DC Studios bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran are expected to soon reveal their multi-year interconnected vision for a DC cinematic universe, one that will include a young Superman film that won’t see Henry Cavill in the role.
The plan will mark a whole new start for DC following a highly tumultuous year for the brand in the wake of the Warner Bros. Discovery merger, the shelving of “Batgirl”, “The Flash” film dodged by controversy, the brief two-month return of Cavill to the Superman role, and the whole “Black Adam” saga which saw actor Dwayne Johson try (and fail) to change up the ‘hierarchy of power’ both on the screen and behind the scenes.
A new report at Variety has now gone into Johnson’s failed efforts to control DC. It says shortly after the Warner Bros. Discovery merger closed in April, Johnson and his team (producers Hiram Garcia and Beau Flynn) directly pitched Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav on a multiyear plan for “Black Adam” and a Cavill-led Superman that would set up a Superman-versus-Black Adam showdown project.
By doing so, they went around outgoing former DC head Walter Hamada and Warner Bros. film chief Toby Emmerich – a move that “ruffled feathers internally”, according to the trade’s sources. Eventually, new Warner Bros. film co-heads Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy approved a Cavill cameo in “Black Adam” despite Emmerich in 2018 making the call that Superman needed to be recast.
Then “Black Adam” fizzled at the box-office, grossing a $391 million worldwide haul off a $195 million production budget plus $40 million in reshoots. That flamed out any plans for more “Black Adam” films and ended Cavill’s Superman ambitions.
Not helping was that the Johnson-Warners relationship was wearing thin, with Johnson pushing for a producing credit on the animated “DC League of Super-Pets” film. A source tells the outlet: “His demands increased, and the returns just weren’t there.”
The outlet also says that with Ezra Miller having stayed out of trouble since beginning their mental health treatment in the summer, some executives are amenable to continuing with the actor in the role beyond “The Flash” release in June. Indeed, Gunn and Safran’s plan may not be as hard a reset as first thought – allowing for other potential returnees like Aquaman, Shazam, Blue Beetle and Gunn’s own Peacemaker characters.
Even scrapped “Batgirl” directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah say they are open to working with Warner Bros. down the road and said last month that a condition would be that the movie actually needs to come out.
In a final bit of amusingly unfortunate timing, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has reportedly released a new movie combo pack of “Man of Steel” and “Black Adam” that’s available for purchase through various digital retailers according to Slashfilm. The pack apparently went on sale the day after new DC Studios chief Gunn announced the new Cavill-less Superman film.