Superman will indeed be back on the big screen. It just won’t be Henry Cavill.

It hasn’t even been a full two months since Cavill was seen with a big “S” on his chest in the “Black Adam” post-credits scene, having a square-jawed stare-down with Dwayne Johnson, correct? And Cavill announcing his return as Superman on social media?

Yes. That actually did happen. But the actor is now letting his millions of followers know the decision to bring him back as Superman has been shelved.

DC Studios’ newly named co-head James Gunn announced to his 1.4 million Twitter followers Wednesday that he is currently writing a new Superman movie that will feature a less experienced Clark Kent getting to know his way around the Daily Planet newsroom. The role will be recast to fit an earlier part of the superhero’s life. Gunn also said on Twitter he still doesn’t know who the director will be, but it seems possible that the film would kick-start a new and potentially connected cinematic universe for DC Studios. And the announcement, along with a flurry of news in the past week, shows that the new leadership of Gunn and his DC Studios co-head Peter Safran appears to be quite a turn from the previous regime.

It seems they figured it was best to rip the Superman Band-Aid off and move forward. Gunn also mentioned on Twitter that he and Cavill spoke to each other, and they didn’t rule out a potential return for the actor in another DC role somewhere down the line. That is if Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios don’t immediately swoop in with, say, a Captain Britain/Excalibur script, which might be a perfect fit.

Henry Cavill dropped as Superman in James Gunn’s new film

Gunn’s quick-draw Twitter fingers represent a new era at DC: namely, a superhero movie-making studio head who makes news on social media. Feige is not much of a tweeter, posting less than 200 times. Gunn isn’t an avid tweeter either (he’s kind of busy of late if you haven’t noticed), but he has established he’ll use social media to get the word out and occasionally debunk wild rumors in a genre that always has people throwing them around.

Cavill’s Superman news comes on the heels of director Patty Jenkins announcing she won’t be moving forward with a third Wonder Woman film at DC, putting into doubt the likelihood that Gal Gadot will return, as well. Gadot, despite the mixed reviews for “Wonder Woman 1984,” accomplished the seemingly impossible task of becoming a princess of Themyscira for a new generation in the shadow of Lynda Carter’s timeless portrayal. But it’s hard to see her moving forward in this role without Jenkins, and in a rethought DC movie universe.

Gunn has proven himself to be a dedicated comic book reader, making a name for himself in superhero cinema by writing and directing projects with characters that even the most hardcore fans overlook (Guardians of the Galaxy, Peacemaker, his Suicide Squad roster). His first big tweet as the head of DC Studios featured cover art from “Kingdom Come,” by Mark Waid and Alex Ross, arguably one of the greatest DC stories ever told. He wants everyone to know he knows where the good stuff is in the DC library. The pages of DC Comics currently have two incredible Wonder Women of color, Nubia and Yara Flor, who could serve as interesting options for Gunn as he builds his own Justice League.

There are many other tough decisions for Gunn and Safran to make. They will have to decide whether four already-scheduled 2023 movies will be part of the new universe they are building or exist outside of it. March will bring “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” a sequel to actor Zachary Levi’s kid-turned-adult-superhero action comedy. “The Flash,” with the at-times-controversial Ezra Miller and the much-hyped return of Michael Keaton as Batman, arrives in June. August’s “Blue Beetle” stars Xolo Maridueña, as DC’s first Latino superhero. DC’s billion-dollar grossing king of the seas, played by Jason Momoa, is returning in “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” in December. Miller and Momoa, like Cavill and Gadot, are holdovers from the Zack Snyder Justice League universe, and it’s entirely possible these films could be their DC swan song. Perhaps the only Snyderverse holdover will be former Batman and current Jennifer Lopez husband Ben Affleck, who Gunn confirmed via a tweet that he had spoken with about potentially directing for DC Studios in the near future.

More alternative DC universes are still in play, as well. Gunn has yet to dispute Variety’s report based on anonymous sources that the J.J. Abrams/Ta-Nehisi Coates Black Superman project is still moving forward. (Which is good. Because that’s an action figure I need.)

And what about the current Batman? The Dark Knight’s cinematic adventures are arguably the most important franchise at DC. Rumors have been circulating that Gunn and Safran are considering placing director Matt Reeves’s Batman world (with star Robert Pattinson) into their planned DC universe. Will the brooding Pat-Bat be seen gritting his teeth next to Gunn’s soon-to-be handpicked Superman? Gunn says no. And yes, he said it with a tweet.

A 2024 “Joker” sequel starring Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn also looks like it will exist outside whatever DC currently has cooking, just like the original Joaquin Phoenix film.

You can’t make a new superhero universe without breaking a few franchises. Warner Bros. made it clear it has oversized ambitions for its DC properties when it threw the word “studios” into the mix. It is a message that it feels it has the potential to be on even footing with the decade-long success of Marvel Studios. But WB didn’t bring in Gunn to be just as good its rival. This move was made to make DC Studios potentially better. Many have forgotten that DC was once the champion of this stuff. Christopher Reeve. Keaton. Carter. DC brought its legends to the screen long before Marvel Studios was a thing. But it hasn’t held the crown in a very long time.

Gunn and Safran have put everyone in Hollywood and all fans of superhero cinema on notice. The only way DC Studios is going to beat the best to be the best is to start over.


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