Henry Cavill has reportedly hung up the cape as Superman.
Cavill, who has played the Man of Steel across three films in the DC Cinematic Universe, is said to have walked away from the role after contract talks broke down with Warner Bros. regarding his future.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the impasse was reached after Warner Bros tried to recruit Cavill for a cameo in their forthcoming Shazam! movie.
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The report alleges that ‘scheduling conflicts’ with Cavill’s role in Netflix’s Witcher series were blamed for him turning down Shazam!, although also points out that Cavill signed on for the the Witcher after his meeting with Warner Bros, suggesting an alternate reason. This, it’s inferred, could be that Warner Bros have no plans for another solo Superman outing, instead focusing on a Supergirl movie, which will take place on a pre-Superman Krypton.
It’s even been rumoured over the last few days that Superman will be recast by Warner Bros, with Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan being among the names to replace Cavill. The story also has echoes of Ben Affleck’s experience in the DC universe as Batman – a role he is not expected to reprise for director Matt Reeves’ forthcoming Batman stand-alone film.
Neither Warner Bros nor Henry Cavill himself have confirmed the reports, although Cavill did post a strange video to Instagram following the news: a clip of him goofing around with a Superman action figure, captioned ‘Today was exciting #Superman’.
Whether this is a denial of the rumours, or just Cavill being tongue-in-cheek, is unclear.
Responding to the story, a spokesman for Warner Bros has said: “We have a great relationship and great respect for Henry Cavill that continues to remain unchanged. Additionally we have made no current decisions regarding any upcoming Superman films.”
It’s an uncertain time for the DC Cinematic Universe, which has performed poorly both critically and financially compared to its rival, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For example, 2017’s Justice League pulled in $657,924,295 worldwide, whereas 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War has surpassed $2 billion.
With Affleck and Cavill reportedly on their way out, this creates a strange situation where others seen on screen during Justice League are continuing forward with their own movies, while leaving Batman and Superman behind.
Gal Gadot is returning for Wonder Woman 1984, set to be released in cinemas in November 2019; Jason Momoa stars in a solo Aquaman movie this December; and Ezra Miller is still set to star in a Flash movie, which is due to shoot in early 2019.