Yesterday morning one of the biggest pieces of casting news for the year was made official by Warner Bros. They, along with director Zack Snyder, had finally come to a decision on the man who would down the iconic blue tights and red cape as the next Superman.

While you may not have come across the name of Henry Cavill amongst the commonly rumored names for the part of Clark Kent in Superman: Man of Steel, there’s good reason. The casting process was so secret that not even Cavill or his reps knew he was going to be picked until yesterday morning as well.

Apparently, Cavill was one of the top Superman choices by the studio for the role since day one, although they didn’t want to let him know that in an attempt to avoid any leaks and keep their intentions secret. One executive describes the type of Clark Kent Cavill can play in comparison to Brandon Routh and Christopher Reeve before him:

“He’s got an amazing quality. He doesn’t look too much like Reeve and Routh but he’s big and strong and he has a very modern feel to him. We’re really going to try and make Superman as contemporary as possible.”

What’s interesting about the selection of Henry Cavill as Superman, is that despite his young age of 27 years, he had previously tried out for the title role of Batman against Christian Bale for Christopher Nolan’s take on the franchise and against Daniel Craig for the part of  James Bond, but he was too young then for both parts. Not only did he test for those major Hollywood roles, but before Bryan Singer took the helm of Superman Returns, Cavill was a top contender for the role of a much younger Clark Kent for previous directors Brett Ratner and McG.

Henry Cavill as Charles Brandon in The Tudors

Cavill beat out other contenders including the widely rumored Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Arnie Hammer (The Social Network) and Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries), but the actual other top choice was reportedly Matthew Goode who previously worked with Snyder as the villainous lead Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias in Watchmen.

Of UK descent, Cavill joins a potential Justice League roster that includes three non-Americans – a curious issue for some fans. Christian Bale also hailsl from the UK and Ryan Reynolds is Canadian. For us, it matters not where the lead actor is born, especially for roles like Superman, where the character is not even from our planet.

I’m all for the choice of Cavill and look forward to his “modern” take on the character.

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Superman: Man of Steel is tentatively set for a December 2012 release date.

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Sources: Deadline, THR