Henry Cavill is hanging up his Superman cape — and not by choice, it would seem.
The 39-year-old actor, who has played Clark Kent in the DC Extended Universe since 2013, confirmed Wednesday via Instagram that he would “after all, not be returning as Superman” — despite recently announcing that he would reprise his role as the Man of Steel. He made it clear that new DC bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran made the decision to end his tenure as Superman.
“I have just had a meeting with James Gunn and Peter Safran and it’s sad news, everyone,” Cavill wrote in a statement.
“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.”
Shortly after Cavill said in October that he would be back as Superman, Netflix announced that Liam Hemsworth would replace Cavill as the protagonist of its fantasy series, “The Witcher.” The timing of the back-to-back casting announcements led many to assume that Cavill exited “The Witcher” in order to continue playing Superman.
“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,” Cavill said on Instagram at the time. “In my stead, the fantastic Mr Liam Hemsworth will be taking up the mantle of the White Wolf.”
Further complicating matters is that DC already teased Cavill’s highly anticipated return earlier this year by featuring his Superman in a scene during the end credits of Dwayne Johnson‘s “Black Adam.” (The Rock even took credit for persuading DC to bring Cavill’s Superman back after the studio was allegedly against it.)
“For those who have been by my side through the years…..we can mourn for a bit, but then we must remember….Superman is still around,” Cavill continued in his farewell statement.
“Everything he stands for still exists, and the examples he sets for us are still there! My turn to wear the cape has passed, but what Superman stands for never will. It’s been a fun ride with you all, onwards and upwards.”
Cavill’s Superman appears to be the latest victim of the recent Warner Bros. Discovery merger, which has also resulted in the unexpected deaths of “Wonder Woman 3” and “Batgirl,” among other casualties. In October, new Warner Bros. Discovery President David Zaslav hired Gunn and Safran to spearhead a more unified strategy across the company’s film, television and animation departments.
On Wednesday, Gunn confirmed plans to recast Superman and potentially find another way to incorporate Cavill into the DCEU.
“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,” Gunn tweeted on Wednesday.
“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. … 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.”