Welcome back to another edition of The Superman-On-Film Weekly Planet! I’m excited to actually have quite a bit to break down with you this week, as there was zero going on in the cinematic world of Superman last week. And we’ve got a whopper today, folks, as the Man of Steel himself, Henry Cavill, sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to discuss his career and had a lot to say about his past, present, and future as Superman.
The THR piece was a feature on the British actor, spotlighting how in-demand he currently is as a leading man. Between The Witcher, an upcoming Highlander reboot, and the ever-present rumors of him becoming the next James Bond, there was a lot of ground to cover. But, unsurprisingly, I’m going to focus solely on what he had to say about the Last Son of Krypton.
Let’s first take a look at how THR sums up his run as Superman, seeing as how it seems to jibe with how the actor himself feels about the films he’s been a part of.
- They refer to Man of Steel as a success that had fans clamoring for a direct sequel.
- They describe Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as an attempt by Warner Bros. to mimic Marvel’s success with a “multi character mashup.”
- Lastly, they point out how the the theatrical Justice League “underperformed critically and financially” so gravely that it led to a major “reshuffling of the ranks” at Warner Bros.
In that context, Henry goes back to how it all started, discussing what he thought of the conclusion of Man of Steel– which featured his Kal-El killing General Zod- and where he thinks the character’s arc should go next:
“There is still a lot of storytelling for me to do as a Superman, and I would absolutely love the opportunity. The killing of Zod gave a reason for the character never to kill again. Superman falling to the ground and screaming afterward — I don’t think that was originally in the script, but I wanted to show the pain he had. I did far more emotional takes they didn’t choose; tears were happening. He just killed the last remaining member of his species. That’s the choice he made in that moment, and he’ll never do that again. There’s an opportunity for growth after that, to explore the psyche of Superman as a deep, seemingly invulnerable god-like being but with real feeling on the inside.“
Let’s start with Cavill’s suggestion that Kal’s emotional response to killing Zod wasn’t in the script.
This isn’t altogether surprising, when you consider that screenwriter David S. Goyer has revealed that Zod’s death wasn’t in the original script either. As the story goes, the initial script had Superman trapping Zod and his forces in the Phantom Zone at the end of the film, but director Zack Snyder and Goyer himself, were adamant that our hero should kill Zod. Nolan disagreed, but this was Snyder’s film, so he let him make that creative decision.
It was a call that polarized fans, as many who grew up with the character had a hard time imagining Superman snapping someone’s neck to end a fight. But the film’s defenders were always quick to note that it’s Superman’s reaction afterward that tells the story. They note that it’s essentially Superman’s first day on the job, that he’s still learning, and they point to his emotional response to the killing as proof that this moment would be a major turning point for this rookie Superman.
Yet if Cavill is correct in his assertion that he was the one who wanted Superman to fall to his knees and cry out in pain, it demonstrates that Snyder didn’t have grandiose character-building ambitions for that controversial decision. Further supporting the latter assumption is that neither Batman v Superman nor Zack Snyder’s Justice League circled back to that moment.
So it seems that really was Henry’s call, which further cements the idea that he’s the right man to play Superman.
But what about the upcoming Superman Reboot, being produced by J.J. Abrams and written by Ta-Nehisi Coates? It’s rumored to center on a Black Man of Steel, and many seem to see the film as the final nail in the coffin for Cavill’s Superman.
Unsurprisingly, Cavill echoed exactly what I said HERE.
Here he is, in his own words, making the same point I made in that editorial:
“It’s exciting — Superman’s far more than skin color. 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.”
It’s true, of course.
As I’ve long noted, we’re about to live in a world where we’ll see three versions of Batman on the big screen in a single calendar year- and we can thank DC’s decision to introduce a shared multiverse for that.
Cavill closes his comments on Superman with one tantalizing assertion:
“As I always say, ‘The cape is still in the closet.'”
While we’d all love to read that as a promise, it’s more an expression of his desire to return. It’s a desire that’s been well-documented over the years, but the fact that he’s still beating that drum in 2021 means he hasn’t given up hope just yet. And neither should we.
Speaking of people still actively beating certain drums, let’s talk about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and the most likely place we’ll get to see Cavill’s Superman fly again.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Johnson wants his Black Adam to have a showdown with Superman. And whenever I’m feeling like I need to put a tinfoil hat to discuss that theory, Johnson himself comes out and adds gas to the fire.
Earlier this week on Twitter, someone shared this quote from a recent interview Collider had with Johnson. While discussing Black Adam, he had this to say about the current state of the film:
“I think Jaume[Collet-Serra] delivered a great first cut… I am happy, yet not satisfied, and we will continue to put the work in.”
Johnson retweeted the quote, adding “Pleased, but not satisfied. Much work to be done. Stay tuned.” This led to my pal Steven Marshall replying, “Well if you haven’t filmed it yet give Henry Cavill a call and shoot this for your ending,” with this image:
This prompted Johnson to respond with this:
“I like it. Sorta how I always envisioned it. Except the handshake at the end. Never. Wrong guy.”
Johnson truly never misses an opportunity to tease a confrontation between Adam and Superman and, considering his pal Cavill still has the cape in his closet, there may be a reason for that.
Thanks for reading!