Will Superman Have a Beard in the Justice League Movies?

Bearded-Cavill

Warning: Baseless speculation follows. Also, Batman V Superman spoilers.

Earlier today, Man of Steel actor Henry Cavill shared a photograph of himself lifting weights as part of his "Superman training" on Facebook.

And in that photo, he had a pretty decent growth of beard.

Obviously, it's not unheard of for actors who play clean-shaven characters to sport a beard in their downtime; Chris Evans does it, for a start.

But with the death of Superman at the end of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and filming for Justice League Part One already underway, the idea that "Superman" has a beard right now is a potentially intriguing concept.

While the character has never really had a beard as a long-term staple of his appearance, Superman appears with facial hair every so often -- and it's almost always a full beard when he does. We saw a bearded Superman during the "Exile" storyline, in which Superman heads to space to distance himself from humanity after killing Zod; and in the Mark Waid/Alex Ross miniseries Kingdom Come, before his "comeback" as Superman.

Cavill wore a beard for a chunk of Man of Steel, and was not exactly clean-shaven when he "visited" with Jonathan Kent in Batman V Superman.

Maybe most significantly, the Man of Steel currently sports a beard in Superman: Lois and Clark. Originally billed as essentially a take on "Earth-2 Superman," the pre-Flashpoint version of the hero appears in that title along with his wife and son, and the beard (as well as a black costume) was meant to differentiate him from the "main" Superman.

Of course, in the next few months, the "main" Superman is going to vacate his role (and possibly pass away), leaving the pre-Flashpoint Superman to fill the void left behind. While he'll return to a costume that looks more like a combination of the classic Superman duds and the movie's version when he's in the main role, presently the once and future Superman is wearing the black costume and the beard.

Another element of the conversation is that Superman's onscreen death was meant to evoke The Death of Superman (written and drawn in part by Lois and Clark's Dan Jurgens). After his death in that story, Superman returned...with long hair and a black costume. The long hair -- often mischaractized as a mullet -- has not aged well, becoming an object of ridicule especially among those who don't like the '90s as a decade for comics or the Death and Return of Superman storyline as a whole. So...could the movies use a beard instead, to indicate the same rough amount of passage of time?

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It's unlikely we'll find out anytime soon; Justice League Part One is expected in theaters on November 17, 2017 (the twenty-fifthy anniversary of the death of Superman, incidentally), but just started filming this month and likely won't have any official footage released until right around the New Year.