Revenge Report: Understanding The Latest on Superman
If you’re a fan of the cinematic DC universe, and you’ve got questions about where it’s going to go after Aquaman comes out, get in line cause you’re not alone. Following Justice League, many have wondered how Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment intends to rebound from what’s seen as a low point for the brand- in terms of already established characters like Superman, Batman, The Flash, etc. And recent comments from Amy Adams and Jason Momoa about the status of the Superman franchise in particular have created confusion, so let’s clear some things up.
For starters, it should be noted that no one knows what’s going on with Superman. No one. Not Adams; Not Momoa; Not us here at Revenge of The Fans; Not anyone from another geek blog. So it’s impossible to know for certain what’s going on with the Last Son of Krypton’s future on the big screen.
Especially because, from the sound of it, not even DC Entertainment head Walter Hamada knows for sure what’s next.
This report will merely attempt to lay out the facts, and then analyze those facts using direct quotes from the players involved- rounded out by the most credible rumors we’ve heard on the subject.
“So what are the facts?”
Since it’s become so commonplace to share “news” on the internet that is nearly indecipherable from editorial content because of the way it merges actual information with the writer’s own “take” on said information, it’s important to simply present what is known without any analysis whatsoever.
- Henry Cavill still has one remaining appearance left on his contract
- In 2017, Matthew Vaughn was Warner Bros’ top choice to direct a sequel to Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. It was first reported in March of 2017, then later confirmed by Vaughn himself in September of that year. (Then reconfirmed to me directly by Mark Millar, whom Vaughn reached out to to discuss ideas for the film)
- In early 2018, there was talk of having Cavill make a physical appearance in Shazam! This was first reported by me, and later confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter
- Henry Cavill has maintained publicly that he wants to stay on as Superman, a character he thinks still has many more stories to tell
- The studio has said has said that, as of September 12, 2018 “no decisions have been made regarding any upcoming Superman films.“
- On that same date, Cavill’s manager Dany Garcia assured fans that “the cape is still in his closet” and that Warner Bros “has been and continue to be our partners as they evolve the DC Universe.”
So those are the only known facts, either stated by the involved parties or confirmed by an industry trade like The Hollywood Reporter- which the WB has frequently used as a sounding board for exclusive information on their plans.
Now it’s time to analyze those facts…
That last line is crucial. No, not the PR spin where Garcia says Cavill has still got the cape, but the part about how the studio is evolving the DC Universe. Why is it that so important? Because it’s true: The studio is still in a state of figuring out exactly what kind of relationship it wants to have with its past.
On the one hand, new DC honcho Hamada wants to turn the page and move into the future. On the other hand, there are things from the recent past that undoubtedly worked. Like Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and- based on the latest box office projections– Jason Momoa as Aquaman. There was even chatter two months ago that some within the studio were keen to bring back Ben Affleck’s Batman until Matt Reeves slammed the door on that.
Yet it’s important to note that the studio remains flexible. And while some have given Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment a hard time for not making more frequent “official statements” on some of the rumors that’ve floated around, it actually works to their benefit. The fact that they haven’t come out and said “Affleck is no longer Batman” or “Cavill is no longer Superman” gives them to the flexibility to change their minds down the line.
For now, any such final decisions are off the table while they await to see how audiences take to Aquaman. As I’ve written about before, it’s a unique situation where if the movie succeeds it’ll give the studio more leeway on which aspects from its cinematic past it wants to keep, and if it fails…it’ll force them to create a sharp break from Zack Snyder’s building blocks for the shared DC Universe.
That’s why any reports that either Affleck or Cavill are 100% definitively finished as Batman or Superman are premature.
And it’s also why you get situations like the ones that have arisen lately, where DC actors like Adams, Momoa, and J.K. Simmons all seem to be speaking out of both sides of their mouths. One moment they acknowledge the rumors and seem to accept that certain things may never happen again, and the next they make sure to emphasize that nothing is official and that they’re hopeful they will return.
But what about Cavill specifically, Mario?
First of all, stop yelling at me. Second of all, you’re right. This is a column about Superman, and I got away from singling him out amidst all of this behind-the-scenes indecisiveness.
In the last two weeks, we’ve heard this:
Momoa (12/8): “If they’re both out, then listen: It’s just the place they’re at in their careers. I mean, how many has Henry done? He’s done three? Yeah, I mean, like, you want to move on.”
“I mean, Henry wants to just expand on something.”
Adams (12/7): “I think I’m out of the DC universe now, but I was in it for a while.
“Yeah, I think they’re revamping that. I don’t know the details.”
Then, not more than a week later, we heard this:
Momoa (12/13): “I just talked to Henry… He’s absolutely not [leaving the character]. He loves the character. He’s not. One hundred percent.”
“It’s absolutely [not going to happen].”
Adams (12/11): “You know what’s funny? I actually don’t know. I haven’t had any official conversation with anybody. I was just talking with Nicole Kidman about it, and I was like, ‘Oh, I guess I’ve got to be careful what I say!’ But yeah, I haven’t had any word officially.“
The thread to focus on here, aside from the fact that neither Momoa or Adams has a say on the matter and therefore are in no position to break this kind of news, is the emphasis on the studio not making an official decision.
In Momoa’s case, it’s also important to note that his framing is a bit misleading. Perhaps it’s because of the way that ET reporter Melicia Johnson phrased the question, but it’s never been reported that Cavill was “leaving” or that he “quit.” While I can’t speak for every other site out there, most credible ones (including RTF) has made it crystal clear that the decision to step away from negotiations for further Superman appearances was the studio’s, not Henry’s.
Henry has always made his desire to return abundantly clear.
That’s why it’s important to accept that this all falls at the feet or Warner Bros., of DC Entertainment, and of one Walter Hamada. They’re the ones who have to make a decision, and that’s something they’ve yet to do- and likely won’t do until Aquaman finishes up its run.
Just for fun…
As a diehard Superman fan, it’s impossible for me to not at least try to read the tea leaves on a possible new movie or appearance for him. That’s why I’d like to share and discuss where I’m personally at when it comes to all of this “Will he or Won’t he?” stuff about my beloved Kal-El.
For starters, there’s a part of Momoa’s quote that many folks missed. Including us!
You see, in the original tweet by ET containing Momoa’s remarks, they left out the part where the actor said “I just talked to Henry.” That’s notable because it implies that some new development may have just arisen. It’s hardly something big enough to take to the bank, especially since he’s just out doing PR for his DC movie where it’s a priority to make everything sound positive and exciting for fans, but I also don’t think it’s worth completely ignoring.
Also, I reached out to the very same source that had told me the proposed Shazam! cameo (which, again, was confirmed by THR), and they’re also the one who told me about DC Daily way back in January of this year. So that’s two verified scoops from this insider.
As I said on twitter last week, they’ve been notably tight-lipped about what’s going on at WB/DC as of late. They’ve given me lots of “No comment“s and “Nothing I can share without getting in trouble” responses for the last month or so. But when I came to them again, with the question “Anything on Cavill staying on?” they responded, simply:
“Not officially off.“
Please keep in mind: This is not newsworthy. We’ve known for quite some time now, and Adams herself confirmed it, that the studio has yet to make a formal decision on this. And the studio itself has said “no decisions have been made.”
So this quote from my source isn’t exactly revelatory, and I’m not claiming this as some sort of scoop.
But what it does do, at least for me, is confirm the idea that things are still in limbo, and all options are still in play- even if some are more likely than others. If Henry was really 100% out as some would have you believe, that much would be known by now. It doesn’t mean he won’t eventually be officially recast, but it means that we’re still living in a place where anything’s possible.
Heck, I had given up on seeing my beloved Batfleck ever again until I heard they were trying to get Reeves to bookend The Batman with scenes featuring him as recently as two months ago.
So, for now, I say we keep Henry’s status as Superman filed under “Unlikely, but possible,” until Warner Bros. makes an official statement. To understand why I consider it unlikely, you should READ THIS.
But for all we know, Aquaman could do killer business, allowing Hamada to think “Wow, Snyder’s versions of these characters are still viable. Let’s take a pitch for Man of Steel 2 that puts a fresh coat of paint on Superman, the way Wonder Woman and Aquaman did for those Snyder creations.“
And maybe, just maybe, Dany Garcia will rein in her demands for Cavill’s new contract, and come back with far more reasonable stipulations.
Is that wishful thinking? Maybe. But hey, this is Hollywood. Stranger things have happened. It’s the kind of place where you “never say never.”
Also, what kind of a Superman fan would I be if I abandoned all hope?
Editor-In-Chief and Co-Founder of Revenge of The Fans. Previously, he's written for Latino-Review, IGN, Moviehole, and The Splash Report. He's also the host of the top-rated show The Fanboy Podcast and the co-host of The Revengers Podcast. E-Mail: MFR@RevengeOfTheFans.com | Twitter: @I_AM_MFR