Who Can Replace Henry Cavill as DC’s Next Superman?

"It’s sad, but that’s life." - Henry Cavill, former Superman.

by Abhirup Sengupta

December 15, 2022, marked a harrowing day for both Henry Cavill and DC fans as The Witcher star departed from the role of Superman in the DCEU. In his series of tweets, the new DCU co-CEO James Gunn all but confirmed a clean slate reboot of the former cinematic universe to make way for the DC Universe. 

While heartbroken fans across the world trended “Henry Cavill” on Twitter, and the passionate fandom also called out James Gunn for his decision to boot the British star. Much to fans’ dismay, the director and DCU head further revealed that a new Superman movie is at work in the studio. Interestingly, this new movie is being written by Gunn himself and will focus on Superman’s early life, which means a younger actor would portray the icon in red and blue.

James Gunn’s Script to focus on a younger Superman: Who could play him?

In the now-cursed tweet where Gunn announced the departure of Henry Cavill, the DCU honcho stated:

“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.”

Gunn further revealed that he was only writing the script, and a director was not associated with the project as of now. However, he may also choose to direct the film, as prior to him being at the helm of 2021’s The Suicide Squad, the 56-year-old filmmaker was reportedly in talks to direct a Superman project.

While it is unknown if Gunn’s script about the earlier part of Superman’s life is in reference to Clark Kent’s youth in Smallville, the ideal candidate for such a take would be an actor in their early to mid-20s.

The Potential List of Frontrunners:

Jacob Elordi

The 25-year-old Australian heartthrob is best known for his portrayal of Nate Jacobs in HBO’s Euphoria and Noah Flynn in Netflix’s The Kissing Booth. With a height of 6’5″, Elordi even towers 3 inches over the comic book Kal-El.

KJ Apa

While the 25-year-old Kiwi of Riverdale‘s Archie fame was previously cast as Zan in the now-canceled Wonder Twin HBO Max project, the actor could be considered for a young Superman. With an approximate height of 5’11”, Apa may be of shorter build but can bring the Kansas charm of young Clark Kent.

Tanner Buchanan

With Buchanan’s Cobra Kai co-star Xolo Maridueña set to bring Blue Beetle to live-action, the 24-year-old Ohio native may bring the physicality required to portray a young Man of Steel. While the actor’s height of around 5’9″ could be an issue to some fans, Buchanan’s training in martial arts may negate it.

Other notable young actors who may catch the eyes of Gunn and co. are Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One) or Ethan Cutkosky (Shameless).

What About DC’s Other Superman Live-Action Projects?

To further complicate the DC slate, The Hollywood Reporter claimed that Ta-Nehisi Coates and JJ Abrams’ black Superman project is not affected by James Gunn’s younger take on the character. Gunn seemingly confirmed the report’s claims as he shared it on his Instagram story.

Meanwhile, another take on a black Superman project was reportedly in development by Creed star Michael B. Jordan around late last year. Though there have not been much updates since then, it is possible that James Gunn and Peter Safran may merge these two projects. In such a case, the 35-year-old actor may be a frontrunner for that role. However, as of now, the fate of Jordan’s Val-Zod Superman is uncertain.

- This article was updated on December 16th, 2022

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