After quitting The Witcher, Henry Cavill isn't going to be Superman after all

Henry Cavill reads The Witcher: The Last Wish
(Image credit: Netflix)
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Update (December 16): We've now learned what's next for Henry Cavill: an entire Warhammer 40K cinematic universe.

Original story: Two pieces of recent news seemed to go hand-in-hand. First of all, in late October it was announced that Henry Cavill, one of the world's foremost PC gamers, would be returning as Superman (opens in new tab): shortly after which, he was seen in a cameo at the end of Black Adam. After this, it was announced that Cavill would be leaving the Netflix show The Witcher (opens in new tab) after next summer's third season, with Liam Hemsworth taking over the role of Geralt.

In news that would be much funnier if Cavill didn't seem like a nice man, the star has now announced that he will not, in fact, be returning as Superman in the new DC movies. These films are intended as DC's own eventual counter to the all-conquering Marvel Cinematic Universe and are to be overseen by Peter Safran and James Gunn.

It seems clear from Cavill's statement that he was told one thing by the studio and, when these new creatives were put in charge, that all changed very quickly. 

"I have just had a meeting with James Gunn and Peter Safran and it's sad news, everyone," writes Cavill. "I will, after all, not be returning as Superman. 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. The changing of the guard is something that happens. I respect that."

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Cavill's disappointment is palpable, and it does seem like he's been somewhat left out to dry. Yeah, boohoo for the hunky and hugely successful actor, but this kind of thing sucks whoever you are.

"Among those on the slate [for a new film] is Superman," James Gunn later wrote on Twitter (opens in new tab). "In the initial stages, our story will be focusing on an earlier part of Superman's life, so the character will not be played by Henry Cavill."

Gunn did go on to add they'd discussed other "exciting possibilities" with Cavill but that feels like something of a sop. What this means for Cavill's future, or that of the Witcher show, is anyone's guess: but given how well-choreographed these things usually are, it all feels like a bit of a mess.

"My turn to wear the cape has passed, but what Superman stands for never will," ends Cavill's statement. "It's been a fun ride with you all, onwards and upwards."

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."