portrayal of the Man of Steel, capturing some of the charm and hopefulness that was the hallmark of Christopher Reeve’s famous take on the character in the film series that kicked off with Superman: The Movie (celebrating its 40th anniversary this year). Although not the moneymaker Warner Bros. wanted it to be, it proved that with the right approach, Henry could absolutely nail the character. That in itself would have seemed to warrant one more chance to do his thing.
Added to this is the fact that almost everyone agrees that Henry was an amazing opponent to Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible: Fallout, which is (at press time) currently up to $734 million at the box office and merely cements the actor position as a man of action.
But, following The Hollywood Reporter‘s breaking the news of Henry’s apparent departure early on Wednesday, Sept. 12, Henry’s agent, Dany Garcia, released a statement via Twitter to promise that the actor’s “cape is still in his closet.” She continued, “Be peaceful, the cape is still in his closet. @WBPictures has been and continues to be our partners as they evolve the DC Universe. Anticipate a WB statement later today.”
Later on Wednesday, the studio released the following statement: “While no decisions have been made regarding any upcoming Superman films, we’ve always had great respect for and a great relationship with Henry Cavill, and that remains unchanged.” Guess we’ll have to wait and see how this all unfolds in time!