Henry Cavill is hanging up his red cape and leaving the role of Superman, which he has filled since 2013’s Man of Steel.
Cavill was reportedly in talks to make a cameo appearance as Superman in Shazam!, according to the Hollywood Reporter, but scheduling conflicts quickly soured discussion between Cavill and Warner Bros. Cavill is set to star in Netflix’s The Witcher, which is likely the cause of the schedule conflict (though some sources suggest he was cast after his talks with Warner Bros., not before).
Superman is likely not the only DC Universe recast we’ll see soon. It is not confirmed yet if Ben Affleck, who starred alongside Cavill as Batman since 2016, will return to reprise his role in Matt Reeves’ stand-alone Batman film. Affleck may still be creatively involved, but recent personal troubles may throw a wrench in the works.
All this comes in the wake of Warner Bros.’ desire to beat Marvel at its own game—and the box office. Marvel was the first to bring superheroes in an extended universe, a regular convention of comic books, to the big screen and weave heroes’ tales together into one massive story over the years and across movies. DC has tried to play catch-up and certainly had a good shot after Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, but many DC movies have fallen flat with fans. Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman is a standout among them, but Justice League suffered from tonal flip-flopping amid reshoots and let down audiences.
Now that Warner Bros. is reportedly focusing on a Supergirl film, these exits from leading players will make a chaotic scene at the studio, but it may also provide a chance for a fresh start.