Warner Bros. Pictures might be looking for a new Man of Steel, as Superman actor Henry Cavill is reportedly leaving the studio’s DC Comics cinematic universe.
While the report remains unconfirmed at this point, contract talks are rumored to have broken down while negotiating a cameo for Cavill — as Superman — in the upcoming Shazam! movie. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cavill has hung up the character’s iconic red cape and his portrayal of Superman in 2017’s Justice League now looks like it will be his last.
If the report proves true, Cavill will likely join Batman actor Ben Affleck in the ranks of former DC cinematic universe cast members who parted ways with the studio in the last year. Cavill’s fellow Justice League cast members Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa don’t appear to be joining that club, though, with Gadot’s much-anticipated sequel Wonder Woman 1984 and Momoa’s solo feature Aquaman both on the way.
The aforementioned Shazam! is set to hit theaters in 2019, introducing a new, powerful character to the studio’s live-action superhero universe. Justice League actor Ezra Miller is also expected to reprise his role as The Flash in a solo feature at some point, but that project remains in limbo at the moment.
Cavill first portrayed Superman in 2013’s Man of Steel, then reprised the role for 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and then again for Justice League. All three films had trouble matching the success of films in Marvel’s cinematic universe, receiving poor reviews from critics and general audiences alike and struggling to generate the sort of ticket sales one would expect from movies featuring some of comics’ most famous characters.
The British actor most recently appeared in Mission: Impossible — Fallout, and earned positive reviews for his performance in that film. The recent announcement that he’ll star in a Netflix series based on The Witcher game franchise only increased his profile, and reports suggest that this project might have caused some conflict with Warner Bros.’ plans for Cavill as Superman.
An unidentified source quoted in the report on Cavill’s exit indicated that the studio views the Superman role as one that can be replaced with a different actor every few years, much like the Batman or James Bond characters have been recast in the past.