Back in September 2018 it was announced that Henry Cavill’s contract with Warner Bros. to play Superman had ran out, as the studio began shaking up its plan for future superhero movies, de-emphasizing the shared-universe approach that has been mega-successful with Disney’s Marvel superheroes, in favor of more stand-alone films and franchises. As such, there were no plans to continue Cavill’s version of the character in future films. As I was disappointed at the time, as I had been a fan of Cavill’s casting as Superman ever since it was first announced. Sure, I did not enjoy MAN OF STEEL, but that was no fault of Cavill’s or any of the other cast members. They all did the best that they could with the material that they were given, it’s just the material that there were given did not fit my idea of how the character of Superman should be portrayed. But even at the time, after MOS’ release, I said that despite my disappointment I’d be willing to check out a sequel, as at least not a status quo was established.
And that’s where Cavill got screwed, in my opinion, as his sequel got taken over by Batman reducing him to basically being a supporting character (Superman didn’t even get top-billing in the title). Cavill’s Superman really should have gotten at least one proper sequel before Batman v Superman. But Cavill, and Superman, got short-changed again, and then they rushed right into the planned Justice League pair of films. I never reviewed Justice League here, but it’s probably no surprise to anyone to hear that I didn’t enjoy it either. I know it was dis-jointed due to Zack Snyder having to step away at the end and then Joss Whedon being brought in to turn the film from one of a two-part epic into a standalone film. It had its good moments, again a great cast, but the change in tone was notable and jarring while watching. Nevertheless, I’d also be interested in a Justice League sequel as, like with MOS, despite how it got there it ended with a decent status quo set up. And I’d like to see the formation of Lex Luthor’s “Injustice League/Legion of Doom” and have a movie with the newly established Justice League fighting their counterparts.
But none of that seemed likely to come to pass, as Ben Affleck’s Batman sequel became a Robert Pattinson Batman prequel, and both Aquaman and Wonder Woman doing their own things. But now, thank Rao, word is that WB has signed a new deal with Cavill to reprise his role as Superman in a series of movies! Yay!
Except apparently they’re just signing him to a series of supporting appearances in other films, to sort of be a connecting thread among other DC movies, I guess like how Samuel L. Jackson would show up as Nick Fury in multiple Marvel movies, sometimes with supporting roles, other times with smaller roles or cameos. Like in last year’s SHAZAM! movie where in the very end (SPOILER ALERT) Superman appears. Except he’s only shown from the neck down because presumably a deal couldn’t be reached at the time to get Cavill to appear (or there may have been a scheduling conflict with Cavill filming something else), and they didn’t want to recast the role yet. But the costume whoever was wearing was the same one Cavill wore, so it was clearly meant to be the same version of Superman. A persistent rumor is that Superman will be making an appearance in The Rock’s upcoming BLACK ADAM movie. But there’s still no current plans for a Man of Steel sequel.
I can’t help but think that this is a huge wasted opportunity. Superman is still one of THE most recognizable fictional characters in the world. In this era of superman film (and TV) prominence, why would you not try again to make another Superman film? I mean, for all its divisiveness, Man of Steel made money. The potential for even more money is there.
Speaking of TV, I know the CW has it’s new SUPERMAN AND LOIS TV series planned for next year. I can’t help but assume that’s partially responsible for WB’s unwillingness to commit to a new Superman feature film, maybe they feel have two acting Superman projects at the same featuring different live-action versions of the character will be too confusing?
I understand the concern, but I think that’s underestimating the audience’s ability to separate the two projects in their minds. Not to mention the fact that no matter how successful this TV series ends up being, it will still be dwarfed in comparison to movie-going audience. Even the highest-rated episodes of the CW superhero shows are under 5 million viewers. I’d guess those viewers are the hardcore comic-book fans who understand the concept of different versions of a character appearing in different mediums and therefore won’t be confused, while everyone else who hears about a movie won’t have watched the TV show anyway.
Well, it’s not up to me, but I’m holding out hope for a new Superman movie starring Henry Cavill. Stranger things have happened (like the upcoming release of the Synder Cut of the Justice League movie). I think a good big-budget SUPERMAN movie is just what the nation needs at a time like this. The key is to get the write creative team, the right writers and director who love and understand the character, and don’t think he needs to be “fixed” (which usually means made more violent) in order to work for a modern audience. And the should approach the film as a standalone, not the first part of some new trilogy or saga or anything. Just focus on making one good movie. Don’t even worry about how it fits into any other films either. Sure, you can drop some hints at the existence of other superheroes or villians and storylines that could possibly be explored in future films, but the main focus is just on making one good film with a clear and satisfying ending. And then if it’s successful enough you can work on a sequel.
I’d go ahead and bring back the main cast from Man of Steel, Amy Adams as Lois, Laurence Fishburn as Perry White, Diane Ladd as Martha Kent, Rebecca Buller as Jenny, and Michael Kelly as Steve Lombard. I’d also consider an appearance by Henry Lennix as General Swanwick, maybe he’s the President of The United States now, and maybe even Christopher Meloni can return as Col. Hardy, who may be the new Chairman of The Joint Chiefs. And start with the status quo that was presented at the end of MOS (yes, technically Clark “died” at the end of BvS, and it wasn’t shown how they planned to explain his return at the Justice League, I saw we ignore all that, enough time has passed, we’ll just assume that they figured something out). Clark and Lois can be married (no kids) at this point, and working together at the Daily Planet.
As for the actual story, I don’t know. I have a couple of bare ideas. One would be to have Superman face Brainiac.
He’s one of Superman’s main arch-enemies in the comics, probably second only to Lex Luthor, yet unlike Luthor (who I wouldn’t even have in this film) he hasn’t been utilized on film yet, and a lot of fans of clamored for him. Done right, Brianiac could present a truly scary oppoinent for Superman, one whom he can’t simply punch out to defeat. So have Brainiac appear with the goal of adding Metropolis to his collection of shrunken bottled cities from other planets, after which he intends to destroy the rest of the world by taking control of all of the nations’ nuclear weapons and detonating them simultaneously. And Superman now has to race against time to find a way to stop him before it’s too late. Or something.
I also like the idea of partially adapting the classic comic-book story WHAT’S SO FUNNY ABOUT TRUTH JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN WAY?
I’d cast somebody like Cavill’s Man From U.N.C.L.E. co-star Armie Hammer in the role. But whether it’s Magog or The Elite or some other character, the point is to use the film to show why Superman is still the best. You have these new aggressive heroes come on the scene, and the public starts to admire them at Superman’s expense. But in the end, Superman manages to show the world why his “old fashioned” values are still the best. And I don’t think this would be too hard to do, as one only needs look to how the MCU has portrayed Chris Evans’ Captain America, making him the moral center of their cinematic Universe. His greatest power is the way he inspires others, including heroes with powers far greater than his, to follow him. Frankly, that’s Superman in a nutshell.
Well, we’ll see what happens. I just really want another good Superman movie. Is that too much to ask for?