If you think life’s hard, then try being in charge of the DCEU. You deliberately make your movie releases darker in order to please the fans, only to get criticized by the wider audience and some of the critics. So you tone it down and make lighter-hearted films to please the wider audience, only to be criticized by the fans and some of the critics. Despite repeated efforts to get it’s house in order, the franchise just can’t seem to be able to catch a break, and it looks like a planned Superman cameo for this year’s Shazam solo movie may now be in jeopardy.
Perhaps the biggest problem facing the DCEU at the moment is that the Justice League, at least in its current format, is dead. Despite the overwhelming box office success of the Aquaman and Wonder Woman movies, it seems that any future work with Cyborg or Flash are dead in the water, with both characters having failed to connect with any significant demographic. Alongside this, Ben Affleck’s departure from the role of Bruce Wayne means that the only Batman project in the pipeline is Joachim Phoenix’s standalone Joker movie.
And then there’s Superman. As early as two years ago, rumors were emerging they actor Henry Cavill was unhappy that a Man Of Steel sequel had not been green-lit, and that he would be prepared to leave the role in order to pursue new opportunities elsewhere. The spectacular failure of the Justice League movie only made things worse, leading to Cavill staging a couple of very public protests via his social media accounts.
If the rumors are to be believed, Cavill has refused to live off cameo work alone, and has told the studio that if Man Of Steel 2 is not going to happen, he won’t be putting in any future appearances. Which is a problem, because Superman plays a very significant part in the upcoming Shazam movie, that specifically requires a walk-on from Cavill.
Still desperate to emulate the success of the MCU post-credits sequences, Shazam will see Billy Batson bringing Superman to school to impress his friend Freddy and other fellow classmates. Cavill’s refusal to co-operate presents a pretty significant barrier to this happening, but it is believed that the sequence will still take place, using his official body double and a suitably subtle camera angle to hide his absence.
Its a massive blow to the movie, which has already divided opinion between critics and commentators alike with its blatant attempts to capture younger elements of the market. It’s also a wider problem for the franchise, with Cavill’s clear appeal and connection with the fans one of the few positives to emerge from the franchise so far.
Shazam will be released in theaters April 5th, 2019.