It was another tumultuous week at the DC Universe – but the tumult appears to be coming to an end. A new path is being forged, and people seem to know where the path is going.

Taking to Twitter Wednesday night, new DC Studios co-chair James Gunn released a terse but earth shaking series of announcements, including the end of Henry Cavill’s run as Superman.

Peter & I have a DC slate ready to go, which we couldn’t be more over-the-moon about; we’ll be able to share some exciting information about our first projects at the beginning of the new year. Among those on the slate is Superman. In the initial stages, our story will be focusing on an earlier part of Superman’s life, so the character will not be played by Henry Cavill. But we just had a great meeting with Henry and we’re big fans and we talked about a number of exciting possibilities to work together in the future.
In subsequent tweets Gunn revealed that Ben Affleck has met with them about directing a film, and assured fans that this Young Superman story would not be an origin story.
Cavill confirmed his departure in his own simultaneous Instagram post:
“I have just had a meeting with James Gunn and Peter Safran and it’s sad news, everyone,” he wrote. “I will, after all, not be returning as Superman. After being told by the studio to announce my return back in October, prior to their hire, this news isn’t 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. I wish them and all involved with the new universe the best of luck, and the happiest of fortunes.”

Earlier in the week, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins posted her own gracious take on the news she wouldn’t be returning for Wonder Woman 3:

When there started being backlash about WW3 not happening, the attractive clickbait false story that it was me that killed it or walked away started to spread. This is simply not true. I never walked away. I was open to considering anything asked of me. It was my understanding there was nothing I could do to move anything forward at this time. DC is obviously buried in changes they are having to make, so I understand these decisions are difficult right now.

I do not want what has been a beautiful journey with WW to land on negative note. I have loved and been so honored to be the person who got to make these last two Wonder Woman films. She is an incredible character. Living in and around her values makes one a better person every day. I wish her and her legacy an amazing future ahead, with or without me.

The ever available Gunn tweeted in reply “I can attest that all of Peter and my interactions with you were only pleasant and professional.”
Reading between the lines here, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the entire Snyder-era cast for the JLA being retired, although the fate of Gal Gadot hasn’t been directly addressed and there are still movies starring Zachary Levi, Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller in the can and set to be released in 2023.
But they’re still not the only game in town. As Gunn and Safran reveal their master plan, the ongoing Robert Pattinson Batverse being directed by Matt Reeves is NOT part of it – Gunn debunked THAT rumor as well – and it’s being reported that the Ta-Nehisi Coates/J.J. Abrams Black Superman project is still going forward.
Gunn’s interest in Superman is a long standing one, THR reports.

Warners has long wanted Gunn to tackle a Superman movie. In 2018, after Gunn departed Marvel Studios for DC when he was temporarily fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, then-Warners studio boss Toby Emmerich pushed for Gunn to take on Superman. Gunn opted to write and direct The Suicide Squad instead. That movie also paved the way for Peacemaker, the HBO Max spinoff starring John Cena, and gave Gunn a taste of worldbuilding in the DC universe.

Still, Superman has long been a favorite of Gunn, who has been thinking about this new movie since his early days at DC four years ago. Over the weekend, Gunn marked the anniversary of the 1978 film by Richard Donner, sharing the poster and reminiscing about seeing it in theaters in Missouri as a child. Wrote the filmmaker and exec: “I loved it and it rivaled Star Wars for me. And the score blew my mind.”

Still, as the news broke, Snyder-istas began to send a great wail into the Internet, with the most common refrain being that they don’t want a Superman movie that’s just like Peacemaker – the HBO Max series that Gunn wrote and directed that spun out of The Suicide Squad movie which he also wrote and directed.

Peacemaker was indeed a singular and excellent piece of work, but it was very different from, say, Guardians of the Galaxy, so I myself have confidence that Gunn can write a different character for Superman.

I suspect that there is also garment rending going on in the Dwayne Johnson camp. Johnson and Cavill share an agent – Johnson’s ex-wife Dany Garcia – and Johnson’s long dream of his own share of the DC universe seems to have been washed away by the new regime as well. You’ve got to feel for him – Johnson first announced he wanted to play Black Adam all the way back in 2008, and it really was a passion project for him.

At any rate, Gunn and Safran are cleaning up the colorful clutter left by a decade of WB waffling and retrenching, and the studio’s long time policy of allowing various powerful fiefdoms to compete on the lot. The new team actually seems to be doing what the long awaited, long dreamed of Messiah/DCU Feige was prophesied to do: making a long term plan that unfolds logically and with intent involving DC’s most popular and beloved characters. Now, will it all be smooth sailing with the debt-ridden studio and its “Let’s take a writedown!” head, David Zaslav? Probably not, but let’s enjoy the honeymoon.

As for Cavill…you know, he was a great Superman. He had the superhuman look edged with empathy for human beings, good chemistry with Amy Adam’s Lois Lane, and Snyder made him look like something more than mortal. The Snyder/Tsujihara era may  have been messy, but there were good moments in there, fun movies.

And don’t cry for Cavill – despite also giving up his Witcher franchise, I’m sure he’ll be signed up to some huge new project in no time. He’s a star.

But a new era dawns. Can’t wait to hear more about it! 


  1. Cavill was mediocre in four lousy movies that all underperformed, or outright tanked, at the box office, and has left no cultural footprint as Superman. Nobody outside of Snyderbros remembers or cares that he played the character. He’s a footnote.

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