Henry Cavill’s Superman future in the DC movies is under threat.
The British actor was expected to resume his place in the DC Extended Universe as the man of steel after his surprise cameo in the credits of recent release Black Adam.
It was Cavill’s first time donning the famous red and blue costume since Justice League in 2017 – and teased a future clash between Superman and Black Adam, portrayed by Dwayne Johnson. The two characters are long-time antagonists in the comic books.
At the time, Cavill even posted to social media: “I wanted to make it official – I am back as Superman.”
Now that appears to have been premature. And he may come to regret walking away from his Netflix fantasy series, The Witcher, where he has been replaced by Aussie actor Liam Hemsworth.
There is to be a changing of the guard at DC Studios with incoming bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran due to unveil their vision to Warner Bros Discovery boss David Zaslav.
That includes characters such as Cavill’s Superman, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman 3 has reportedly been canned, with insiders revealing the decision had been made after director Patty Jenkins turned in her story treatment. According to THR, Jenkins had been told that where she wanted to take the next instalment didn’t fit in with where the DC movies were heading.
With the new era of DC Studios about to start, Cavill’s brief return as Superman was ill-timed. Johnson said he had “fought for years” to bring Cavill back in the face of resistance from studio bosses.
But Black Adam underperformed at the global box office, netting less than $US400 million ($A590 million) against a production budget of $US195 million ($A287 million). Taking into account marketing costs, Variety estimated that Black Adam may clock up a $US100 million ($A147 million) loss.
That figure may reduce or be reversed down the line if it performs well on other measures such as streaming subscription sign-ups. And Johnson has argued that the film is already profitable.
But the lacklustre box office does make any future instalments with Black Adam and Superman more unlikely.
Cavill is also said to have filmed a cameo as the man of steel for the upcoming The Flash movie, which is due for release next year, but THR said the decision over whether it will be included in the final cut has not been made. The decision could take into account whether its inclusion might unfairly set up expectations for more Cavill in the DCEU, if that’s not ultimately the plan.
Gunn and Safran’s takeover of DC Studios could mean a lot of changes – new creative bosses often like to wipe the slate and stamp their own mark on their tenure, rather than deal with the hangover of legacy plans.
The pair were appointed in October to oversee DC’s screen output after years of inconsistency from the comic books powerhouse, especially compared to Marvel’s coherent cinema universe.
There are still three unreleased DC movies in the pipeline – The Flash, the Aquaman sequel and a Shazam follow-up.
If Gunn and Safran decide to change everything up, those movies could be a valedictory lap for those superheroes in their current form.
When Cavill walked away from The Witcher, it was speculated that it was due to his upcoming commitments as Superman. While that was never confirmed, the timing led many to that conclusion.
There were also rumours that Cavill was unhappy with the direction of the Netflix series and he opted to not renew his contract after the three-season term was up.
The third season, which has already been filmed, is currently in post-production and is due to be released in mid-2023.
Separately, The Witcher’s showrunner Lauren Hissrich this week addressed Cavill’s exit from the series and the mixed fan reaction.
“What I will say is please come back for The Witcher season three so that we can continue to do this. Obviously, [Cavill’s departure] is huge news.”
Cavill will next be seen in Matthew Vaughn’s spy thriller Argylle and he has also signed up to Guy Ritchie’s movie The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare.
Story Credit: news.com.au