The DC Extended Universe is in a great place heading into 2022, which will feature new movies and franchises that are bringing an impressive level of hype at this time. From all-new franchises like Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam to fresh faces in classic roles like Robert Pattinson in The Batman, there is plenty to look forward to.
However, there is one character/actor combination that appears to be left in the rear-view mirror for the time being, and inexplicably so at that: Henry Cavill’s Superman.
The Man of Steel was last seen in Zack Sndyer’s Justice League in early 2021, which helped to put the character in a better light after 2017's Mustache-gate in Joss Whedon’s Justice League. Even with that, Cavill has only seen screen time in one other movie, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, in which he shared the spotlight with Ben Affleck’s Batman and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman before sacrificing himself to Doomsday.
It’s clear that Superman is still alive and well within the DCEU; heck, he appeared in a semi-cameo at the end of 2019’s Shazam!, although it wasn’t Cavill wearing the suit. Recently, Cavill shared his own thoughts on the matter, not holding back his feelings on being away from the iconic role.
Cavill Still Invested in Superman
The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Superman star Henry Cavill about his future with the role of Clark Kent within the DC Extended Universe. Cavill hasn't played Superman in a solo movie since 2013's Man of Steel, the first film in the DCEU, and he feels a sense of "unfinished business" by not having made a true sequel to that movie yet.
Specifically, Cavill looked at the way Superman killed General Zod at the end of Man of Steel, viewing it as a great follow-up point and as the "reason for the character [to] never kill again." During that scene, Cavill improvised Superman falling to his knees and screaming, which he doesn't remember actually being written in the movie's script when filming:
“There is still a lot of storytelling for me to do as a Superman, and I would absolutely love the opportunity, The killing of Zod gave a reason for the character never to kill again. Superman falling to the ground and screaming afterward — I don’t think that was originally in the script, but I wanted to show the pain he had. I did far more emotional takes they didn’t choose; tears were happening. He just killed the last remaining member of his species. That’s the choice he made in that moment, and he’ll never do that again."
Cavill saw a chance for progression and "growth" after this moment where Superman could really look at himself in the mirror and understand the real emotions behind that killing, even as a "god-like being." Although there are no set plans for a sequel to Man of Steel, Cavill is more than ready for the opportunity should it arise:
"There's an opportunity for growth after that, to explore the psyche of Superman as a deep, seemingly invulnerable god-like being but with real feeling on the inside. As I always say, ‘The cape is still in the closet.'”
Unfinished Business for the Man of Steel
Henry Cavill's only DCEU solo movie, Man of Steel, holds an important place in DC history, even taking into account its mixed reviews from fans and critics alike after its 2013 debut. The film had an impressive run at the box office earning a $668 million return globally, with fans enjoying the new look at Kal-El's alien origins on Krypton before ingratiating himself with the people of Earth.
Now, nearly a decade later, there appears to be no plans whatsoever to follow up on that story, at least regarding something along the lines of a Man of Steel 2.
Of course, the Man of Steel legacy will continue in some form through other characters and franchises actively in development. Sasha Calle's Supergirl will don a suit that looks eerily similar to Cavill's costume in next year's The Flash, and the studio is also moving forward with a project centered on Val-Zod, giving the DCEU its first Black Superman in the near future.
Even considering these exciting developments, it seems to leave Henry Cavill's Kal-El in the dust, which is almost criminal considering he's one of the Justice League's founding members. Taking this into account alongside Cavill's passion for playing the role, and it's clear that there's some kind of disconnect between him, the studio, the fans, or all of the above.
Currently, Cavill is not signed on to play Superman in any new DCEU projects, although he's expressed a desire to return to the role on multiple occasions. Whether he gets that opportunity is still up in the air, but with each year that passes, the chances do seem to be dwindling in terms of a comeback happening.