We reviewed the hypotheses and theories shared and discussed by fans about who the most likely actors to inherit the role of the DC Man of Steel might be.
The DC Universe is receiving so much shake-up that one might believe Superman has turned the world upside down. After a comeback in style in the DCEU with a cameo in the Dwayne Johnson-starring film Black Adam, greeted with applause, whistles (of joy) and cheers in cinemas around the world, Henry Cavill's return in the red cape of Superman has been cancelled without appeal (and without mercy). Despite what seemed like a confirmation from Johnson and an endorsement from Cavill, who had left The Witcher specifically to take on the role of the Man of Steel once again, it has instead been confirmed that the British actor will no longer play the character.
In a post on Instagram, Cavill told fans: 'In the end, I won't be returning as Superman after the studio told me to announce my return in October, ahead of new hires. It's not the easiest news to digest, but that's life'. It's clear there's no amor fou between former Superman and new DC Studios heads James Gunn and Peter Safran, and we can't help but feel a little sorry for the side-effect of what appears to be a messy studio overhaul. Anyway, onward and upward. Cavill has declared 'my turn to wear the red cape is over', which begs a big question: who will be our next Superman?
While many fans are processing the 'grief', others are already working hard to imagine who will be the next performer of the most iconic superhero of all time. Here is a round-up of some of the most popular theories:
I mean, look at him. Chiselled jawline, blue eyes with a metallic glint, fluffy hair that looks like it's ready to be moulded into the peculiar styling with curls that fall naturally over the forehead… It's hard to imagine anyone conforming more to the collective idea of Superman than David Corenswet. It is almost as if he were an artificial intelligence's answer to the request "create us the next Superman". Many fans will remember Corenswet for his roles in Ryan Murphy's series The Politician and Hollywood. Despite his Clark Kent appearance, however, his name has already been linked to the streets of Metropolis for another role: many fans saw him as Jon Kent, Superman's son and heir to the cape. With his father's interpreter out of the picture, perhaps Corenswet could climb the family tree.
Glen Powell has one of those faces that fits perfectly into a superhero costume. After proving his abilities in the billion-dollar film Top Gun: Maverick, his name has been brought up more than ever for roles that might suit his charms. The fantasy casting he's been the subject of ranges from the new version of Green Lantern (sorry, Ryan Reynolds fans) to playing the Human Torch in Fantastic Four (though you might want to steer clear of that title, which seems to be under a curse). After the news of Cavill's departure, however, Powell was also included in the list of possible next men of steel. Superman isn't exactly known for his sense of humour, at least not in the film versions we've been given so far, so perhaps Powell could bring the character a good injection of sass.
At this point, it has to be admitted that the cast of Top Gun: Maverick hides a slew of potential superheroes, but it's hard to argue that Miles Teller isn't suited to the role of Superman. He's already tried his hand at the superhero world with the role of Reed Richards in 2015's spectacular flop Fantastic Four – the aforementioned cursed title – but that time perhaps things didn't go wrong through no fault of his own. On the contrary, his performance had shown that he had the authority to aspire to a classic character in the superhero genre, and after Top Gun: Maverick there's no denying he has appeal. Considering then that he was almost unrecognisable under the moustache in that film, perhaps he is just the man to put on a pair of glasses and fool Metropolis into thinking he is just Clark Kent.
Going from Gen Z's It Boy to the world's favourite superhero might not be as easy as you think. Jacob Elordi has made a name for himself thanks to roles in zeitgeist-making shows like Euphoria and an upcoming Elvis biopic (yes another Elvis biopic on the way) in which he is the king of rock, and everyone is waiting to find out what the first massive project will be that will take his name to the top of the hype. At only 25 years old, he is the youngest of the potential Supermen, which responds well to James Gunn and Peter Safran's expressed intention to look for someone fresh. The idea seems sensible: the juxtaposition between Clark Kent's naivety and the weight of Superman's responsibilities has always been a compelling dynamic, one that could be better exploited by making Kent a young, struggling city reporter.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
Prior to Henry Cavill's (very brief) return to Superman in 2022, most fans already believed that his time in the blue and red suit was over, which had led to fancast by now. Among the first papable candidates for his replacement, in a proposal to change the way Superman has been shown on screen so far, the name of Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has always popped up. The reason is no mystery: it is obvious that he would rock the red cape and he is no stranger to the world of superheroes. He played Doctor Manhattan in the acclaimed Watchmen series and already has a DC studio keyring thanks to his role as Black Manta in the Aquaman films starring Jason Momoa. Now, given that there are rumours that the next chapter in that saga will be the last with Momoa (which is even more likely now, given Cavill's news), there's no reason why the change won't allow Abdul-Mateen to shed his tights and don another.
At one point in 2019, Nicholas Hoult was rumoured to be vying with Robert Pattinson for the role of the next incarnation of the Dark Knight in Matt Reeves' The Batman. We all know who ended up with smudged eyeliner on his eyes, which sees Hoult open to alternative options. Perhaps he wasn't considered gritty enough for Bruce Wayne's emo style, which could make him perfect for the role of Clark Kent, the superhero world's go-to guy. Despite having worked in film since the age of five, Hoult has never been tied down to a particular role, which is probably the perfect condition to step into the shoes of the most significant superhero of all time. Having then demonstrated comic skills in the sensational The Great, this actor could also add some (necessary) levity to this classic character.
Each new superhero role offers the opportunity to delve into the different aspects that form the core of these characters. After the news of Cavill's departure, some fans suggested Diego Calva as the fancast of a Latin version of Clark Kent. Best known for his role in Narcos: Mexico, Calva had a banner year in 2022, picking up several awards for Damien Chazelle's divisive new film, Babylon. For many, the fact that Superman is a refugee from a destroyed planet is a crucial aspect of his story that, although touched on in previous versions, could be treated with more depth. Bald is a new face, but with a career on the rise: DC studios would do well to grab him early.
OK, that's a bit of a crazy assumption, unless Tom Holland has a desire to kill off his most famous character (the only way he could slip from one costume to another). However, his name is being brought up by fans who feel the actor fits the idea of a young Clark Kent perfectly. This makes sense considering that he is beginning to be too mature for the role of Spider-Man, a character who has never ventured, at least on screen, beyond his twenties. The transition from teenage Spider-Man to twenty-something Clark Kent could be a way for Holland to open up to more adult roles, especially considering there's still no official confirmation of his return as our friendly neighbourhood superhero. Admittedly, this is such a far-fetched hypothesis as to sound far-fetched, but that's the joy of fan casting after all.
Written by Michael Zippo
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