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Henry Cavill moves on to a Warhammer 40K adaptation with Amazon

Star won’t be returning to the Witcher after his Superman comeback fizzled out

Henry Cavill smiles broadly, holding a Warhammer miniature Photo: Games Workshop
Oli Welsh is senior editor, U.K., providing news, analysis, and criticism of film, TV, and games. He has been covering the business & culture of video games for two decades.

Henry Cavill is moving on. After the actor’s recently touted return as Superman was ruled out this week by DC Studios boss James Gunn, speculation that Cavill might respond by un-retiring from the role of Geralt of Rivia in Netflix’s The Witcher has been squashed — it’s not happening. But the world’s favorite nerdy beefcake does have a new project lined up: a Warhammer 40,000 adaptation with Amazon.

After an initial report from the Hollywood Reporter that Amazon was in the final stages of securing the rights, Games Workshop announced it had reached an agreement with the tech and entertainment giant to create Warhammer a 40K cinematic universe. Cavill, a noted Warhammer fan, is set to star and serve as executive producer. No showrunner or writer is attached yet to the adaptation of the dark fantasy sci-fi setting of Games Workshop’s tabletop wargames. The Hollywood Reporter piece mentioned a series, but Games Workshop said the deal encompasses film, TV, and more.

“I have loved Warhammer since I was a boy, making this moment truly special for me. The opportunity to shepherd this cinematic universe from its inception is quite the honour and the responsibility,” Cavill said in a statement. It seems the actor will have some say in the direction of the whole franchise, with Games Workshop saying he is “bringing his lore expertise to the mantle of executive producer, and his sword arm to the starring role.”

Announcing the deal on Instagram, Cavill added: “For 30 years I have dreamt of seeing a Warhammer universe in live action. Now, after 22 years of experience in this industry, I finally feel that I have the skill set and experience to guide a Warhammer Cinematic Universe into life.”

Cavill’s Warhammer fandom is a matter of record. During the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, he revealed on Instagram that he was using the free time to brush up on his miniature-painting skills. “One of my almost lifelong hobbies, that I’ve been following but not actively doing, is this,” he wrote under a photo of him delicately painting a tiny helmet. “A company called Games Workshop... or plastic crack as ‘we’ call it. Genuinely can’t get enough of the lore they have built over the decades. They have been some of my most enthused reads! If you were in denial about me being a geek before, you can’t hide from it now.”

Earlier this year, Cavill posted a video of a visit to Warhammer World, a visitor attraction at Games Workshop HQ in Nottingham in the U.K. “I don’t often feel at home, but I did that day,” Cavill said, enthusing about the discussions he’d had on Warhammer lore and miniature design with the Games Workshop team.

It seems Cavill’s personal investment in this project will even outstrip his famously dedicated turn as Geralt. But fans’ hopes that he might reverse his decision to leave The Witcher after DC Studios opted to recast Superman are unfounded. Variety reports that season 4 of The Witcher is moving ahead unchanged, with Liam Hemsworth in the role of Geralt.

With the Warhammer 40K project still in the early stages of development, it won’t be Cavill’s next role, but the actor still has a few other irons in the fire, including a Highlander reboot and two spy films: Argylle, with Kingsman director Matthew Vaughn, and The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, directed by Guy Ritchie. Argylle has already shot, the Ritchie film is due to shoot early in 2023, and both are seen as potential franchises. “I needed someone who was born to play Bond — which Henry is — and then nick him before Bond did,” Vaughn told the Hollywood Reporter.

Update: Following confirmation of the deal from Cavill and Games Workshop, this article was updated with quotes and additional information.