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Behind the Fall of Henry Cavill’s Superman

Nearly two months after Henry Cavill declared on Instagram that he had returned as Superman — “I wanted to make it official,” he said in the Oct. 24 clip — the actor was forced to admit that no, he’s not coming back. after all, the new heads of DC Studios, James Gunn and Peter Safran, chart a new course for the Man of Steel in a film written by Gunn, which will feature a younger actor in the lead role.

“After all, I’m not coming back as Superman,” Cavill said in a new Instagram post on December 14. “After the studio told me to announce my comeback in October, before he was hired, this news is not the easiest, but that’s life. The changing of the guard is something that happens. I respect that. James and Peter have a universe to build.”

The sunset of Cavill’s time as Superman was the clearest indication yet that Gunn and Safran are staging a substantial overhaul of DC, a reboot that will sever significant, if not most, ties to the previous regimes that ran the wars. DC movies for Warner Bros. Cavill also recorded a cameo in The flashone of four DC movies due for a 2023 release, but sources say the cameo, along with Gal Gadot’s as Wonder Woman, is now being cut as the studio decided not to go ahead with director Patty’s cut. Jenkins. wonder woman 3.

Cavill found himself in a confluence of different headwinds in the studio. Dwayne Johnson lobbied for his return through the highly publicized cameo in black adam and a potential lynchpin for Johnson’s own DC universe franchise. But black adam has grossed $389 million worldwide, its soft performance casts doubt on Johnson’s much-touted plans for a sequel and eventual Adam vs. Superman even before Gunn’s decision. The studio had its own plan as new movie co-directors Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy wanted to make a Iron Man sequel, having Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight to write the treatment. (Classic character Brainiac was to have been the villain of that piece, a source says.)

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“In the end, he was a pawn in Dwayne’s failed attempt to control a piece of DC,” observes an insider.

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Cavill, sources say, did not have an agreement to return as Superman, only a verbal agreement that the studio would develop future projects. They paid him $250,000 each for his cameo appearances. The actor in recent years had a resurgence thanks to starring in the popular Netflix fantasy series The Wizard, which saw him earn $1 million per episode. Cavill left the show this fall, though it’s unclear if the promise of more Superman appearances was behind his departure.

Gunn and Safran are well aware of the sensibilities behind firing the popular cast of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, as well as the sensibilities of parting ways with high-profile and popular talent. Forgoing a call to agents or producers, the executives met with Cavill to discuss his plans and seemed to indicate a possible new role in the future. The pair also made proposals to Ben Affleck aka Batman, asking him to direct a DC movie for them, while Jason Momoa, who could become Aquaman, has also reunited with the duo, possibly to play a new role. .

Cavill has already lined up another franchise, Warhammer 40,000 on Amazon.

As for Gunn, he responded to a fan who accused Warner Bros. and DC of misleading Cavill. black adamopening weekend. Said Gunn in a comment on Instagram this week: “Everything with Black Adam happened before I was around.”

A version of this story first appeared in the December 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here for subscribe.

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