Henry Cavill is hanging up his Superman cape and departing Warner Bros.’ DC Cinematic Universe, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Cavill’s decision to leave the franchise comes amid structural changes for the DCU, with different films becoming higher priority than a Superman sequel. Warner Bros. “has shifted its focus to a Supergirl movie, which will be an origin story featuring a teen superheroine,” sources told The Hollywood Reporter.
“This effectively removes an actor of Cavill’s age from the storyline’s equation given that Superman, aka Kal-El, would be an infant, according to DC lore.”
The report also suggests that another stand-alone Superman movie was years away from production, and the actor playing Superman will have to change as a result. Based on previous interviews with the actor, this seems like it might not be a problem for Cavill.
Cavill has been outspoken about the highs and lows of playing Superman in the DCU, arguing Warner Bros.’ cinematic universe is in need of a massive tonal shift. Cavill has said that although the franchise “has made money, it hasn’t been a critical success.”
“We can start telling the stories in the way they need to be told,” Cavill told Rake Magazine. “It is even better to come back from a mistake or stylistic error into the correct vein because it will make it seem that much stronger. Wonder Woman was the first step in the right direction.”
Buried in the Hollywood Reporter story is speculation that Ben Affleck, who played Batman opposite Cavill in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, will also leave his role as Batman in Matt Reeves’ upcoming stand-alone film. Rumors about Affleck hanging up Batman’s cowl have bounced around for months.
It’s unclear how Cavill (and Affleck’s) exit will affect the future of the DCU; there are currently no stand-alone Superman movies in production at Warner Bros.’, according to the Reporter.
Polygon has reached out to Warner Bros. for comment.
Update: Warner Bros. issued a statement to Variety.
“While no decisions have been made regarding any upcoming Superman films, we’ve always had great respect for and a great relationship with Henry Cavill, and that remains unchanged.”