Cavill first appeared as DC’s famed Kryptonian back in 2013’s Man of Steel, going on to make only five more appearances in the super-powered universe without ever getting a proper solo follow-up as the hero.
Now, as gazes turn to James Gunn’s Superman: Legacy and the “younger” take on the character who will be played by Hollywood‘s David Corenswet, Cavill’s portrayal of the DC icon will fade into the mists of history.
With Corenswet’s casting having been made official, thus ends the Cavill era, shuttering all hope of a return for the actor after teases of such a thing.
Henry Cavill’s Black Adam Fiasco
After years away from the role, Cavill finally returned to the franchise in a surprise appearance in the post-credits sequence of 2022’s Black Adam, giving fans hope the actor had more in the tank when it came to Superman.
The Hollywood Reporter previously detailed that this post-credits was a last-minute addition for which the film’s star Dwayne Johnson advocated, but it was also actively pushed against by previous DC Pictures president Walter Hamada.
However, it was reported Johnson went over Hamada’s head, pushing for the Superman actor to be involved in future plans for the DCU. At the time, Johnson was quoted as saying “The most powerful and unstoppable force in the entire universe has been on the sidelines for too long:”
“For the past 10 years, as I was pushing Black Adam up this hill to get made for the past five, six, seven years, I was also listening to the fans at the same time, where you have Black Adam, we will create Black Adam for him to be the most powerful and unstoppable force on this planet. The most powerful and unstoppable force in the entire universe has been on the sidelines for too long.”
This would mark the last time Cavill would appear as a part of the franchise, with DC Studios co-CEO James Gunn’s plans for a recast being announced shortly after.
The Man of Steel 2 Fans Never Saw
What hurts the most for many is the fact that Henry Cavill’s time as Superman is done without ever getting any proper follow-up to the DCEU kick-off, Man of Steel.
But that is not to say there were never any plans for a potential Man of Steel 2.
After Cavill’s Black Adam appearance, reports of the Man of Steel sequel started to trickle out. Progress on the project had drawn to a snail’s pace and Warner Bros., causing the studio to put a halt to development, instead opting in favor of a new take on the universe from its two new DC Studio leads.
The film – which was being written by Peaky Blinders’ Travis Knight – would have seemingly seen Cavill’s DC hero take on the iconic Superman villain Brainiac. Not much else was known about the sequel, but it did seem like it would have set Cavill’s Supes up for even more future appearances within the interconnected universe.
Following Man of Steel 2‘s reported cancellation, Cavill himself reacted to the news, writing in an Instagram post that he respected the decision, as newly-appointed DC Studios co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran “have a universe to build.”
A Cut Flash Appearance
As a part of the canceled future plans for Henry Cavill and his Kryptonian hero, he was also supposedly going to appear in DC’s latest big-screen adventure, The Flash.
According to a The Hollywood Reporter, Cavill’s character was originally set to pop up as a part of the courthouse steps sequence seen at the end of the Ezra Miller-led film.
This ending was actually shot back in September and would have seen Cavill appear alongside Sasha Calle’s Supergirl, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, and Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman, setting up the character for a new standalone Superman film.
Instead, Warner Bros. opted to use a different version of the scene, including the shocking return of George Clooney’s Batman.
Superman in Justice League 2
Then Cavill’s Kal-El would have likely been back after this standalone Superman sequel in Justice League 2, a project was in the early stages of development.
Apparently, Micheal De Luca and Pamela Abby (the current leadership team at Warner Bros. Pictures wanted one more Justice League movie with the Zack Snyder-era DC actors (via The Hollywood Reporter).
This movie was reportedly going to be the franchise’s take on the iconic Crisis on Infinite Earths comic storyline, with “the door open” for actors who were seemingly done with the franchise like Ben Affleck as Batman to return for the Multiversal epic.
Given Crisis‘ in-comic universal reset, it would have likely been following this movie that actors like Cavill would have retired from the franchise, acting as a pseudo-Endgame for this era of DC storytelling.
However, those plans never came to fruition (at least in their initially conceived forms), cutting Cavill’s time in the role short, and ushering in a retooled vision for the franchise on the backs of Gunn and Safran.
Henry Cavill’s five appearances as Superman can be streamed now on Max.