Guardians of the Galaxy director and new DC Studios co-chairman James Gunn is writing a Superman movie that won’t involve actor Henry Cavill, who said it was “not the easiest news” after only recently announcing that he would. return to the role.
The new Superman movie, written by Gunn, will take the character in a different direction and focus on the superhero’s younger years. The announcement comes amid sweeping changes at DC Studios and parent company Warner Brothers, which merged with Discovery, Inc. scaled back dozens of projects to cut costs.
Cavill has played Superman since the 2013 film Man of Steel and last appeared in a cameo in Black Adam earlier this year. In October, after stepping down from starring in the Netflix show The Witcher, he announced he would be returning to play Superman again.
On Wednesday, Cavill wrote on Instagram that Gunn and his co-chairman, Peter Safran, met him to break the news.
“After all, I won’t be returning as Superman,” Cavill wrote. “After the studio told me to announce my return in October, ahead of their hire, this news isn’t the easiest, but such is life. The changing of the guard is something that happens. I respect that. James and Peter must build a universe. I wish them and all involved in the new universe good luck and the happiest of luck.”
Fans may want to “move for a while,” he wrote, but “Superman is still here.”
“My turn to wear the cape is over, but what Superman stands for will never be. It was a fun ride with you all, forward and up.”
Gunn’s film will reportedly focus on the hero’s younger years, during his years posing as Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent, with insiders telling the Hollywood Reporter that Gunn could potentially direct and write the film.
“Peter and I have a DC slate ready to go, which we couldn’t be happier with; we will be able to share interesting information about our first projects at the beginning of the new year,” Gunn wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. “Among those on the slate is Superman. In the early stages, our story focuses on an earlier part of Superman’s life, so the character isn’t played by Henry Cavill. But we just had a great meeting with Henry and we’re big fans and we talked about some exciting opportunities to work together in the future.”
Cavill’s announcement that he would return as Superman was reportedly signed by Warner Bros, before Gunn and Safran assumed their roles at DC Studios on November 1. Just six days prior, Cavill had said in an interview that he was looking forward to playing a “hugely jolly” Superman and was “really excited” that Gunn was being hired.
It was announced on Tuesday that Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins of DC Studios would no longer be working on a third film in the franchise. Responding to reports, she denied quitting, writing in a lengthy open letter, “I never ran away. I was open to whatever was asked of me. I understood that there was nothing I could do at the moment to move forward.
The Hollywood Reporter claims that Gunn and Safran also met with Batman actor Ben Affleck to get the idea of him directing for them in the future.
A Black Superman movie written by author Ta-Nehisi Coates and produced by JJ Abrams is reportedly still going ahead and will not be affected by Gunn’s film.
Gunn has long been in the running to make a Superman movie: In 2018, when Gunn left Marvel Studios for DC when he was temporarily fired by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, then-Warners boss Toby Emmerich insisted that Gunn would face Superman. Gunn instead wrote and directed The Suicide Squad.