It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s Henry Cavill’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it return to the DC Extended Universe as Superman. Despite James Gunn confirming he and DC Studios co-president Peter Safran have completed their master plan to turn the struggling DCEU around, there are casualties across the board.
On top of Patty Jenkins confirming she’s no longer attached to Wonder Woman 3, Gunn and Safran seem to be shuttering the rest of Zack Snyder’s DCEU that Cavill kicked off in 2012 with Man of Steel. Even though it remains to be seen what will happen to Aquaman and the Flash after their 2023 standalone movies, the much-hyped Man of Steel 2 is no more.
When Gunn confirmed Warner Bros. is moving forward with a young Superman movie on Twitter, there was a seemingly throwaway comment that mentioned “a number of exciting possibilities to work together in the future.” Even though optimists among us took this to mean Cavill’s iteration of Superman could appear elsewhere, the star’s own response to the news put a nail in the coffin. Posting on Instagram, Cavill said, “This news isn’t the easiest, but that’s life. The changing of the guard is something that happens.”
Cavill wished Gunn and Safran good fortunes, saying they “have a universe to build.” Sadly, Superman is the second major role Cavill has lost in as many months — following his high-profile exit from Netflix’s The Witcher following the upcoming season three (which came just as the announcement of his Superman return hit). This leaves everyone asking, just what’s next for Henry Cavill?
The first is much closer than you think, with Deadline confirming that Amazon has acquired the movie and TV rights to dystopian sci-fi RPG franchise Warhammer 40,000 and has attached Cavill to star in and executive produce future adaptations. This will, of course, allow Cavill indulge his love of all things geeky. In the past, the actor has defended his love of painting his Warhammer figures and even described a live-action Warhammer 40,000 as his dream project to Empire back in 2021.
“I have loved Warhammer since I was a boy, making this moment truly special for me,” said Cavill in a statement following the acquisition. “The opportunity to shepherd this cinematic universe from its inception is quite the honor and the responsibility. I couldn’t be more grateful for all the hard work put in by Vertigo, Amazon Studios, and Games Workshop to make this happen. One step closer to making a nigh on lifelong dream come true.”
Whatever route the Warhammer 40,000 series takes, it’ll take some serious budget. In the Empire interview, Cavill said, “It needs to be handled to a Lord of the Rings level. And if it’s not, I’ll be massively disappointed.” Games Workshop has been particularly protective of the IP when it comes to live-action adaptations, but considering Dungeons & Dragons is getting a big screen revival via the Chris Pine-led Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, it’s about time Warhammer was introduced to the mainstream.
It’s not just the general public backing Cavill Warhammer. Following the DCEU fallout and before the Amazon news, The Haunting of Bly Manor’s Rahul Kohli tweeted, “Hey Henry, f**k it, let’s make a Warhammer movie/limited series. Kind regards, Rahul.” This picked up a lot of traction, with Doctor Strange screenwriter C. Robert Cargill volunteering to pen the script. As of this writing, Kohli and Cargill aren’t actually linked to Amazon’s adaptation, but this sounds like a terrific trio to bring the story to life. Perhaps Amazon should take note.
House of the Dragon Rumor
Could Cavill hold the fort at Winterfell as Cregan Stark in House of the Dragon? That’s just one of the many Game of Thrones universe fan casts and rumors circling the actor. Beyond Cregan, fans have also tapped Cavill to play a young Robert Baratheon in a version of Robert’s Rebellion. Mark Addy famously played “the Drunk King” during his twilight on Game of Thrones, but with multiple spin-offs in the works, Cavill could definitely play Robert in his glory days. Conveniently, others have tipped him as the perfect Aegon the Conqueror to give House of the Dragon its own prequel.
Beyond fan casting, there was an actual rumor going around in 2022 suggesting Cavill could be setting sail for the Seven Kingdoms for House of the Dragon season 2, although who Cavill might play remained a mystery at the time. But responding to the House of the Dragon rumors, Cavill told the Happy Sad Confused Podcast, “I think it would be cool to be in Westeros, I really do. I don’t think there’s a place for me in there, though.” Unless he’s being coy, it doesn’t sound like conversations have taken place.
James Bond Speculation
We’ve already seen Cavill play suave spies in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Mission: Impossible – Fallout, and now that his diary is free, he could finally make good on those many calls for him to play James Bond in the next 007 movie. Daniel Craig is officially out, and while everyone from Idris Elba to Richard Madden has found their name in the mix, Cavill comes up time and again.
In late 2021, Cavill told The Hollywood Reporter “nothing is off the table,” explaining, “I think it would be very exciting to have a conversation with the producers. In an ideal world, I’d never have to turn anything down.” More recently, he downplayed the idea because he was too busy with Superman.
Speaking to USA Today, Cavill said, “it’s all about how much time I have, and these roles need to be respected and a lot of work needs to be put into them.” He rightly said, “You can’t just be jumping from iconic role to iconic role with no time to prep for them,” but with no Superman to train for, the odds of him becoming Bond have just been slashed by bookmakers.
It would be a case of history repeating itself because Cavill has previously confirmed it came down to him and Craig for Casino Royale, which would’ve made him the youngest actor ever to play Bond. Speaking of age, producer Barbara Broccoli has suggested they’re looking for a younger 007. Those at the top want a 10-12 year commitment from their next Bond, who they’ve described as a super spy in his 30s. Cavill is 39 at the time of publishing, which might’ve finally put him out of the running.
MCU, Captain Britain, and Hyperion
It wouldn’t be surprising if Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige and company were in a mad scramble to get Cavill on board for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s true that actors like Elba, JK Simmons, and Laurence Fishburne have appeared in both the MCU and DCEU, but to snatch up their biggest rival’s golden boy would be a big win for the MCU’s ever-expanding roster.
One rumor that must be taken with a large pinch of salt is that Cavill might be playing Hyperion in Loki season 2. As the character is often compared to Superman, it would be a tough one to pull off. The question was broached by Josh Horowitz when the actor still believed he was playing the Man of Steel for the DCEU, but Cavill said he wasn’t aware he was in Loki and added, “It would be a tricky one to handle at this stage…If James Gunn could do it, maybe I can too.” Unsurprisingly, the internet has rallied around the fan casting of Cavill as Hyperion, whether in Loki or other rumored roles such as the big bad of Thunderbolts (possibly as another Marvel “evil Superman” type called the Sentry).
There have also been repeated calls for Cavill to play Scott Summers/Cyclops in the imminent X-Men reboot, while some think he should don the mask as Victor von Doom. Others have him pegged for a more out-there role as Brian Braddock, aka Captain Britain, which would be perfect for his English roots. Cavill has heard this one and told The Hollywood Reporter in 2021 it would be “loads of fun.”
Putting his own spin on Braddock, Cavill said he’d like a “modernized version of that — like the way they modernized Captain America.” Officially throwing his hat in the ring, the star concluded, “There’s something fun about that, and I do love being British.” Given that Secret Wars is on the horizon and Captain Britain is a major part of the Multiverse, Cavill’s casting would certainly be one of Phase 6’s biggest wins.
Cavill himself has piqued our interest in a live-action Mass Effect, which is another one of his favorite video game franchises. While promoting The Witcher season 2, Cavill said he’d love to have a conversation about a Mass Effect series.
Discussing all things Mass Effect, Cavill told GamesRadar he has the caveat that it has to stick closely to the source material, which looking back, sounds like a pointed jibe toward all this The Witcher drama. Coincidentally, there are unsubstantiated claims Amazon is working on a Mass Effect series that would sit alongside its other video game adaptations, including Fallout and God of War.
Cavill has the square jaw to play Commander Shephard, but former BioWare writer David Gaider has branded the idea “cringe” on Twitter, saying the notion of trying to recreate the story’s branching narratives would be very challenging.
Back to the Witcherverse?
The final (and probably least likely) option would be Cavill donning his blonde wig to play Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher season 4. Before Gunn was pulling the rug from beneath the Metropolis Marvel, jaws were similarly on the floor when Cavill announced he’d be leaving Netflix’s fantasy epic after season 3.
We’ll have to wait and see what the reception is to The Witcher season 3, but with showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich telling GamesRadar she’s “excited” to see The Hunger Games’ Liam Hemsworth playing the White Wolf, we don’t see Netflix going full DCEU and ditching Cavill’s replacement. During a Happy Sad Confused interview, Cavill said the following just days before parting ways with Geralt: “It’s also important to know that if you realize you’re doing the wrong thing, that’s when you stop doing the wrong thing. You don’t just keep going just because, because that leads down a dark path.” If you look back at Cavill’s interviews, some say it’s painfully obvious he wasn’t happy.
Schmidt saying she thinks “new chapters bring new energy” confirms she’s all-in on Hemsworth, despite almost 300K angry fans (as of publication) signing a petition to sack the writers and reinstate Cavill. We’ll likely never know what really went down, and with Cavill and Hemsworth keeping it civil on Instagram, we’re not sure the former would even be happy jumping back into the role.