I’ve come to terms with the SnyderVerse, folks. After several long years of waiting for Warner Bros./HBO Max/DC to announce the continuation of Zack Snyder’s superhero franchise that began with 2013’s Man of Steel and culminated with this year’s Zack Snyder’s Justice League, it seems everyone involved has moved on. Snyder is busy building his own Army of the Dead universe at Netflix and is months away from shooting the highly anticipated Rebel Moon, while WB and DC continue to drag its superheroes as far away from Snyder’s films as possible — even while kinda sorta respecting their continuity.
The studio saw fit to bring back Ben Affleck and Ezra Miller as Batman and Flash for its upcoming The Flash, which will also include Michael Keaton’s Batman (from Tim Burton’s 1989 film) and Sasha Calle’s Supergirl. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom sees the return of Jason Momoa and Amber Heard as Aquaman and Mera, respectively, while Gal Gadot will get a chance to reprise Wonder Woman for the fifth time in the already greenlit Wonder Woman 3.
Even J.K. Simmons is set to return as Commissioner Gordon for the Batgirl movie.
A shadow of the SnyderVerse continues to move forward, minus two notable individuals: Ray Fisher and Henry Cavill. Fisher’s absence is extremely disappointing as the actor was one of the highlights of Snyder’s Justice League. At any rate, his issues with the studio obviously play a big part in his absence from DC’s upcoming slate of films — though he hasn’t ruled out appearing later on down the road provided WB and DC issue an apology.
Cavill’s absence, on the other hand, is just … bizarre.
Recently, the actor spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about his desire to return to the role, stating: “There is still a lot of storytelling for me to do as a Superman, and I would absolutely love the opportunity. As I always say, ‘The cape is still in the closet.’”
So, what gives? Why is everyone but Superman being invited back to the party? Is this some sort of marketing ploy to hide his potential appearance in Shazam! Fury of the Gods and/or Black Adam? Or, are Warner Bros. and DC really moving on from Cavill’s Superman in favor of a new iteration, à la J.J. Abrams’ planned Superman movie, which will feature a Black Superman — an idea that Cavill, for the record, praised:
“Superman’s far more than skin colour. Superman is an ideal. Superman’s an extraordinary thing that lives within our hearts.
“Why not have multiple Supermen going on? Joaquin Phoenix did a wonderful Joker movie; so what if it’s not tied to the rest of [the franchise]? They have multiple Superman comic book storylines happening at the same time.”
Clearly, the man is itching to hop into the blue spandex once more. So, why is WB so fixated on scratching the actor from its massive universe?
Look, the SnyderVerse was never as big as Marvel but the films still made money, particularly those featuring Cavill. Man of Steel raked in $668M worldwide, while Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice grossed $873M; and by all accounts, Zack Snyder’s Justice League was a massive hit for HBO Max, proving there’s an audience desire to see more of this character.
Even if the studio didn’t like Snyder’s iteration of Superman, both cuts of Justice League posit the character in a more commercial-friendly light, meaning a new director could step in and revamp Cavill’s boy in blue as a hopeful boy scout, à la Christopher Reeve. There are multiple paths to traverse here.
Yet, for whatever reason, Cavill’s Superman remains MIA from Warner Bros.’ upcoming slate of films.
Even more bizarre, the character makes a brief cameo at the end of Shazam! but, due to something behind-the-scenes, doesn’t show Cavill’s face, and uses John Williams’ 1978 Superman theme rather than Hans Zimmer’s theme from Man of Steel.
Even more odd, Cavill was relatively quiet in his support of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, at least compared to his co-stars before appearing on camera with Snyder to announce the project:
Later, it was revealed that Cavill and Mission: Impossible Fallout director Christopher McQuarrie pitched their own Superman movie to WB and were promptly shown the door.
What. Is. Going. On.
If Warner Bros. is moving on from the SnyderVerse, why bring back Snyder’s entire team sans Superman? Why introduce Supergirl and then leave out her pre-established cousin? Why introduce Black Adam and then miss out on having the character duke it out with the Man of Steel?
We can speculate endlessly about behind-the-scenes drama — of which I’m sure there is plenty in regards to this story — but, in the meantime, give us something. Does Superman no longer exist in this world? Will his absence be a plot point in DC’s upcoming slate? Will the whole multiverse scenario serve as a ploy to introduce a new Superman? Are we doomed to only see Superman from the neck down until the Cavill situation sorts itself out? Should Superman only be seen from the neck down from this point on? Should all superheroes only be seen from the neck down?
Yeah, the SnyderVerse is probably dead. I’ll grudgingly accept that truth*. But WB and DC can still bring back Henry Cavill’s Superman. He wants to do more, the fans want to see him do more, and the world deserves to see him do more. (That’s a little dramatic, but you get the gist.)
*That said, I still believe! Kinda.