James Gunn has announced that he has begun writing a new Superman movie that will not star Henry Cavill, as it will follow Clark Kent’s early days as a reporter at the Daily Planet.
“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,” Gunn wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Gunn and fellow DC Studios chief Peter Safran recently met with Cavill to share the news, which caught the actor off-guard after Warner Bros. encouraged him to announce his return as Superman back in October. However, that was before Gunn and Safran came on board to run the studio and take the DCU in a different direction.
Gunn hasn’t committed to direct the new Superman movie, but I would be genuinely surprised if he didn’t, if only because he has been more protective of his own work of late. Then again, it might be easier for him to hand off this project to another filmmaker, knowing he’s still the head of DC Studios and would still be able to impact the final cut. He could very well find that he has too many DC projects to oversee to channel all of his creative energy into just one.
Cavill recently announced his departure from the Netflix series The Witcher, which isn’t looking like such a smart move right now, though he’ll surely rebound. He took to Instagram to thank Superman fans, writing, “I will, after all, not be returning as Superman. After being told by the studio to announce my return back in October, prior to [Gunn and Safran’s] 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.”
Cavill’s exit also calls into question the future of Black Adam, which has not performed up to WB’s expectations, even if it does manage to turn a profit. The new Superman movie is not, however, expected to impact the development of a Black Superman movie that Ta-Nehisi Coates is writing for producer J.J. Abrams.
Cavill could always return to the DCU as a different character, or reprise his role as Superman way down the line (similar to how Tobey Maguire came back as a certain webslinger in Spider-Man: No Way Home), but next up for the British actor is Matthew Vaughn‘s spy movie Argylle, which is expected to debut on Apple TV+ next year.