The DCEU Failed Henry Cavill
By Matt Chieco
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Superman... but who will be stepping into the iconic role?
In recent weeks, reports have emerged suggesting that Warner Bros. harbors doubts about Henry Cavill's ability to anchor future Superman films. Speculation has swirled about introducing Supergirl as the primary Kryptonian in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), while other discussions lean toward employing Cavill's Superman in a manner similar to how the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) utilizes the Hulk.
Since the 2013 release of 'Man of Steel,' the DCEU has grappled with how to best utilize Henry Cavill's talents. Zack Snyder's film set the stage for a fresh start, generating excitement despite its imperfections. Grossing over $600 million worldwide, it became the highest-earning standalone Superman film ever.
Cavill is just one in a line of actors who have donned the cape over the years, but his portrayal has left a lasting impact. Not only does he embody the appearance of a comic book hero, but he also genuinely cares about the character's legacy, and not just looking for another paycheck. Following 'Man of Steel,' Warner Bros. deferred a sequel to instead chase the MCU. 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' followed, giving continuity to Superman's narrative but sharing the spotlight.
Despite the 'Justice League' CGI mustache debacle, Cavill's popularity with fans remained strong. Yet the absence of a Superman sequel on DC's future movie slate, coupled with audience fatigue after 'Justice League,' fueled speculations of Cavill's potential retirement from the Clark Kent.
The situation surrounding Henry Cavill remains uncertain, but if Warner Bros. were to recast the part, Cavill could find a welcome home in the MCU.
Had Warner Bros. embraced Zack Snyder's vision and embarked on a series of five or six films charting Superman's evolution from reluctant hero to the beloved figure we recognize, Henry Cavill's DCEU role could have rivaled the popularity of Captain America. There's still hope, as Cavill recently shared his perspective in an interview:
“I’ve always been a fan of Superman. With a character like that, you carry the mantle with you offset. And it becomes part of your public representation. When you meet children, children don’t necessarily see me as Henry Cavill, but they might see Superman, and there’s a responsibility which comes with that. Because it’s such a wonderful character, it’s actually a responsibility I’m happy to have, and I hope that I get to play more of Superman in years to come.”
Audiences will get to see Cavill reprise his Superman role once more in 'Zack Snyder's Justice League,' set to debut on HBO Max in 2021.