Henry Cavill's Superman has been a point of contention amongst the DC fan base for most of the last few years, largely due to the fact that he's been completely missing from the story since 2017. But shockingly, that appears to be changing as Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) works to move into its new era of storytelling within the DC Extended Universe.
Reports indicated that Cavill is now set to return to the blue tights and red cape in Man of Steel 2, which would be his first solo outing since he kickstarted the DCEU with Man of Steel back in 2013. This comes on top of rumors that he's set to make his official return alongside Dwayne Johnson in Black Adam, which would certainly be a big topic in the comic book movie world should it come to fruition.
But even with the excitement that surrounds his return, there's still the question of why it took so long, especially after The Rock himself noted that WBD mishandled the character over the years. And now, with the DCEU set to add its next chapter this weekend, a new report has actually revealed the answer to the mystery of why Superman hasn't been a part of the story for the past five years.
Superman Absence Explained in New Report
Warning - The rest of this article contains spoilers for Black Adam.
The Post-Geek Singularity's Robert Meyer Burnett shared new information on why Henry Cavill's Superman has been missing from the DC Extended Universe. This comes ahead of Cavill's comeback as the Man of Steel in the post-credits scene from Black Adam, which premieres on Friday, October 21.
According to one of Burnett's trusted sources, Warner Bros. Discovery had planned to use Cavill himself at the end of 2018's Shazam!, which ended up with Superman being portrayed by a body double:
“I have, let’s call this person a very highly placed source in Hollywood. Someone that I trust complicitly, who is in the know. And this person reached out to me a couple days ago and said we had it all wrong on the John Campea show about the lack of Henry Cavill in the DCEU. This person, again, a very highly placed source, one of the most highly placed sources at Warner Bros. outside the studio… Let’s say they’ve done a lot of work at the very highest levels with the studio… told me in an email, expressly said that when they were making Shazam!, the plan was always to Henry Cavill cameo at the end of Shazam!"
At that time, Cavill had "more contractual obligations...as Superman" in his deal with WBD, but if he had made a full cameo in Shazam!, it would have counted as one of those appearances. This was revealed by Cavill's manager, who also happens to be Dwayne Johnson's ex-wife and manager.
After Cavill said no to doing that cameo, former WBD chairman Toby Emmerich reportedly played hardball with the actor's team, saying "he will never be Superman again:"
"Now this very highly placed source at the studio… or works with the studio… this person told me that when they were trying to get Henry Cavill to cameo in that movie, that his manager said, ‘Look, he had more contractual obligations, more appearances as Superman on the books. But if he appeared in a cameo as Superman, that would count as one of Henry Cavill’s contracted appearances in a movie as Superman.’ This was Henry Cavill’s manager who said this. Interestingly enough, that manager is also Dwayne Johnson’s ex-wife and his manager as well. As a result of that, because he wouldn’t play ball with the studio, he was playing hardball, Toby Emmerich, who was running Warner Bros. at the time said, ‘Henry Cavill is now persona non grata, he’s not gonna play ball with the studio? He will never be Superman again.’"
Now that Emmerich is no longer with the company, Johnson has much more leeway to make decisions like this one as he finally gets the chance to bring Cavill into Black Adam. This was one of many reported reasons that "many people don’t like Toby Emmerich for what he was doing" at Warner:
"Toby Emmerich is gone. He is no longer at Warner Bros. So the six years that Dwayne Johnson has been trying to get Henry Cavill in a Black Adam movie, or a movie at all, that impediment has been taken away. That’s another reason why the person told me that many people don’t like Toby Emmerich for what he was doing at Warner Bros. and will not be sorry to see him gone."
Will Cavill's Superman Return Help Boost DCEU?
Through all this drama, fans have seen just how much Henry Cavill truly enjoys playing Superman in the DC Universe and how much he wants his appearances to be meaningful each time he suits up. And in what appears to be classic WBD fashion, the company seemed to make the experience difficult at every turn as it tried to build the DCEU the way it wanted to.
With Dwayne Johnson having been attached to the role of Black Adam for such a long time and considering his star power, he's wanted to have an influence on the way the DCEU moves forward for most of the time that the story has existed. But with this report, it's clear that he had plenty of obstacles in his way, particularly with regard to appearing alongside Henry Cavill and bringing Black Adam into a movie next to Superman.
Although it's still unknown what Johnson's official role with the DCEU will be moving forward, he's already made his mark on the franchise simply by opening the door for Cavill to come back as Clark Kent. The next step in the process is seeing what WBD will actually do with the franchise as a whole now that Cavill is about to become a more regular part of the story.
Black Adam will premiere in theaters worldwide on Friday, October 21.