Today it ws confirmed that actor Henry Cavill is starring in Netflix's The Witcher, an adaptation of the popular fantasy book series that was adapted into a late-2000s video game series. Cavill's commitment to the Netflix series has raised some fan concerns - and rightly so. After all, there is a big looming question that comes with this new casting announcement: Is Henry Cavill still playing Superman, now that he's Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher?
The question seems especially timely, as Henry Cavill's future as Superman in the DC Extended Universe film franchise is still largely uncertain. After Justice League, we still have no confirmed next appearance for Cavill's Superman in upcoming DCEU projects. Man of Steel 2 is still just a conversation of "What Ifs?" and fan wish lists of what they want to see. Half a decade after Zack Snyder's Man of Steel hit theaters, the sequel has no confirmed storyline, no director, and no production schedule that we know of. There's similarly no confirmed plan for production on, or release of, a Justice League sequel that would feature Cavill's Superman, which pretty much leaves the character in cinematic limbo.
Meanwhile, Cavill has seen his career continue to expand. Justice League's infamous "#moustachegate" occurred because Cavill had moved on to a big role in the Mission: Impossible franchise when Warner Bros. tried to supplant Zack Sndyer's jsutice League vision with Joss Whedon's. Based on the response to both films, it's now pretty clear that Cavill was much smarter to keep rocking the 'stache than he would've been shaving it in effort to give Justice League a production do-over that ultimately flopped. Indeed, in between each of his three big, controversial DCEU appearances (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, Justice League), Cavill has been steadily expanding his resume with what are mostly successful action roles, including Immortals (2011), The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015) and Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018). Cavill was a standout in each of these roles, and a factor in making at least the latter two earn well at the box office. Bottom line: he's grown enough to leave Superman behind and still have a strong career in front of him - and The Witcher could be the project that provides a comfortable safety net for that transition.
So does The Witcher mean that Cavill is definitely done with Superman? Hardly.
The question is a specious one when you really get down to it, for several good reasons:
- Actors balance doing TV series and movies all the time. Cavill even started out balancing his film roles in projects like Stardust and Immortals with his role on the Showtime series The Tudors.
- As stated, the future of the Superman movie franchise is currently in limbo - so why wouldn't Cavill find a way to keep earning income and seeing his star power expand, by taking on a new type of genre project?
If anything, the last year has proven that Cavill is getting smart about what projects to add to his resume. There's still a big question mark hanging over Netflix's ability to make The Witcher work as a TV series, but little question as to whether or not Cavill can bring the project higher visibility, or whether or not a certain sector of fans will automatically show up to check the project out.4comments
So far - Cavill seems to be having fun with the casting:
What do you think of Henry Cavill taking on The Witcher? Do you think it will affect his Superman role in any way?