Photo: Henry Cavill’s Superman
Little did Henry Cavill know that while he was slaying orcs when playing World of Warcraft , he received the phone call of a lifetime. That phone call he missed turned out to be from director Zack Snyder revealing that Cavill had officially been cast as Superman . The duo then teamed up for what ultimately became ‘ Man of Steel ’ and while the film received a variety of different reactions from across the spectrum of opinion, there was one thing that audiences largely agreed upon: Henry Cavill is a fantastic Superman. Maybe even the best we’ve ever had, which says a lot considering that every other actor to portray the character has become their own icon. Since then, Cavill reprised his role in the less beloved ‘ Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice ’ and ‘ Justice League ’. But now, minus a headless Superman cameo in ‘ Shazam! ’, reused Superman footage in ‘ Zack Snyder’s Justice League ’, and a shadowy cameo in HBO Max’s ‘ Peacemaker ’ series, Superman himself has pretty much disappeared from the DCEU.
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However, with ‘ Black Adam ’ just around the corner and with rumors swirling around the internet for months that Cavill could possibly make his long-awaited return as Superman in the film, Dwayne Johnson has not hid the fact that this particular rumor and yearning has caught his attention. The actor has explained numerous times why he believes it’s important to listen to fans as much as possible. With this in mind, these rumors snowballed into the possibility that in response to fans social media, Johnson went to Warner Bros. executives and tried to get them to not only include Cavill’s Superman in the film, but also encouraged them to sign Cavill back on for multiple projects, including potentially a standalone ‘Superman’ film. While nothing is confirmed yet, fans would not be too crazy to anticipate Henry Cavill finally bringing the cape back out of the closet.
A Long Period Of Uncertainty
After the lukewarm response to ‘Justice League’ in 2017, the future of the DCEU was up in the air. Some were speculating that WB would stick with the current cinematic continuity, but would focus on developing projects centered on other characters such as Supergirl or the Wonder Twins. Other theories were that the studio was looking to scrap and reboot the DC film franchise altogether. Either way, it looked as if Henry Cavill was officially done as Superman. The Hollywood Reporter itself ran an article in 2018 with sources saying that Henry Cavill had hung up the cape and had parted ways with WB.
As far as what the future potentially held for the Superman character, there were reports that J.J Abrams was developing a Superman reboot with Ta-Nehisi Coates penning the script. Some were even speculating that Michael B. Jordan would take up the cape, not as Clark Kent, but as a different kind of Superman. Other reports came out that Warner Bros. was potentially moving away Superman to potentially develop a ‘Supergirl’ film. To be clear, if WB wanted to develop these projects, great. However, what was upsetting was that they seemed to be doing so as replacements for Superman himself. If you own the creative rights to one of the most recognized and beloved characters in the history of storytelling, why would you let it collect dust on the shelf? Regardless, for a while, it seemed like Superman, let alone Cavill’s iteration of Superman, was nowhere in sight.
Likely Appearance in ‘Black Adam’
Fast forward to now, it has since been at least five or six years since Cavill was on a set in full red and blue Krypotonian garb. Or so we believe. ‘Black Adam’, a film which has been in development for years, is finally arriving next week. As the film’s release got closer and closer, the rumors of Henry Cavill appearing in the film have only snowballed into an avalanche. The Rock himself has been adding to this appetite with numerous social media posts, the most recent of which praising the movie and describing the character as “the most powerful force on this planet” then reassuring fans that he means “on THIS planet”, then ending the video with a wink. The Rock clearly knows what message he’s sending to the fans. He’s been making no effort to hide the fact that he’s heard the clamoring for Superman and Black Adam to duke it out on the big screen, as has occurred multiple times throughout the comics. One would think at some point that Zachary Levi’s Shazam would also have to enter the picture eventually.
With The Rock’s level of success and influence in the entertainment industry, it can’t be too far fetched to think that he went to WB execs and won a Cavill Superman cameo for the film. Not to mention that since that merger with Discovery Media, the previous regime’s plans for Superman (or lack thereof) have been scrapped and there have since been multiple reports that the new heads at Warner Media Discovery were interested in bringing Cavill back to the role. To add another reason as to why this may be true, Cavill and Johnson both have the same manager in a woman named Dany Garcia , one of the most established and well respected talent agents in Hollywood. Putting all this together, it’s hard to believe that conversations haven’t at least been had.
Reports Of Another ‘Superman’ Film
There were even reports that Johnson also persuaded the creative forces at WB to re-sign the actor for multiple projects, maybe even including another ‘Superman’ film. Whatever may be in store, we know that one of those projects will feature a Black Adam/ Superman confrontation. In a recent interview, when asked if this particular faceoff will happen, Johnson responded with a resounding “Absolutely!” That pretty much puts it to rest. Likely thanks to the efforts of Dwayne Johnson, Henry Cavill’s Superman is still alive and well in the DCEU and is gearing up for a Krypton-shattering return. To be clear, Cavill may very well not be in ‘Black Adam’. But it looks like the stars have aligned and DC fans can prepare for their own version of a Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield-like return at some point. It is once again worth reiterating the likely role The Rock had in making this happen, as he looks to be a prominent behind-the-scenes shepherd for the DCEU going forward. Some fans have voiced concerns over The Rock having this type of role and touting a change in “the hierarchy of power in the DC universe” as he puts it, accusing the actor of recentering the entire franchise around his character, a second-tier villain in DC comics. Except that is not what he means. Johnson is signaling a much-needed creative direction is on the way for the DCEU. Fans can agree that the franchise has been in shambles after ‘Man of Steel’. If having a megastar like The Rock in your franchise means helping it garner the success it deserves, this should only be a reason for optimism.
It’s been nearly a decade since the last true ‘Superman’ movie. It is still mind boggling how one of the most iconic and widely recognized characters in the entire world has been on the sidelines for this long. In the age of revivals and revamps that we live in, if there’s one character/franchise that is overdue for this treatment, it’s Superman. And who better to do it with than the already cast and perhaps perfect Superman, Henry Cavill. Again, there’s no confirmation as to when it will happen, but it looks safe to place your bets on it happening nonetheless. And when it does, to my fellow lifelong Superman fans, be ready.
By Nader Chamas
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Nader Chamas is an aspiring television writer who seeks to fuse thought provoking progressive ideals into the films, shows, and stories that he loves. Having graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Screenwriting, Nader seeks to use his writing to advance causes that do not get enough attention or input across mainstream media. Like most, Nader has his own share of his favorite franchises and stories across pop culture. However, he seeks to contribute timely and relevant topics into these stories as well as in his own original material. This is why Nader’s analysis of popular films and tv shows matches The Hollywood Insider’s practice of discussing entertainment from a socially cognizant and critical perspective.