“Henry Cavill is quitting as Superman!” is what I was seeing pop up on my feeds all day yesterday. Story after story about how Henry Cavill, the man who has played Clark Kent/Superman in 3 of the Worlds of DC movies, is leaving the franchise. I read tons of comments about people’s reactions with absolute certainty that this was a 100% fact. The thing is, it wasn’t. I feel like most people still don’t realize that. This is a clear case of a rumor snowballing out of control thanks to the massive swelling of click bait articles. Personally I don’t know what is worse, the people reacting without doing more research, or the “news” sites posting what was obviously ad revenue fluffer articles.
Ad fluffer articles, or more commonly known as “click bait” are links with flashy headlines that lead the unfortunate soul to a site that is riddled with ads in order to get hollow user base data. Sometimes there are more ads on the screen then words in the article. These kinds of links often have titles like “12 celebrity scandals and number 11 will shock you” or my personal favorites are ones titles along the lines of “Johnny Depp found the truth about his…” which makes you think the sentence was just too long to fit on the link image. You as a user are just one click away from finding out about Johnny Depp’s…. nothing. These links are always nothing. The sites will just have regurgitated “quotes” that are out of context, be filled with completely bias and opinion based factoids, and/or have a slide show in order to get 12 times as much ad revenue because you need to refresh the page each time. But now it seems that every, once legitimate, news site either died a hero or has lived long enough to become BuzzFeed.
Websites I used to enjoy going to like GameInformer, Kutaku, Comicbook.com, and several other similar sites are showing that they care more about the clicks then the actual content at the other end of the link. After reading lots of these articles in disbelieve, I determined the origin of this attack on Henry Cavill and his position as Superman in the DC cinematic universe. Hollywood Reporter released a story written by Tatiana Siegel early Sept 12th containing numerous sources that the actor would be splitting ways with the character. These sources include…. “sources.” Not a single source was named outside of sentences like “another source confirms”, “sources say”, and “some sources suggest.” Furthermore they connect dots that are nonexistent about other DC projects like Supergirl replacing Superman because they can’t possibly exist in the same universe. There are also mentions of Henry Cavill’s most resent job offer, insinuating one season of a TV show means the actor will never have time for another movie in the next 10 years of this universe’s life span. And out of context quotes from a WB executives commenting vaguely about unnamed movies. This article was trash, and the internet ran with it.
What we know…
Netflix is currently developing a TV show based on The Witcher IP. These apparently are more based on the books then the popular video games but that really has nothing to do with why I bring it up. Henry Cavill has been cast to play Geralt of Rivia, the main character of the show. There is no release date announced as of right now but we know it won’t be coming out until at least 2020. The original rumor was that Superman was meant to cameo in the upcoming DC movie Shazam, which has a release date in April of 2019. At first it was reported that there would be a scheduling conflicts with Shazam and The Witcher. This doesn’t make too much sense to me. Now I do not know the filming schedules of this movie or TV show, or the amount of time Superman was meant to be in Shazam, but the time line doesn’t add up to me.
There have been talks of Supergirl coming to the big screen. Literally nothing has been announced on it and it has not been confirmed by DC. There is a Supergirl TV show on the CW that is part of the Arrowverse. Personally I like that show and think they will have a hard time convincing me whoever they cast is better than Melissa Benoist. However that show also has a Superman played by someone who isn’t Henry Cavill and the universe also has a Flash and no one seems to mind that the character appeared in Justice League, played by Ezra Miller. For some reason though, Hollywood Reporter writer Tatiana thinks that if there is a Supergirl movie, that they can’t have Superman in the universe anymore because Kara Danvers was born before Clark Kent. I don’t mean to be “that nerd” but Kara was born and released from Kryton the same time as her nephew but due to an accident remained in suspended stasis for years in space and by the time she got to Earth, Superman was already in full stride. Personally… why can’t we just get Supergirl to be the main focus in a Man of Steel sequel starring Henry Cavill? Who doesn’t want the best of both worlds.
As of right now the next Superman sequel does not seem to be in the works. The Worlds of DC movies in production list is pretty long and Man of Steel 2 is not on it. Apparently an un-named spokesperson at Warner Brothers said “We have a great relationship and great respect for Henry Cavill that continues to remain unchanged. Additionally we have made no current decisions regarding any upcoming Superman films.” We do know that WB hired Walter Hamada as the President of DC films and his first order of business was to cut the films in development from 27 to 4. I think this was a really smart move but none of the movies currently being worked on are sequels, aside from WW84. Also apparently the CEO of WalterMedia John Stankey said “Some of our franchises, in particular at DC, we all think we can do better.” There is literally no context to what he was talking about. I could use that to paint a picture of his disgust of Will Smith in Suicide Squad, but I’m not. It’s really easy to not assume things.
The Full Story…
Late on September 12th, the same day of the Hollywood Reporter article and the millions of clones, Henry Cavill posted a message on Instagram. It was actually just a video os him clean-shaven wearing a Krypton shirt and playing with a Superman dol with his likeness. The caption read “Today was exciting #Superman.” The message seems cryptic and I do not want to speculate. But it wasn’t him confirming the rumors. His manager Dany Garcia tweeted “Be peaceful, the cape is still in his closet. WB pictures has been and continues to be our partners as they evolve the DC Universe.” He isn’t going anywhere. All day I was waiting for his people to come out with a response. You know why? To get the entire story. I don’t understand why anyone would want to release an article with such authority, with so many strangers listening, and not want to get all the facts straight. Since when did everyone become Bruce Wayne? If there is even a one percent chance, we need to take it as an absolute certainty!
I do actually have an opinion on this whole thing. Let me pull out my tin foil hat and tell you about my conspiracy. I think Henry Cavill doesn’t like playing second fiddle. The actor signed up for a specific number of roles and he would rather one of them be as a main character instead of only being cameos. In the Film Actor’s Guild, if a person plays the same character for multiple movies, they have to get a pay raise. He pulled out of the Shazam appearance to trigger these rumors and use the reaction as a bargaining chip. Now his agent has million of comments of upset people demanding a sequel. I understand DC wanting to take chances on new characters. I want to see Aquaman and The Flash and all the other characters that never got so be on the big screen as much as the next DC fan. But I also enjoyed every appearance of Henry Cavill’s character. If DC really wants to be like Marvel, they would let the characters get their trilogies. I would argue making an Aquaman movie is a risk, but salvaging one of the greatest heroes in comics from what Zach Snyder did to his public image is an even greater one. The greater the risk, the greater the reward. And the world could really use the wholesome and inspirational version of Superman right about now.
I want to ask you readers something. Did you think this story would confirm Cavill was leaving DC? Did you think I would say all the same things that were on these other websites? Perhaps you thought I would have an opinion on the rumors that are circulating about Micheal B. Jordan being the new Superman. I like speculating as much as the next person but if there isn’t an official announcement from the studio or actor, stop caring. It’s a hard thing to do, our brains are wired to consume info as soon as it is given to us but have some self-control. If Cavill really is leaving, I’ll be sad but I wont formulate a real opinion until we know for sure. These sites are just taking advantage of your fandoms. Do yourself a favor and be the type of person your fictional heroes would want you to be. Clark Kent wouldn’t write a click bait article to trick you into giving his company ad revenue, but this real world doesn’t have too many Clark Kents. Watch yourself out in the internet, and don’t take anything personal.