It’s all kicking off today. Earlier this morning, THR reported that Henry Cavill had hung up his cape and departed the Superman role amidst a wide-ranging DCEU shake-up. We’d already known that there were some problems negotiating his contract to appear in future movies that had also jeopardized his cameo in Shazam!, but most industry watchers had expected Cavill’s team and Warner Bros. to hash something out so they could get on with production of Man of Steel II for a 2020 release.
THR’s report was categoric that Cavill was out (and the internet promptly exploded with fans in disbelief that such a central plank of the DCEU was leaving). But then we heard from Dany Garcia, Cavill’s manager, who tweeted: “Be peaceful, the cape is still in his closet,” and told us to wait for a statement from Warner Bros. later today.
Well, that statement is in and it clears up precisely nothing, as it reads as follows:
“While no decisions have been made regarding any upcoming Superman films, we’ve always had great respect for and a great relationship with Henry Cavill, and that remains unchanged.”
So, which is it? Is Cavill really saying goodbye to Metropolis in favor of the more monster-filled environments of Netflix’s The Witcher? Or is there a chance he’ll return? Well, my analysis is that he’s indeed gone. I suspect the confusion is because both Cavill’s team and Warner Bros. were hoping to make a more controlled announcement of the news in the coming weeks, only for the story to get ahead of them. There’s even a chance that in the face of stiff contract negotiations, Cavill’s team threatened to walk as a bluff and Warner Bros. have been forced to call it. Either way, he’s gone diddly on.
Perhaps the clearest indication of what the mindset of the studio is right now comes from new WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey, who said the following on September 6th: “Some of our franchises, in particular at DC, we all think we can do better.” That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it?