Why Henry Cavill was dropped as Superman by DC

Henry Cavill (Superman / Clark Kent) in Zack Snyder's Justice League. Photograph by Courtesy of HBO Max
Henry Cavill (Superman / Clark Kent) in Zack Snyder's Justice League. Photograph by Courtesy of HBO Max /

In 2022, Henry Cavill returned to the role of Superman and was replaced just five weeks later. Why did DC Studios make the sudden change?

It’s been a crazy rollercoaster of a month for Henry Cavill and DC fans. Five weeks after announcing to the world that he would be back as Superman, Cavill learned that he would not be suiting up as the Man of Steel again after all. Not in the immediate future at least.

The star first donned the cape in Man of Steel back in 2013, before his Superman was welcomed into the expanding DC Extended Universe. He then reprised that role in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the controversial DCEU-destroying Justice League (as well as the far superior Zack Snyder’s Justice League). After five years of fan campaigns for Man of Steel 2, Cavill returned to the role in a post-credits scene in Black Adam – a movie that was supposed to be the beginning of a new era for him.

So what went wrong? Why was Henry Cavill’s Superman axed from the DCEU, and where does he go from here?

Why Henry Cavill’s Superman is no more

Henry Cavill’s unanticipated departure from the role of Superman is simply down to the fact that the newly-formed DC Studios plans on taking the Man of Steel in a different direction than the former creative team at Warner Bros. did. Co-Chairman and CEO James Gunn essentially confirmed this himself, when he revealed on social media that DC would be moving forward with a new Superman movie focusing on the hero in his younger days, meaning that Cavil would not return.

As revealed by The Hollywood Reporter, the actor’s return in Black Adam was supposed to be his official comeback to the DCEU after five years in limbo. It was a major, fulfilling moment for the actor and all of the fans who had fought for him to return – along with the star of Black Adam, Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson, who reportedly fought to bring him back.

The next step in Cavill’s planned return would have reportedly featured a cameo appearance in The Flash movie, but that (along with a cameo appearance from Wonder Woman‘s Gal Gadot) has been scrapped, once again suggesting that the DC movies universe is about to press the hard reset button on a lot of its established projects.

The DCEU landscape remains unclear right now. Gunn and Peter Safran are putting their new plan together and are hoping to share it with fans early next year, but with former DCEU headliners being phased out, it’s hard to get excited for any of next year’s DCEU releases. Are they the last of a bygone era, or the beginning of a new one?

One thing that is certain in all of this, though: Superman will return to the silver screen, it just won’t be Henry Cavill playing him.

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Are you upset about Henry Cavill’s exit from the DCEU? Would you have liked to see Man of Steel 2 happen? Let us know in the comments below!