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Henry Cavill Was Indeed "Dicked Around" By Warner Bros, But James Gunn Was Right To Recast Superman And Hard Reboot The DCU

Jack Taylor. Getty Images.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

"A new Batman movie without Robert Pattinson (but featuring Bruce Wayne's murderous son). A Superman movie on the release schedule (mark your calendars for July 11, 2025). A Game of Thrones-style drama set on Wonder Woman's home island of Themyscira (Amazonian palace intrigue). And an animated series already in production (Creature Commandos … wait, what?).

"That's just part of what will be coming to theaters and TV screens as part of DC Studios bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran’s new slate.

"[…] The duo also discussed their approach to casting writ large, whether it was returning or new actors. […] And they took on the touchy subject of Henry Cavill, tipped to return as Superman in a cameo in last year's Black Adam but who, in the end, will not return as Superman, much to the chagrin of a vocal fan base.

"'We didn't fire Henry. Henry was never cast,' said Gunn. 'For me, it's about, Who do I want to cast as Superman, and who do the filmmakers we have want to cast? And for me, for this story, it isn’t Henry…I like Henry, I think he's a great guy. I think he's getting dicked around by a lot of people, including the former regime at this company. But this Superman is not Henry, for a number of reasons.'"

It's been a lot of fun covering DC/Warner Bros-related superhero fare, and while I supported Zack Snyder's run with those characters and thought it was a lot better than many will ever give him credit for, it's been time for a change for quite a long time.

Aaaaand to say James Gunn delivered the goods at least in revealing his initial slate announcement yesterday is a gross understatement. As Robbie Fox covered in strong detail, there are no fewer than 11 new TV/movie projects coming from DC Studios. 

Unfortunately for #RestoreTheSnyderVerse stans, none of those plans involve Henry Cavill as Superman. Instead, Gunn is writing a film titled Superman: Legacy that's due to release in July 2025. It'll follow a younger Supes but isn't an origin story. As far back as August, I've said whether it's Cavill or someone else playing Clark Kent, a standalone solo Superman movie is what the new era of DC should lead with. Just get that right and built everything else out from there. Gunn confirmed Tuesday that Superman: Legacy will indeed mark the official start of the brand-new DC Universe.

You can't help but feel bad for Henry Cavill. He made an Instagram video shortly after that Black Adam cameo to say his celebrated comeback as the Man of Steel was just getting underway. Whatever issues you have with the movies he starred in as the character, you can't really say Cavill didn't deliver the good in pretty much every single way with the material he was given.

Since Gunn is the co-CEO of DC Studios, I feel like it'd be cool if he hands his script off to an established director to take the chair instead of doing so himself. That way he can help shepherd in this new, exciting era of comic book filmmaking without having to oversee every single detail and frame of the pic that'll launch it all.

The good news is, we'll still see Robert Pattinson's Batman and Joaquin Phoenix's Joker kicking around in their own separate "Elseworlds" stories. I'm really glad Gunn and Co. didn't pull the plug on either of those, or try to shoehorn them into this new vision for the main DCU continuity. That would've peeved the hell out of writer-directors Matt Reeves (The Batman) and Todd Phillips (Joker).

Cavill deserved better and could've done more with Superman if he'd been given a more direct sequel following 2013's Man of Steel. Instead, the powers that be decided to play rapid-paced catchup with Marvel Studios, got in over their skis, and have been scrambling for stability ever since without any luck finding it.

Good for Gunn clarifying that there wasn't anything about Cavill's portrayal or him as a human. It's just necessary to create a clear, creative vision off of so many years of inconsistency and seemingly blindfolded dartboard throwing. DC fans everywhere should be excited about what Gunn and Peter Safran have in the pipeline. Although it comes at the expense and tough decision of letting Cavill loose, it's better than stringing him and SnyderVerse diehards along.