The actor is succeeded by Hollywood star David Corenswet, who is set to get his own film (Superman: Legacy) under newly-anointed DC Studios CEO James Gunn.
Cavill appeared in five DC films as the famed Kryptonian; however, only ever got one movie of his own, 2013's Man of Steel. And despite plans for a sequel, the film never ended up coming to fruition.
Will Man of Steel 2 Ever Release?
Sadly, as of now, Man of Steel 2 will never see the light of day. The film was originally on the cards at Warner Bros. but with the incoming DCEU reboot from James Gunn and Peter Safran, any hopes for a Cavill-centric Superman sequel are dead.
After Cavill's hero made a brief return to the big screen in 2022's Black Adam, reports of a Man of Steel sequel started to gain some steam.
The project was to be written by Peaky Blinders writer Travis Knight, with no director attached to the project at that time. Hope for the title was shortlived though, as development on it drew to crawl. Warner Bros. was reportedly not "thrilled" with where the movie was headed.
Then, with the hiring of James Gunn and Peter Safran as co-CEOs of DC Studios, plans for Man of Steel 2 were scrapped, in favor of a new Superman film from Gunn himself.
This resulted in Cavill's time as the hero coming to an end, as the now-former DC actor wrote in a heartfelt Instagram post that DC and Warner Bros. "have a universe to build:"
"I have just had a meeting with James Gunn and Peter Safran and it's sad news, everyone. I will, after all, not be returning as Superman. After being told by the studio to announce my return back in October, prior to their 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."
The actor's replacement was then announced in June 2023. David Corenswet (who fans will know from Netflix's Hollywood series) will take on the role, as Gunn and Safran opted to bring in a younger actor to "[focus] on an earlier part of Superman's life" in their reimagined DC Universe (DCU):
"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.
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."
What Was Man of Steel 2 About?
Plot details about the potential Man of Steel 2 are scarce, but there are a few nuggets out there for fans to read into.
After Cavill's DC hero was seemingly set to play into The Flash (something he never ended up doing), he was reportedly going to go up against one of Superman's most iconic foes, Brainiac.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the megalomaniacal robotic genius would have been the primary antagonist of Man of Steel 2.
Aside from that, the movie would have likely featured plenty of setup for a potential Crisis on Infinite Earths movie.
Superman was supposedly going to be the primary focus of that film, with the team-up actually at one point being teased as a "Superman [story]:"
"Yeah, well I had just assumed that the final movie was going to be very much a Superman movie. Like the final chapter was going to be a large percentage of Superman to just bookend the whole thing."
This Crisis film was a key piece in the plans of DC's former leadership regime, serving as somewhat of a farewell for the Zack Snyder-era of the franchise.
But all of that obviously never came to pass.
Will Henry Cavill's Superman Ever Return?
Over the years, fans have learned to never say never when it comes to a particular comic book actor popping back up at some point down the line (just look what happened with George Clooney in DC's The Flash).
But, for now, a Henry Cavill DC return feels like a bit of a pipe dream. Even if Warner Bros. wanted the actor back, it remains to be seen if he would agree.
After such an up-and-down tenure in the role, a short-lived return after thinking he was done as the character, and then ultimately getting the boot because of a regime change, it would be understandable if Cavill were sour to the idea of ever being Superman again.
Upon the reveal that James Gunn and Peter Safran were moving on from the actor, Gunn did mention that he had met with Cavill and discussed "exciting possibilities to work together [in the future]."
So, the door for Cavill's return may still be open, but it likely will not be as Superman.
The first Superman movie since 2013's Man of Steel, Superman: Legacy, comes to theaters on July 11, 2025.