The Tragedy Of Henry Cavill: The Squandered Superman
— 28 June 2023

The Tragedy Of Henry Cavill: The Squandered Superman

— 28 June 2023
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

On the same day a producer assured us that Netflix’s The Witcher would be transitioning away from Henry Cavill in a “flawless” fashion, the latter’s longtime role as Superman was also officially relinquished — this one to the up-and-coming David Corenswet. And I can’t help but feel a little sorry for the British thespian.

You see, very rarely does casting for a mantle as iconic as the Man of Steel align so perfectly that it gains approval from just about everyone across the board. Like Robert Downey Jr to Tony Stark / Iron Man, Henry Cavill didn’t just play Superman. He was Superman.

So how was he rewarded for his efforts which not only encompassed a stomach-churning physical transformation but also a genuine philosophical understanding of the character’s entire ethos? Similar to the treatment he was dealt by the trope-bound ghouls currently adapting The Witcher, Cavill was consistently limited by subpar writing, subpar direction, damaging studio interference, and in some cases, all of the above.

While Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel was critically divisive — full disclosure, I personally rated it — it served as a fairly decent introduction for the latest iteration of Clark Kent / Kal-El within the nascent DCEU. Sadly, it was all downhill from here.

Through a series of blunders involving Warner Bros president of DC film productions Walter Hamada, a significant personal loss in Zack Snyder’s family, and (shudders) Joss Whedon, Henry Cavill would be forced to simply make do with inferior platforms like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Whedon’s cut of Justice League.

Whatever foundation had been laid for character development in Man of Steel was quickly relegated to the bottom of the barrel in favour of short-sighted decisions to Marvel-ise the DC screen universe. Something that was motivated by learning all the wrong lessons from the MCU’s burgeoning success.

Then, just when it seemed as though the perennial Bond candidate was about to receive a second chance to spread his red cape and soaring above the stratosphere post-Dwayne Johnson’s horrendous Black Adam, the rug was — once again — pulled.

In light of the commercial and canonical mess the DCEU had become, MCU alum James Gunn and Peter Safran were appointed Co-CEOs of DC Studios with the view of rebooting the whole damn franchise. Which is why less than two months after announcing his triumphant return as Superman, Henry Cavill issued the following statement via Instagram:

I have just had a meeting with James Gunn and Peter Safran and it’s sad news, everyone. 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 hiring, the news isn’t the easiest, but that’s life. The changing of the guard is something that happens. I respect that.

James and Peter have a universe to build. I wish them and all involved with the new universe the best of luck, and the happiest of fortunes.

For those who have been by my side through the years… we can mourn for a but, but then we must remember… Superman is still around. Everything he stands for still exists, and the examples he sets for us are still there!

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

He deserved so much better. We, the audience, didn’t deserve him. And neither did DC Studios.

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Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]


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