James Gunn confirms new Superman movie – but Henry Cavill won’t be back

Henry Cavill as Superman in Man of Steel
(Image credit: Warner Bros/DC)

Henry Cavill has confirmed he will not be back as Superman, after announcing his return earlier this year. The news comes as DC Studios head James Gunn announced they’re moving forward with a new Superman movie, which he is currently writing.

Cavill shared a statement on Instagram, confirming the news. "I just had a meeting with James Gunn and Peter Safran, and it’s sad news, everyone," he wrote. "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. 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."

He went on to thank those he’s worked with, as well as fans of the character. "For those who have been by my side for years... we can mourn for a bit, but then we must remember... Superman is still around," Cavill added.

Gunn elaborated on the news, confirming they’re planning to take Superman in a new direction. "Peter & I have a DC slate ready to go, which we couldn’t be more over-the-moon about; we’ll be able to share some exciting information about our first projects at the beginning of the new year," he tweeted (opens in new tab). "Among those on the slate is Superman. 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."

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In a later tweet, Gunn confirmed he is writing the movie but is unsure who will be directing it. The Guardians of the Galaxy director also announced it will not be an origin movie, despite focusing on an earlier part of the character’s life.

Gunn said he and Safran have had a meeting with Ben Affleck too as he’s interested in directing another project for DC, but not Superman.

Rumors about Cavill’s departure had been circulating since The Hollywood Reporter published a report into how DC will be changing going forward. Other casualties include Wonder Woman 3, while the fates of Black Adam 2 and Aquaman 3 are also still up in the air.

This is also the second major franchise Cavill has left in 2022 after he confirmed he was also leaving The Witcher. In season 4, he’ll be replaced by actor Liam Hemsworth.

For more on DC, here’s how to watch the DC movies in order.

Fay Watson

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.