Henry Cavill is a British actor who has charmed his way onto the big screen in recent years. This month he has shared a whirlwind of news, both good and bad. The good news was that he was going to reprise a fan favorite role. The bad news was that he was going to have to depart from a fan favorite role. The news is bittersweet. Henry Cavill is known for playing the character of Superman in the 2017 revival. Fans were never truly sure if he would return to the role. Although not everyone enjoyed his first outing as Superman in “Man of Steel,” as a kid, I found it thrilling. It was heartbreaking thinking that he would never play the character again. I would have given anything to see him return, until now.
Superman is the type of character that we know and understand purely because he has existed for generations. He is a symbol for truth, justice, and the quintessential American way of life. Any person could recognize his logo even if they aren’t a fan and know where it comes from. It has been aggravating as a fan to see this large, profitable character put on the sideline by DC for years. The studio continued to use his version of Superman in future movies, but had declined to use his face. In the post credit scene of the 2019 superhero flick “Shazam!” the character of Superman makes a cameo but only from the neck down. In the spinoff series “Peacemaker,” Superman appears for a couple of seconds, but is concealed in dark surroundings.
DC has not had the strongest line up of movies involving Cavill either. In 2013 when “Man of Steel” was released the goal was to start a franchise that would battle the likes of Marvel Studios, who had just finished their Phase One by releasing “The Avengers.” Cavill became the face of the DC Extended Universe. He didn’t return to the screen as the titular hero until 2016, with “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Both films did not sit well with critics and gained mixed reactions from fans because of the very dark tones.
DC had no other choice, but to lighten the tone of their next movies, to satisfy their viewers. To their surprise, this effort was met with more negativity when they released “Justice League” in 2017 directed by Joss Whedon. The film received a lot of controversy surrounding the poor use of CGI, sexist imagery and forced jokes that missed their mark. DC was becoming a laughingstock and ultimately left Cavill without a redemption arc for his character, a chance for a sequel or any answers for the future.
Cavill found a way to move on from the franchise. He was cast as Geralt of Rivia in the highly praised Netflix series “The Witcher.” According to Digital Spy, “The Witcher” season one broke a streaming record for Netflix. At the time of its release, it got the largest opening season of a TV series.
Cavill has garnished much respect in this role, as he was a fan of the source material even before he was cast.
The character of Superman has been played by multiple actors throughout time such as Christpher Reeves, Tom Welling and Brandon Routh. With this list of actors, there was a long history of inspiration to draw on. Geralt of Rivia is unique, as Cavill was the only actor who portrayed him in live action. For me, there is a greater connection between Cavill and Geralt than there was when he played Superman.
But when faced with the opportunity after so many years to reprise the role that brought him the most fame, how could he refuse? Amongst all of the movies DC has produced in these last few years, I believe they are finding their footing and are allowing more freedom to their writers and directors. With this, as a fan, I can be more optimistic on his future as Superman.
On Oct. 21, 2022, Cavill made his announcement in a video statement.
“I wanted to make it official. That I am back as Superman and the image you see on this post … is just a very small taste of things to come,” Cavill said.
This excited fans, coming from his cameo in the highly anticipated film “Black Adam,” starring Dwayne Johnson.
Days later, Cavill left a more somber announcement, declaring his departure from “The Witcher” series.
“My journey as Geralt of Rivia has been filled with both monsters and adventures, and alas, I will be laying down my medallion and my swords for Season 4,” Hollywood Reporter quoted Cavill.
This news has fans divided. Some speculate that he was leaving the role due to future scheduling issues when playing Superman. Cavill was clearly passionate about both roles.
There are many ways to look at this situation. Cavill announced that Geralt will now be played by Liam Hemsworth, who played Gale in the “Hunger Games” movies. This could be a positive move for both franchises, as DC needs a more solid line up of characters. Hemsworth is a great actor and could bring another side of Geralt that could end up being the best part of the character.
Another possibility could be that this decision was a mistake. The online reaction has been mixed. Cavill’s departure from “The Witcher” could deter fans from watching the show. According to Looper, there is a petition with almost 50,000 signatures to bring Cavill back. Cavill, for me as well as many fans, was the biggest contributor on why I started watching “The Witcher” series. Without him, it may never feel the same. DC has Gal Godot, Jason Momoa and Zachari Levi. Cavill coming back to DC is a wish come true, but may bring another growing franchise down to shambles.