James Gunn on Henry Cavill Superman exit and DCU future

Cavill played Superman in films including Man Of Steel and Batman Vs Superman (Getty Images)

One of the new bosses of DC Studios, James Gunn, has denied sacking Henry Cavill from his role as Superman.

The actor confirmed in December the "sad news" he had been dropped, just months after announcing his return.

But Gunn, who recently took over the superhero franchise alongside Peter Safran, said on Tuesday that they didn't fire Cavill, but rather simply did not hire him for further projects.

He made the comments while announcing a raft of new DC movies and TV shows.

"We didn't fire Henry," Gunn told journalists. "Henry was never cast.

"For me, it's about, who do I want to cast as Superman, and who do the filmmakers we have want to cast? And for me, for this story, it isn't Henry."

He added: "I like Henry, I think he's a great guy. I think he's getting [messed] around by a lot of people, including the former regime at this company. But this Superman is not Henry, for a number of reasons."

James Gunn (pictured at Comic Con 2022) has taken over DC Studios alongside Peter Safran (Getty Images)

Cavill played Superman in films including Man Of Steel and Batman Vs Superman. Gunn and Safran took over DC Studios in October last year, just after Cavill had made a surprise appearance as the Man of Steel during the credits of the Dwayne Johnson film Black Adam.

The British star previously said there were no hard feelings though about the new DC co-chief executives opting to go in a new direction.

"After being told by the studio to announce my return back in October, prior to their hire, this news isn't the easiest, but that's life," Cavill said just before Christmas.

'Gods and Monsters'

While Cavill may not be in it, a brand new Superman movie, written by Gunn himself, will hit the big screen on 11 July 2025.

Superman: Legacy will mark "the true beginning of the DCU" Gunn said, focusing on its titular star balancing his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing.

It is part of a fresh slate of new movie and TV titles set to be rolled out over the next decade, under the banner heading Chapter One: Gods and Monsters.

The aim is to connect characters and storylines from the DC Universe, in a more consistent way using the same actors, across its films, TV shows, games and animations, Gunn added in a video posted online.

As well as Superman, the new era will include a new Batman story - based on the comic book series by Grant Morrison - titled The Brave And The Bold, which will tell the story of Batman and his son Damian Wayne, an assassin whose father tries to get in line.

However, Robert Pattinson, star of Matt Reeves' 2022 film The Batman, will reportedly not be reprising the role.

The DC re-set will officially kick-off on 16 June this year with the release of The Flash movie, starring Ezra Miller.

The Justice League star is currently on probation, having pleaded guilty to unlawfully trespassing at a neighbour's house.

Ezra Miller
DC boss James Gunn refused to rule out any future involvement for Ezra Miller, star of The Flash

In August, Miller, who uses they/them pronouns, began treatment for "complex mental health issues", and also issued a statement apologising to those the star had "alarmed and upset" with their recent behaviour.

The actor was involved in a string of high-profile incidents and controversies, including being arrested twice in Hawaii last year.

When asked about Miller's potential future involvement, after the film, Gunn said: "Let's see what happens."

"Listen, Ezra is fully committed to their recovery right now, and we talk to them," he continued. "We're in constant contact, but when the time is right, we'll have the conversation with them and decide what's best for both them personally and also for us."

He also refused to condemn another star of the DC Universe, Zachary Levi - who features in the upcoming Shazam: Fury of the Gods - after he faced a social media backlash last week for strongly agreeing on Twitter that the Pfizer vaccine posed "a danger to the world".

The response, for many people online, positioned the actor as appearing to be anti-vaccine, a stance that Gunn does not personally agree with but suggested the actor is entitled to adopt.

"Just real simply: Actors and filmmakers that I work with are going to say things that I agree with and things that I don't agree with," said Gunn. "And that's going to happen. I don't have a list of things that somebody should say because of what I think. And you know, I can't be changing my plans all the time because an actor says something that I don't agree with."

"By the same token, if somebody's doing something morally reprehensible then that's a different story," he continued. "We have to take all that stuff into account. It's a balance. It's modern world and it's a different place."

Zachary Levi features in the upcoming Shazam! Fury of the Gods
Zachary Levi features in the upcoming Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Other projects shared by Gunn included several animated and live action TV series, such as the Viola-Davis-starring Waller, based on a character previously seen in the Suicide Squad films.

"I've loved the DC characters since I was a child. They're incredibly important to me," said Gunn.

"I knew that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something very different."

Newly announced DC films

  • Superman: Legacy
  • The Authority
  • The Brave and the Bold
  • Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow
  • Swamp Thing

Newly announced DC TV shows

  • Creature Commandos
  • Waller
  • Booster Gold
  • Lanterns
  • Paradise Lost

Previously announced upcoming DC projects

  • Shazam! Fury of the Gods
  • The Flash
  • Blue Beetle
  • Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
  • Peacemaker Season 2
  • Joker: Folie à Deux
  • The Batman 2
  • Gotham Knights
  • Superman & Lois
  • Pennyworth

'Long overdue'

Analysis by Jessica Sherwood, BBC News

Matt Reeves
Director Matt Reeves' take on Batman has been popular with fans

Someone taking hold of the DCU and interlinking it is long overdue for DC fans and if his body of work is anything to go by, James Gunn is certainly the right man for the job.

Some things that are getting fans talking is a fresh take on Superman and who will take up the cape, the Amanda Waller series starring Viola Davis and an overhaul of Green Lantern which will explore John Stewart as well as Hal Jordan. Fans are also excited to see some lesser-known characters take the stage.

Batman is always a topic DC fans get nervous about, we've seen Nolan knock it out of the park in previous years and Matt Reeves Batman has been a real hit with fans, who are just as excited for his 2025 follow up.

The announcement the DCU Batman would be much older and pair up with Damian Wayne was quite jarring to fans online, as he's not the fan favourite for Robin compared with the likes of Dick Grayson, Tim Drake and Jason Todd.

Notable absences from the slate include any mention of things relating to Harley Quinn. Gotham City Sirens, which would include Quinn alongside Poison Ivy and Catwoman has been on and off the table for a while and, although it didn't perform as well at the box office, Birds of Prey has been one of DC's better offerings of recent years.

It's now a wait to see if any new projects or people will be added to the 10-year plan and any casting news, which will definitely get fans talking.

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.