Henry Cavill has broken the "sad news" to his fans that he will not be playing Superman once more, as had been previously reported.
The British actor acknowledged that the decision to reverse his casting wasn’t “the easiest", but said he respected James Gunn and Peter Safran, the newly appointed DC bosses, for making it.
The news comes as Gunn revealed there will indeed be a new Superman movie, with additional information to be revealed in 2023.
But what has Cavill been dropped from the comic book movie franchise, and who will replace him in the role? Here is everything you need to know.
Why is Cavill not returning?
Cavill played the legendary DC role in the 2013 Man Of Steel film and again in 2016 for Batman Vs Superman, alongside Ben Affleck.
Less than two months ago, his return to the role was teased in the post-credits scene of Dwayne Johnson’s anti-hero movie, Black Adam. Cavill also confirmed the news of his return with a video on Instagram shortly after.
But writing on Instagram on Wednesday (14 December), he said: “I have just had a meeting with James Gunn and Peter Safran and it’s sad news, everyone. 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.” He continued: “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.”
Addressing his fans, he added: “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.
“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.”
Is he the next James Bond?
The announcement of Cavill stepping down as Superman have led many fans to speculate that he may be moving on to pastures new - namely, being the next James Bond.
Could scheduling conflicts between two of cinema’s biggest franchises led to the actor having to choose one over the other?
Cavill is currently the odds on favourite with many bookmakers to replace Daniel Craig as the iconic superspy, and recently stepped away from his work on Netflix’s adaptation of The Witcher, another role that would have eaten up a lot of his time.
On the other hand, producers have said they’re ideally looking for a 30-something when casting the next Bond. Cavill will be 40 next year, and with Bond-actor stints lasting at least around a decade, he could be 50 by the time he’s shooting his last 007 movie.
That age disparity could also be the simple reason behind his removal from Superman. Could he have been deemed just too old for the role by Gunn and Safran, the newly appointed DC bosses who could be looking to take the character in a fresher direction?
Until we get an official announcement, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Who could replace him?
The announcement of Cavill’s stepping down came as James Gunn announced that a new Superman movie is in the works, with more details to be disclosed in 2023.
Cavill’s name has only just left the franchise, and so fan speculation is high as to who might be the next Man of Steel, fuelled mainly by personal preferences over actors they like.