UPDATE #2: Henry Cavill has now responded to this whole crazy Superman exit thing and … uh … it’s not making anything any clearer.
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Posting a video on his Instagram with the caption “Today was exciting #Superman”, Cavill’s short video explains literally nothing but it’s kind of hilarious all the same. What the hell is going on with the DC Universe
UPDATE #1: Following the publication of THR’s original story on Henry Cavill’s exit from the DCU, Warner Bros. issued the following statement: “While no decisions have been made regarding any upcoming Superman films, we’ve always had great respect for and a great relationship with Henry Cavill, and that remains unchanged.”
That’s … surprisingly a lot to unpack. It’s unsurprising that WB hasn’t confirmed the news going around yet, as they surely need time to get their house in order and make sure that all parties are fairly represented. It’s a cryptic statement to be sure, as it neither confirms or outright denies THR’s report. Until either the studio or Cavill releases a statement offering a firm yes or no, we can’t know for certain if Cavill is out. That being said, it’s looking more unlikely by the minute that Cavill is staying on board, so we’re going to push ahead under the assumption that he’s done.
Original Story: It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s … Henry Cavill quitting Superman?!
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cavill has parted ways with Warner Bros. after three films playing the iconic DC superhero.
While it’s been unclear when we’d next get to see Cavill reprise his role after last year’s Justice League, there had been rumors that the actor would cameo in the upcoming Shazam! However, THR’s report notes that contract talks broke down, with scheduling conflicts being a sticking point for Cavill, who just recently signed on to star as Geralt in Netflix’s The Witcher.
Man of Steel 2 was never officially announced, but sources had previously pegged it as being at least several years away. However, it’s said that the studio’s focus had shifted to getting a Supergirl movie off the ground, which Cavill likely wouldn’t have had much involvement in given Superman would only be an infant in that story.
“There’s a recognition that some parts of the previous movies didn’t work,” says one studio insider. Another source claims that the studio is trying to hit the “reset” button with the DC universe, which would explain why Cavill and, by look of things, Ben Affleck are on the way out.
It’s unclear what Warner Bros’ plan for the Superman character is now that Cavill is out but if the report is true, this is a big blow to the already troubled DC Cinematic Universe.
For more on DC movies, check out these 17 Hidden Details You May Have Missed in Justice League:
17. Black Mask Tease?
Justice League doesn’t spend all that much time in Gotham City proper, so there isn’t a whole lot of opportunity for Batman-related Easter Eggs. However, there is a good blink-and-you’ll-miss-it tease during Batman’s opening fight against one of Steppenwolf’s Parademons. As Batman lays the smackdown on the Apokolips soldier, you can make out a sign in the background during one of the shots advertising a company called ‘Janus.’ Janus Cosmetics is a major corporation in the DC Comics Universe and just so happens to be run by the Sionis family.
As many Batman fans will be well aware, the Sionis family’s son Roman is better known as criminal kingpin Black Mask, who takes over the family business at one point and uses it to strengthen his criminal empire. Whether or not this is a tease for Black Mask’s appearance in a future DC movie, we at least now have confirmation that the Batman villain exists in the cinematic universe.
16. Wonder Woman Stands For Truth And Justice
Justice League’s introduction of Wonder Woman contains what is arguably one of the film’s best standalone shots, with Diana perched atop a golden statue of Lady Justice, about to thwart a hostage situation. It’s certainly not a subtle shot by any means, as both Wonder Woman and Lady Justice stand for many of the same values, but there’s a bit more going on here thematically when you consider Diana’s mythological connections. Lady Justice is actually Themis, a Titan from Greek mythology who stands as the embodiment of divine justice and law.
Interestingly, Themis’ sword is more than a weapon but rather represents her ability to divide between right and wrong. It should also be noted that since the Titans predate the Olympian gods, Themis is something of an Old God of Earth, who are mentioned more than once over the course of the film.
15. Hey Look, It’s Zeus
During Diana’s early exchange with Bruce, in which she offers an explanation of who Steppenwolf is and what he wants, we’re treated to a flashback sequence depicting the epic war between the forces of Apokolips and an alliance made up of Humans, Amazons, and Atlanteans. There are quite a few faces in the chaos that DC fans will immediately recognize (more on them later), but one figure who stands out is the lightning-wielder hurling bolts at Steppenwolf, playing a major role in thwarting the villain’s plan of aligning the Mother Boxes.
While it isn’t necessarily confirmed, this can be none other than Zeus the God of Thunder, as Diana mentions that the Amazons were aided by gods in their fight against Steppenwolf. This appears to be thousands of years before he fathered Diana, though it’s interesting that we had to wait until Justice League to see Zeus in action considering how important he is to Wonder Woman’s origin story.
14. The Other Gods
Of course, Zeus isn’t the only Olympian on the battlefield fighting off Steppenwolf’s invasion, as we see at least two other notable gods in action. The first is an axe-wielding warrior who can be seen leaping into action against Steppenwolf. While it’s difficult to tell for sure because he’s seen so briefly, this would appear to be Ares the God of War, long before he turned against Zeus and became the lead villain in Wonder Woman.
The second god — a female archer who manages to take out one of Steppenwolf’s ships with a well-placed shot — is much easier to place. It’s clear from the archer’s glowing bow and arms that she is no Amazon but rather a goddess. In this case, that would be Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt, who is closely associated with the bow and arrow. Like Wonder Woman, Artemis is also a daughter of Zeus — a detail that becomes even more significant when you realize that she is known to the Romans by the name Diana.
Also, it needs to be noted that this version of Artemis is different than the one we met in Wonder Woman, played by boxer Ann Wolfe. According to the official credits, the role of Artemis the goddess was played by MMA fighter Aurore Laueral.
13. Green Lanterns!
One of the biggest disappointments of Justice League is that Green Lantern doesn’t make a surprise appearance in the third act (or even a post-credits scene) to join the team. That means we’ll have to continue to wait to see Hal Jordan, John Stewart, or one of the other Lanterns become an official member of the League. Fortunately, the film does confirm the existence of the Green Lanterns Corps. in the DC movie universe — not only does Steppenwolf mention that Earth has no Lantern protecting it, but we see a member of the intergalactic military/police force fighting alongside Earth’s defense force in the flashback war with the forces of Apokolips.
We only briefly get to see this Lantern use his powers before he dies in battle, so it’s difficult to gauge whether the character will work better on screen in the DC movie universe than he did in the 2011 film starring Ryan Reynolds. Still, seeing any Green Lantern in action is a cool moment and as a bonus twist for fans, we get to see the deceased bearer’s ring go flying off in search of its new owner, while Steppenwolf looks helplessly on.
12. Aquaman’s Tattoos Actually Mean Something
If it wasn’t for Ezra Miller’s highly energetic and entertaining take on The Flash and Gal Gadot’s continued MVP status as Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa would very nearly walk away with this whole movie as Arthur Curry, aka “the Aquaman who f—ks.” Momoa’s Aquaman spends a good chunk of the movie shirtless; all the better to show off his ridiculously-toned physique and nautical-themed body tattoos. As it turns out, those tattoos aren’t just there for show but actually tell a story.
For instance, the pointed band of triangles on Aquaman’s forearms represent shark teeth; a symbol of power and fierce strength in the Polynesian tradition that this particular version of the character is modeled after. The spearheads on Arthur’s shoulders symbolize courage, while the small wave details signify his connection to the ocean. These symbols are also represented on Aquaman’s Atlantean armor, so there’s a strong possibility that their significance will be touched upon in next year’s solo film.
11. Wind-Up Penguins
Alright, this one’s pretty obvious, but how cool is it to hear Jeremy Irons’ Alfred just casually reference one of Batman’s most famous foes in the middle of a conversation? The moment is part of a bigger talk between Alfred and Bruce about how the world — with its alien invasions, gods who can level buildings, and an entire kingdom of people living under the sea — has changed considerably since the days when “exploding wind-up penguins” were the worst of Batman’s concerns. This is, of course, a nod to both Oswald Cobblepot, aka The Penguin and Tim Burton’s 1992 film Batman Returns, which is where The Penguins’ army of penguins rigged with explosive rockets originated.
10. Jimmy Olsen Cameo
No, we don’t actually get to see Jimmy Olsen in Justice League (which would be kind of weird anyway considering Batman v Superman infamously killed him off), but we do get the next best thing in the form of actor Marc McClure, who played Clark Kent’s buddy in Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie. McClure plays the prison guard who speaks with Barry Allen when the latter goes to visit his incarcerated father. What you might not realize is that this is actually McClure’s second cameo, as he was previously revealed to be one of the police officers at the Superman memorial in Metropolis. Unfortunately, this sequence ended up being cut during Joss Whedon’s reshoots, but the studio made sure to give the actor a cameo somewhere else.
9. Gorilla Grodd Tease
During Barry Allen’s first encounter with Bruce Wayne, the young speedster tells the billionaire who broke into his lair that he has a variety of unique skills and qualifications. Among them is an ability that is sure to pique the interest of Flash fans everywhere: Gorilla Sign Language. While the line is played off as a joke, fans of the Scarlet Speedster know that this is, in fact, a reference to one of the character’s biggest foes, a sentient ape with super strength and telepathic skills named Gorilla Grodd. The only question now is whether Barry’s Gorilla Sign Language skills are just a joke or a serious skill he’s learned in order to communicate with Grodd and whether or not we’ll see the big ape in the eventual Flash solo movie.
8. Captain Cold Too?
Another bit of proof that Barry Allen is further along in his crimefighting career than he lets on can be found in his lair. If you take a close look at one of Barry’s computer monitors, one of the screens features a schematic of Barry’s Suit, with particular attention paid to the chest piece. If you look closely, the diagnostic is focused on the suit’s cold resistance. Now, surely there are plenty of reasons for why someone with Barry’s abilities would be concerned with his suit’s ability to handle extremely cold temperatures, but it could also indicate that The Flash is ready if Captain Cold comes a-knocking. With a prominent role in The CW’s Flash TV series and the spin-off DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Captain Cold is more popular than he’s ever been, so there’s a good chance we’ll see the subzero villain show up in a future DCEU installment.
7. Detective Crispus Allen
Justice League offers us our first look at the DC movie universe’s Commissioner Gordon, played here by J.K. Simmons, but the rest of the Gotham City Police Department doesn’t really get much focus. However, we do get introduced to a familiar face in the GCPD during Gordon’s introductory scene. At the police precinct, Jim is approached by one of his detectives about the various kidnappings and alien sightings that have been plaguing Metropolis. While the detective is never addressed by name, one look at Justice League’s IMDb page reveals that the character in question is Crispus Allen, played by actor Bobna Holdbrook-Smith. Allen has been a regular in GCPD stories for years and is featured most prominently in the Gotham Central series, one of the best Batman spinoff series to come out of the 2000s.
6. ACE Chemicals
Another cool Gotham City background Easter eggs can be spotted in the scene where Bruce, Diana, and Barry all see the Bat-Signal shining in the night sky, prompting Barry to geek out about actually getting to respond to the signal alongside the Dark Knight. What you may not have noticed is the neon sign for ACE Chemicals hiding in the bottom of the shot. As many Batman fans will be well-aware, ACE Chemicals is a manufacturer of toxic chemicals and one of the more infamous companies in the DC universe, primarily because it’s the canonical location of The Joker’s transformation into the green-haired maniac we all know and love.
This isn’t the first appearance of ACE Chemicals in the DC movie universe either, as the interior was featured in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad during the scene where the Joker tosses Harley Quinn into a vat of chemicals (which makes ACE the birthplace of both characters in DCEU canon).
5. Batman ’89 Theme
Many viewers were likely surprised to discover that Man of Steel and Batman v Superman composers Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL didn’t do the Justice League score. Instead, veteran composer Danny Elfman was brought in and the shift in tone is quite noticeable, especially when you notice that Elfman brought back a familiar theme for certain scenes. Since Elfman did the score for Tim Burton’s Batman (1989), it’s only fitting that he would bring elements of that score back for his return visit to the DC universe. The theme appears throughout the film but is most noticeable when Batman makes his gargoyle entrance atop the GCPD when the League responds to Gordon’s Bat-Signal.
Unfortunately, we don’t get a new Prince song to go alongside Elfman’s score. RIP
4. Superman Theme Returns
John Williams’ work on Superman (1978) is arguably still the most iconic score in superhero filmmaking, although Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL did a sensational job with their own score for 2013’s Man of Steel. However, with both composers out of the picture for Justice League, Danny Elfman is free to do his own thing with Superman’s entrance music and he does just that upon the character’s resurrection. Elfman applies a darker twist to Williams’ classic theme during the sequence when Superman returns to life and starts raging out on his former allies.
3. Superman And The Flash’s Race
In a move that has Joss Whedon’s fingerprints all over it (in a good way), Justice League’s mid-credits scene is totally focused on fun, depicting the classic DC fan debate over who is faster, Flash or Superman? We actually see this ‘rivalry’ between the characters pop up a few times throughout the film; first when The Flash tries to pull a fast one on the Man of Steel when he’s temporarily trying to fight the rest of the League members and later on when the pair rush to help get civilians out of harm’s way during the final battle with Steppenwolf. In the comics, both heroes have raced each other a number of times, but their contests usually end in a draw. Keeping with tradition, we don’t find out who wins the race to the Pacific coast here. We’ll just assume that it ended in a draw.
2. The Hall of Justice
During the film’s closing montage, we see Bruce Wayne re-enter Wayne Manor after leaving it abandoned in Dawn of Justice. Having Bruce reclaim Wayne Manor is an important development in his development, as it signifies him finally coming out of the shadows with a renewed hope in the world but it’s also significant for a very different reason. We hear Bruce mention that he’s installing a large, round table with six chairs, while explicitly noting that there will be room for more to be added later. This would seem to indicate that the Hall of Justice will be located at Wayne Manor going forward, although we’re still hoping that the Watchtower (and *cough Martian Manhunter *cough) will get their due at a later date.
1. “A League Of Our Own”
Justice League’s final scene features an exchange between two individuals and the fact that either of them makes an appearance is actually quite surprising. In the case of Lex Luthor, it’s shocking that Warner Bros. even asked Jesse Eisenberg to come back following his horrendous performance in Dawn of Justice. And in the case of Deathstroke, it had looked like the sun had already set on Joe Manganiello getting the chance to play the helmeted mercenary, so it’s a pleasant surprise indeed to see him show up as Slade Wilson here.
As it turns out, Luthor has invited Deathstroke onto his yacht to discuss the formation of their own league in light of the Justice League’s rise to prominence. Considering just how many different villain teams there have been across DC Comics history, it’s unclear what name this league will go by (The Injustice Society? The Legion of Doom? The Suicide Squad??) but it looks like the next threat the Justice League may need to thwart will come from its own backyard rather than the skies above.