The DCEU often gets a bad rap from critics and fans alike. While some of it is completely justified, whether it’s 2017’s Justice League, Wonder Woman 1984, or any of the Suicide Squad entries (Birds of Prey also falls under this umbrella), Zack Snyder’s efforts are arguably among the under-appreciated. Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and his 2020 version of Justice League, form a trilogy in their own right.
Wonder Woman and Aquaman are strong contenders too, serving Snyder’s installments more than any of the others (Shazam’s fourth-wall jokes keep it closer in relation to the likes of Birds of Prey). But it’s really those three ‘core’ films that have been the backbone of the DCEU. Of course, that’s no real compliment when most films outside of these ones have been wishy-washy at best, but each of those three entries is definitely worth revisiting, especially if Batman and Superman are among your favorite superheroes.
Nevertheless, while the Snyderverse, despite a continuation being teased in the Justice League: Snydercut's epilogue, seems to be closed to any future films, with the rest of the DCEU ongoing (Flashpoint, Aquaman 2, Shazam 2, and so on), it’s still possible that we’ll see a sequel to the vastly underrated Man of Steel. Superman has always been, and always will be, an immensely lucrative property, ever since the late great Christopher Reeve donned the red, yellow and blue spandex way back in 1980, which saw its own three official sequels.
Since then, Superman has been no stranger to film or television. The former saw a fifth-of-sorts entry to Reeves’ Superman series in the form of Superman Returns, with Brandon Routh as the titular Kryptonian, with the likes of Clark and Lois: The New Adventures of Superman, Smallville and now, Superman and Lois, dominating our terrestrial screens over the decades. But is there another Superman movie on the horizon, or was Henry Cavill’s departure the final kryptonite nail in the coffin for the DCEU version at least? Somehow, we don't think so.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, here's everything you need to know about the next Man of Steel movie…
As it stands, there are already a number of follow-ups to 2013's Man of Steel. These are Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League (2017), and Justice League: Snydercut. But if we’re talking direct sequels, then Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice serves as the most honest sequel to Man of Steel, while also carrying a solo Batman movie on its shoulders at the same time (adding to that, it even piggybacks much foreshadowing in the way of future Justice League installments, whether individual superhero movies or the main crossover movie).
As for the rest of the DCEU – Suicide Squad, Birds of Prey, Shazam, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman 1984, and The Suicide Squad – none of them offer anything in the way of a sequel to Man of Steel, as he doesn’t even appear in any, with the exception of Shazam. However, as Henry Cavill had already left the DCEU at that point, we simply get a ‘neck-down’ version of him, which really isn’t all that funny or clever, and is a joke best left suited to the likes of Marvel’s Deadpool, especially given the serious tone of Snyder’s DCEU movies.
But if you're after a sequel, then look no further than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which does very much feel like a true sequel to Man of Steel, while at the same time building up the Snyderverse. We follow Clark as he continues to navigate the world as Superman, with his fellow humans divided on whether he is to be revered or feared. Meanwhile, following the deaths of thousands during Superman's battle with Zod in Metropolis, a disenfranchised Bruce Wayne has become fixated on the Kryptonian, convinced he poses a threat to the planet.
A Man of Steel 2 has been back and forth over the last few years, with the script almost stepping out into the sun, only to slink back into the shadows again. The film was originally rumored to be set mostly on Krypton (though we're not sure how that would have worked, considering it was completely obliterated so very long ago), and a script was allegedly passed to James Gunn at one point. However, apparently, he turned it down in favor of The Suicide Squad (we can't quite imagine the director tackling a Superman movie anyway, to tell you the truth).
While many do feel that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is Man of Steel 2 (we highly recommend the Ultimate Edition) - including director Zack Snyder himself, Superman, on the other hand, doesn't. Henry Cavill actually went on record to state that he doesn't view it as an actual sequel to the 2013 movie. In many ways, he's right, but so is Zack Snyder. After all, while Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a great follow-up, it still isn't a solo Superman movie (even if one exists in there somewhere, as there does a Batman movie).
Nevertheless, for all intents and purposes, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is both a sequel and a spin-off. As for a Man of Steel 2, though, at this point its future is uncertain but never say never. While the DCEU entries as of late have been far more insular and independent, as opposed to feeling like building blocks towards a grander purpose (which is just how the franchise started), that still hasn't stopped sequels from happening, such as Wonder Woman 1984, The Suicide Squad, and now, Aquaman 2 and Shazam 2.
The real question is whether or not Henry Cavill will return to play Superman. In recent interviews, the actor has said, "I've not given up the role. There's a lot I have to give for Superman yet. A lot of storytelling to do. A lot of real, true depths to the honesty of the character I want to get into. I want to reflect the comic books. That's important to me. There's a lot of justice to be done for Superman." He has also said, "It's such a wonderful character, it's actually a responsibility I'm happy to have, and I hope that I get to play more of Superman in years to come."
It's fair to say that Cavill fitted into the red, yellow, and blue spandex incredibly well (in more ways than one), and to date remains among the favorites to have portrayed the iconic character. So the jury isn't out on whether he'll return, but let's just hope that he'll dodge any future 'mustache fiascos' (courtesy of scheduling conflicts between Mission Impossible: Fallout and Justice League in 2017) as quickly as his onscreen counterpart can dodge bullets.
The DCEU is also set to open its own version of the Multiverse, not unlike MCU's plans as seen in the new trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home, which reveals characters from other non-MCU Spider-Man franchises. In the DCEU, this will arrive in the form of Flashpoint, which will see Michael Keaton reprising his role as Batman. As for whether we'll see a 'past' version of Clark Kent appear down the line, such as Brandon Routh, Tom Welling, or Dean Cain, or a fresh recasting entirely, we'll just have to wait and see.
The character is currently being played by Tyler Hoechlin in HBO Max's Superman and Lois. But if you're after some Henry Cavill, don't worry - he will be returning to the smaller screens in The Witcher Season 2 this December. As for who really wins between Batman and Superman, with 11 movies under the Bat's utility belt (including Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, either version of Justice League and the upcoming Robert Pattinson installment), and only seven under the Son of Krypton's cape, it's plain to see who's winning in that department.