The news came just weeks after Cavill announced that he would return as Superman, though he didn’t reveal details of the film at the time, and entertainment news outlets reported that there were different ideas under consideration for the franchise.
“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,” Cavill said in his Wednesday statement. He added, “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.”
Gunn announced in a tweet late Wednesday that he is writing the new film, which will focus “on an earlier part of Superman’s life, so the character will not be played by Henry Cavill.”
“But we just had a great meeting with Henry and we’re big fans and we talked about a number of exciting possibilities to work together in the future,” Gunn added.
Gunn and Safran were hired to lead DC Studios this October, and this is their first major project announcement since taking over. Gunn — who is known for directing “The Suicide Squad” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” — said he has been writing the script of the new “Superman” film “for a while” and is looking for a director for the project.
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.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) December 15, 2022
The news comes amid a major shake-up at DC Studios’ owner, Warner Bros. Discovery, which was formed following the recent merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery. Following the merger, Warner Bros. announced a raft of cancellations of planned content in a bid to save money, including projects in the superhero universe, such as “Wonder Woman 3,” which was set to be directed by Patty Jenkins. The company said in October that the price tag of its content cuts could reach $2.5 billion.
Cavill has played Superman since “Man of Steel” in 2013, and in each of the three DC Extended Universe films that has come out since then. He made a cameo as Superman in “Black Adam,” which was released in October.
In a video at the time, he said his cameo in “Black Adam” was a “very small taste of things to come,” and told fans their patience would be “rewarded.”
Zack Snyder, who directed the four previous “Superman” DC Extended Universe films, which starred Cavill, was asked in a radio interview last month whether he was returning to DC Studios under Gunn and Safran’s leadership. “As far as I know, which is very little … I am doing my thing and haven’t had anyone give me a call or anything,” he responded. “So I am just wishing them all the best and hoping that they make some cool movies.”
According to Variety, the new movie under Gunn will show Superman as his alter ego, Clark Kent, working as a journalist in the fictional city of Metropolis, where he meets fellow journalist and future love interest Lois Lane.
Plans for Warner Bros. Discovery to release a different “Superman” film, produced by J.J. Abrams and written by novelist Ta-Nehisi Coates, are still moving forward, Variety reported.