Superman is getting a bigger commitment by The CW as Tyler Hoechlin's Superman Arrowverse is currently in development. While that's good news for the Man of Steel on TV, it might be the opposite for the big-screen version in the DCEU. When it comes to DC Comics' crown jewel that is the Last Son of Krypton, several actors have brought the character to life on TV and film. Hoechlin is the most recent version on television, but Henry Cavill took on the role in the films starting in 2013's Man of Steel into 2017's Justice League. Following Justice League's box office and critical disaster, Cavill's future as the iconic hero has been a mystery.
However, it hasn't stopped The CW from continuing to utilizing the Arrowverse's iteration. The previous season saw the network using the Elseworlds crossover and Supergirl season 4 to introduce the iconic Superman characters Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch) and Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) respectively. Following many theories that this could set up a Superman series, The CW made it official this fall. From executive producer Greg Berlanti, Superman and Lois is currently in early development stages for the next TV season. Hoechlin and Tulloch will also return for Crisis on Infinite Earths soon.
WB's Complicated Process In Sharing Characters On TV & Film
Hoechlin's show means Superman will have a weekly adventure on the small screen again, but it could signal bad news for the hero over at the feature division. Since the early days of Smallville into the present DC TV era, Warner Bros. has always been picky with what characters get to appear on television. Icons such as Batman and Wonder Woman have been a strict no-n0 from the studio when it comes to appearing on any ongoing show. As long as certain characters have had ongoing franchises on the big screen, the TV division has been blocked from using them, or even had to write out characters so they can appear in a movie. Aside from Easter eggs, body doubles, or prequel versions (Gotham), two of the three DC Trinity members have been denied to appear regularly in any of the present shows.
One of the more recent examples was with Deathstroke, who was supposed to start appearing in the DCEU after Justice League, but it's especially the case when it comes to several of DC's more famous characters. It got to the point where Arrow, after spending a whole season setting up the Suicide Squad, had to scrap their version because of David Ayer's 2016 movie. Warner Bros. seems to pick and choose which characters can or can't be shared between TV and film at the same time. Since 2014, Grant Gustin has played Barry Allen on The Flash while Ezra Miller portrays the DCEU version that is set to get his own movie. With the regime having changed over at Warner Bros. Pictures as well as the DC Films division, the process seems to be a more case-by-case basis. Even though Melissa Benoist playing the Girl of Steel on The CW, a Supergirl film is being developed. Despite the tight grip Warner Bros. has had on Batman, Titans currently has Iain Glen playing a Bruce Wayne who still is the Dark Knight. Whether or not viewers will see him suit up remains to be seen.
Superman's Future In The DCEU Is Unknown
While Hoechlin has kept the TV version of Superman going, Cavill's status with the role is still an uncertainty. Cavill's future as Superman has long been in flux as Warner Bros. stated they have no movie plans for the character in the near future. There have been no signs as of late that the studio is looking at doing any more Superman films for the foreseeable future. Through past reports, Warner Bros. is supposedly prioritizing in doing a Supergirl movie rather than a sequel to Man of Steel. That could suggest Cavill is truly done with the character, although with so many things in flix with DC films, that door isn't entirely closed yet. In the scenario that he won't reprise the role of Superman, nothing has indicated that Warner Bros. has even begun looking at recasting the part.
Given the already-busy DC Films schedule, the studio is putting their focus on films and franchises like Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman 1984, The Batman, The Suicide Squad, The Flash, and Aquaman 2. What has become clear since Justice League is how Warner Bros. is reassessing the future for their DC properties on the big screen. Since Aquaman and Shazam!, the studio is definitely taking one film at a time rather than spinning plans for an interconnected universe. That could be one of the causes for the lack of news for new Superman movies, whether it's with Cavill or a new star in the role. Another factor is that Warner Bros. is wanting to explore other characters that haven't had their shot yet on the big screen. All those reasons alone could explain why The CW is able to do Superman and Lois as it keeps the IP active at least on television.
Superman's TV Presence Is Brighter Than Ever
Aside from Hoechlin's take on the Man of Steel, the character of Superman is shining more than ever on television. Looking beyond the upcoming spin-off, the Arrowverse's 5-hour crossover will see Hoechlin with at least two other Men of Steel. Smallville star Tom Welling is reprising the role of Clark Kent while Legends of Tomorrow's Brandon Routh is playing a Kingdom Come-inspired take on his version from Superman Returns. Another big prospect to consider with the spin-off is that it will open a new chapter for Superman in live-action. The series is reportedly going to follow Clark and Lois as they "deal with all the stress, pressures and complexities that come with being working parents in today’s society." Elseworlds established that Lois was pregnant which was why she and Clark left Earth to go to Argo City.
The upcoming crossover will feature the debut of the child who will also be another main character on Superman and Lois. It still remains unclear if the child will be Jon Kent or not. Even if the big screen is Superman-less for the time being, fans of the character will have the pleasure to follow him and the mythology on The CW. There is always the possibility that at some point in the near future, the film division starts looking at the idea of doing another Superman film. But with the studio, evidently, focusing on other characters and properties, the Man of Steel may be years away from getting a new series of films going, possibly because of the new TV show. A positive takeaway is that Superman has worked really well as a long-running television shows several times.
From Adventures of Superman, Superboy, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, to Smallville, it has been proven that the small screen is a strong platform to tell Superman stories for several seasons. Recent years have also seen that the world of Superman is thriving on television. While it ended sooner than expected, SYFY's Krypton elevated the larger mythology of Kal-El's home planet with Cameron Cuffe as Superman's grandfather Seg-El. The two-season long drama raised the bar for DC TV in its storytelling by defying viewers' expectations of how they played with the DC Universe. Titans season 2 is currently featuring Conner Kent a.k.a. Superboy (Joshua Orpin) as one of the new heroes who has been well-received. Supergirl is continuing to be one of The CW's biggest series with the Melissa Benoist-led drama currently in its 5th year. Even if there isn't an ongoing Superman franchise from DC films, the small-screen is keeping the Superman universe active more than ever.