So, Henry Cavill is unemployed. Again.
Less than two months after the actor announced his departure The Witcher, DC bosses announced they had officially severed ties with the Superman actor. “I’m not going back as Superman after all,” Cavill wrote on Instagram earlier this week. It was really surprising news. After all, Cavill had only told fans he’d be returning as a man of steel in October, and retribution seemed set in stone after a cameo in Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam. Cavill has rightly made no secret of his shock. “Having been instructed by the studio to announce my return before they are discontinued, this news isn’t the easiest of news, but such is life,” he said in a statement. But the actor should rejoice; he is finally free.
Many actors will tell you that their careers depend on timing, and in the early stages of Cavill’s career he was injured in a series of near misses. The idea of casting him as a spandex-wearing hero first arose in 2004, but Brandon Routh was hired instead. The result was Superman returns (2006). A few years earlier, Harry Potter fans had started a petition to have him play Cedric Diggory in The Wizarding Series Four (2005), while author Stephanie Meyers called him her “perfect Edward Cullen” in a possible adaptation of duskwhich was realized in 2008. Both roles went to Robert Pattinson, with Cavill considered “too old” to play the latter.
This was particularly frustrating considering he was also a main contender for the role of James Bond in 2005, until the producers decided he was “too young” and settled on Daniel Craig instead. It seemed Cavill couldn’t take a break — and then, in 2011, after a memorable turn in historical drama series The Tudors (2007-10) he was cast as Clark Kent in Zack Snyder’s man of Steel.
Cavill was adept at casting the heroic and gallant, if admittedly drab, character. Despite the films’ questionable quality, he always instilled a respectable seriousness in the role. If he had been screwed by Hollywood in the early stages of his career, he would have spent his thirties wasting his talents on a series of what would be considered “average” projects.
There were exceptions: a role in the murderous Mission: Impossible movie, Stand out (2018) saw the actor flex his villainous muscles during Guy Ritchie’s UNCLE’s husband (2015) and Netflix Enola Holmes (2020) were enriched by his spirited charisma. But as Superman, he was always disappointed with the material that was handed to him.
For years, DC has struggled to create its own expansive cinematic universe similar to Marvel’s, with lower returns. Not that Cavill ever indicated he thought so; In interviews, even when his Superman future seemed uncertain, the actor remained enthusiastic about his commitment — even when others, like former 007 star Craig, wore their weariness on their sleeves (relate to that?). He was clearly excited about the opportunity to play the role in DC’s new era being cast by James Gunn and Peter Safran – although it was unconfirmed he appeared to be quitting The Witcher because of his Superman return – but instead of rewarding his loyalty, the company he stayed with turned its back on him. That this is in favor of a new Superman film that focuses on a younger version of the character might fill him with a disappointing sense of deja vu.
Cavill may think he was hung out to dry, but he would be wrong. It would have been fun to see what Gunn and Safran were up to with his Superman, and sure it must have been nice to know that work (and money) was on the horizon. But Cavill has essentially been given a key that will free him from the shackles of a decade of credits he could probably do without.
Now it’s time to say yes to the projects these future blockbusters would have kept him from – movies and TV shows that don’t waste his acting skills, they make the most of them. A standalone, potentially Oscar-busting drama maybe, or a supporting role in a Christopher Nolan film (the director would certainly win the easy-going Brit over for it). It would also be great to see Cavill take on a modern character – maybe he could be one of the next hotel guests in season three The White Lotus?
The world is Cavill’s oyster – if he plays his cards right, 10 years from now he’ll be thankful for that encounter with Gunn and, instead of just being seen as Superman, will have cemented his legacy as the Superman DC didn’t deserve.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/henry-cavill-superman-dc-the-witcher-b2246679.html Henry Cavill should thank James Gunn for dumping him as DC’s Superman