It looks like Superman is hanging up his red cape.
Henry Cavill’s future as the Man of Steel in the DC Extended Universe is cloudy as Warner Bros., the studio behind the comic book franchise, is holding off on developing new films centering on Superman, with or without the British actor, Variety has confirmed.
A spokesperson for Warner Bros. said, “We have a great relationship and great respect for Henry Cavill that continues to remain unchanged. Additionally we have made no current decisions regarding any upcoming Superman films.”
Instead, DC Films and Warner Bros. are shifting their attention to female-centric characters. One project the studio will focus on developing is a Supergirl movie. That would likely age Cavill out of the role, as Supergirl centers on a teen heroine.
They are also prioritizing the Harley Quinn “Birds of Prey” spinoff — with Margot Robbie reprising her role as the crazed antihero — along with Todd Phillips’ standalone Joker film, and a “Wonder Woman” sequel. Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman 1984” is due out in November 2019. Gal Gadot portrayed the eponymous heroine in “Wonder Woman,” the fourth installment in the DC Universe. It became a massive box office hit and a cultural touchstone in the otherwise struggling franchise. Earlier this year, Warner Bros. promoted Walter Hamada to oversee DC film operations to restructure the comic book pics in attempts to match the massive popularity of Marvel movies.
Cavill first donned the signature spandexed suit in 2013’s “Man of Steel.” He reprised the role alongside Ben Affleck’s Batman in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Justice League.” The latter two faltered at the box office and were panned by critics. The studio is in a similar situation with Batman, as Affleck is not expected to reprise the role in Matt Reeves’ upcoming “The Batman.”
A “Superman” sequel was once in development, though no plans had been set in stone. The departure of director Zack Snyder, who helped relaunch the character and drafted Cavill to assume the role, might have inadvertently delayed another installment. When Snyder was tasked with overseeing the entire franchise, future solo films were put on hold as titles like “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Justice League” became the focus. He withdrew during post-production on “Justice League” due to personal reasons, and the studio has yet to find someone to continue developing standalone movies.
There were talks to have Cavill appear for a Superman cameo in “Shazam!,” the comic book adaptation starring Zachary Levi, which debuts April 5. But due to scheduling conflicts, Cavill will not appear in the movie. Cavill had a busy summer, co-starring with Tom Cruise in “Mission: Impossible – Fallout.” The sixth installment in the spy series garnered some of the best reviews yet, and became the highest-grossing film in the series. He appears next in the Netflix adaptation of “The Witcher.”
Along with “The Batman,” the next DC projects expected to go into production in 2019 are “The Flash” and a potential sequel to “Suicide Squad.” Jason Momoa’s “Aquaman” will be the next film released on DC’s slate.
The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news of Cavill’s exit.
Brent Lang contributed to this report.