Adding to the intrigue was the complicated baggage of the blue brand’s past.
Not only were Gunn and Safran tasked with overseeing the release of upcoming DC films like The Flash and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, but also the fate of the franchise’s popular, high-profile cast from not one – but two – Justice League films.
DC to Recast Zack Snyder’s Justice League Cast
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, fan resistance to recasting the Justice League cast assembled by Zack Snyder is a reality that’s not lost on Peter Safran or James Gunn – indicating the decision to make those replacements has already been taken by the pair.
A decade ago, Zack Snyder was tasked with creating a DC Universe which began with casting Henry Cavill as Superman for 2013’s Man of Steel.
This was followed by Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, along with recruiting Ezra Miller’s Flash, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, and Ray Fisher’s Cyborg for 2017’s Justice League – although that all quickly came to a grinding halt for Snyder.
When the director was forced to step away from the ensemble film, Joss Whedon and Warner Bros. reportedly overhauled the film into a final product that was anything but well-received or faithful to Snyder’s vision.
A massive fan movement resulted in the 2021 release of Zack Snyder’s cut of the film, despite the studio’s clear lack of intention to continue with the director.
But while Snyder and his vision were gone, his cast remained. Until now.
Through a bombshell announcement on Twitter, James Gunn confirmed that Henry Cavill would not be playing Superman in the rebooted DCU.
The Hollywood Reporter’s recent article went on to note how Gunn and Safran met with Cavill ahead of time and even suggested a possible new DC role for the actor in the future.
The two executives also held similar talks with Batman’s Ben Affleck and discussed the possibility of directing, while Aquaman‘s Jason Momoa – whose sequel has yet to be released – discussed playing a new role as reports swirl that his Aquaman would also get recast.
Now, even though Gunn has yet to formally announce that Affleck and Momoa are being recast, the fact that these conversations took place suggests as much.
Gal Gadot continuing on as Wonder Woman is unlikely as well, especially since the studio is not moving forward with Wonder Woman 3 and The Flash has reportedly cut Gadot’s cameo.
Goodbye, Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot?
The fact that Cavill, Affleck, and Gadot are so popular, despite how convoluted the DCU has been, is a true testament to the actors, as well as DC fans.
Audiences recognized that these stars were capable of more than what they were given and continued to support them amid the actions of the studio or the lack thereof.
While some fans have hoped that Cavill would be the only casualty and the rest of the cast would continue, again, Gunn and Safran’s talks with the talent regarding other roles in the franchise confirm just the opposite.
Just when the new executives formally announce the news of their departure – just as they have done with Cavill’s – remains to be seen.
Gunn and Safran engaged in personal talks and presented offers knowing how the fans would react; and given the fervor behind the Snyder Cut moment, they’re wise to tread carefully.
It’s worth noting, however, that one member of the Justice League cast was highly unlikely to continue regardless, and that’s Ezra Miller.
While The Flash has yet to release, his actions and legal problems have seemingly brought his DC career to an end.
With 2023 mere weeks away, fans are sure to hear more about what Gunn and Safran have planned for the total reboot of the DCU soon. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how audiences respond.