Henry Cavill is in a bit of an odd position. He’s the current public face of Superman, having played the Man of Steel in three feature films for Warner Bros. to varying degrees of success. He’s the actor in the role of one of the most iconic superheroes in history. But he’s also the lead of Netflix’s ambitious new fantasy series The Witcher, a Game of Thrones-esque gamble that the streaming service hopes will be immensely popular for years to come, necessitating a significant time commitment from Cavill. And then he’s also sneakily a tremendous supporting and comedic actor, showcasing scene-stealing turns in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Mission: Impossible – Fallout. He’s almost too good at too many things.
In September 2018, THR reported that Cavill was “parting ways” with Warner Bros. and the character of Superman. Both the studio and Cavill declined to say anything substantial about the report, and an official announcement replacing Cavill has yet to happen. Now, speaking with Men’s Health, Cavill says he hasn’t given up on the role just yet, and feels there’s more story to tell:
“The cape is in the closet,” Cavill says. “It’s still mine… I’ve not given up the role. There’s a lot I have to give for Superman yet. A lot of storytelling to do. A lot of real, true depths to the honesty of the character I want to get into. I want to reflect the comic books. That’s important to me. There’s a lot of justice to be done for Superman. The status is: You’ll see.”
Justice is a curious word there, given that it does feel like Cavill’s turn as Superman wasn’t afforded the best opportunity to shine. He made his debut as the character in the 2013 reboot Man of Steel, but after that film failed to capture the rapturous box office Warner Bros. was anticipating, they teamed Superman up with Batman (and Wonder Woman) for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice instead of forging ahead with a proper Man of Steel sequel. Then, looking to fast-forward to Avengers-style success, Cavill’s next turn as the superhero was in Justice League, a film plagued with production problems that was completely restructured during reshoots helmed by a completely different director, with the studio taking ultimate control of the final cut.
Speaking with Men’s Health, Cavill offered a candid assessment of the three DC films he’s starred in thus far:
Man of Steel? “A great starting point. If I were to go back, I don’t think I’d change anything.” Batman v Superman? “Very much a Batman movie. And I think that realm of darkness is great for a Batman movie.” Justice League? “It didn’t work.”
Reading between the lines here, it sounds like Cavill also wasn’t too thrilled that his second outing as Superman was somewhat overshadowed by Batman. No disrespect to Ben Affleck, whose take on the Caped Crusader was genuinely compelling, but we barely got to know Superman in Man of Steel, and then in his second film he has to share half the screentime with a Batman reboot and significant set-up for Justice League.
The bottom line here is Cavill never got a Man of Steel 2, and he deserves a shot at it. I think even if Warner Bros. wants to soft-reboot the character, they can keep Cavill and use Man of Steel 2 to do it. The sequel has been in development ever since Man of Steel was released, with directors like Matthew Vaughn and Christopher McQuarrie pitching their takes, but Warner Bros. has thus far yet to bite.
The future of DC is unclear at the moment. Joker’s success likely means more R-rated one-offs in the future, and Justice League was a wash, but Jason Momoa is returning for an Aquaman sequel, Gal Gadot is back in Wonder Woman 1984, and Ezra Miller is trying his darndest to get The Flash movie off the ground. So why not finally give Cavill a shot? The guy has certainly put in the time and has had every opportunity to badmouth Warner Bros. over the past year, but didn’t. He clearly wants to get back in the saddle and do right by Superman. So give him a great writer, great director, and let him at it.