Superman is the face of superheroes. Batman and Spider-Man may be more famous, but Clark Kent/Kal-El has been at the forefront of superhero comics since the beginning. The popular DC Comics character was also one of the first superheroes to make the jump to motion pictures with the 1978 epic Superman: The Movie starring Christopher Reeve as everyone’s favorite boy scout. Recently, Superman has been played by Henry Cavill in the DC Extended Universe starting with Man of Steel (2013). Cavill has also played the character in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Justice League (2017). He will reprise the role again in Zack Snyder’s Justice League next year.
Despite fans enjoying Cavill in the role, a proper sequel to Man of Steel is currently not in development at Warner Bros. and DC Films. Instead, rumor has it that Cavill is in talks to reprise his role as Superman across numerous future DCEU films in a supporting capacity. The most popular fan assumption is that Cavill’s Superman will face-off against Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam in that character’s upcoming solo film.
Superman’s potential future in the DCEU is similar to the one taken by Marvel with Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk. Bruce Banner/Hulk was one of the first superheroes to receive a solo movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, the film was a critical and commercial misfire and the character has since been used only in team-up movies like Marvel’s The Avengers and Thor: Ragnarok. Despite Marvel being open to an Incredible Hulk 2, most fans will agree that the Hulk works best as a supporting character instead of the main star of a film.
If that’s the direction DC and WB are looking to take with Superman in the DCEU here are three reasons why that could be a good idea and two reasons why it would be a mistake.
5. GOOD: It can make the DCEU more cohesive
When the DCEU was finding its feet it relied heavily on in-your-face continuity confirmations. Batman v Superman had forced cameos from The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg and Suicide Squad had brief appearances by The Flash and Batman. These were fun (if not irrelevant) scenes that expanded the DCEU and let the casual audience members know that all these films were connected.
However, recent releases like Shazam! and Birds of Prey have toned down the connective tissue. Arguably this has worked in the films’ favor as they are able to stand on its own. But the fun of a shared universe is being able to spot the easter eggs no matter how big or small they are. Having Cavill make a cameo appearance (or even a small supporting role) in Shazam! 2 would not only pay off the ending of the first Shazam! but allow fans and audiences to see that all of these films do exist together and can interact and impact with each other.
4. BAD: He deserves his own film
This one is pretty straight forward. Superman is part of the DC Trinity which comprises himself, Batman, and Wonder Woman. The latter both have successful motion picture franchises. I believe with the right direction Superman could just as easily light up the box office. Neglecting Superman (and Cavill) to a supporting role in the shared universe would be a waste of the character and actor.
3. GOOD: He has a history with all the heroes
As I previously mentioned in #5, Superman already has a history with most of the established heroes in the DCEU. This would make it easier for the character to pop up in films like Shazam! 2, The Flash, and Cyborg. Additionally, Superman’s appearance could end up being the highlight of the film as we have seen with the Hulk in the Avengers films and Thor: Ragnarok. It could fuel a greater interest in the character and lead to Warner Bros. and DC reconsidering another solo film.
2. BAD: It wastes Cavill and the Man of Steel Cast
If there is one thing that DC constantly gets right it is the casting. Even when they make a casting decision that has fans up in arms (Batfleck), it almost always ends up working out for the best (Batfleck). Man of Steel was the first DCEU film and it also has one of the best casts assembled for a superhero film. Cavill, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishbourne, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Michael Shannon; the list goes on. Without a Man of Steel 2 on the table, it is unlikely we will see any of these actors return in a different DCEU film. There’s always the possibility Adams and Fishbourne could make cameos in a film if the Daily Planet is investigating a story, but the odds of that happening are slim.
Not bringing back this cast for another Superman film would be a waste of talent and deprive the world of seeing all these characters back in action. Throw in later additions like Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, and you have all the makings of a well-acted film. You just need to get the right story in place.
1. GOOD: It Keeps Superman Part of the DCEU
For a while it looked like Henry Cavill’s time as Superman was coming to an end. The actor signed on as the lead in Netflix’s The Witcher, and reports suggested that Warner Bros. and Cavill could not reach a new deal to return as Superman. However, Cavill has since gone on record saying that the cape is still in his closet and that he has no plan on retiring as the superhero. Yet with no sequel in development, the actor continues to sign on to other projects (like a second season of The Witcher). Cavill may become too busy to fully commit to another Superman film, and the logistics of scheduling the all-star cast might too prove burdensome. If Superman moves into cameos and supporting roles, not only will it allow Cavill a chance to pursue other acting projects, but it will allow Superman to continue to have a presence in the DCEU. It will soon be three years since we last saw Cavill in the blue and red tights, and that is not okay.
Those are just five reasons why I think it is both a good and bad idea to make Superman the DCEU’s Hulk. There’s a good chance we will find out more about Superman’s future at the upcoming DC FanDome later this month.
Now I turn the discussion over to you screenagers in the comments. Do you think Superman deserves another solo film? Or would you rather see him used to strengthen characters like Shazam or Flash’s solo films? Tell us in the comments below!