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Things We Hope To See Now That Henry Cavill Is Back As Superman

Now that we've gotten the official confirmation that Henry Cavill is back as Superman, speculation is already rampant as to what that means for the greater DC Extended Universe. Paired with the news that James Gunn will be taking over DC's film and TV division, newly rebranded as DC Studios, Superman fans have a lot to be excited about. Since his debut appearance in Zack Snyder's 2013 outing, "Man of Steel," fans and critics alike have praised Cavill's portrayal of the titular hero — even if they didn't always like the direction the character took.

After appearing in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," "Justice League," and "Zack Snyder's Justice League," Cavill's Superman has become a popular interpretation of the character. Since 2017, fans have only gotten small glimpses of the character, via archived and repurposed footage in the Snyder cut of "Justice League," or faceless cameos in "Shazam!" and "Peacemaker." But all that changed with "Black Adam," and the re-emergence of both Henry Cavill and the Man of Steel.

Though many had hoped for a standalone sequel to "Man of Steel" after Snyder's original followup turned out to be "Batman v Superman," those dreams seemed to die with the failure of the Joss Whedon version of "Justice League." Thankfully, Cavill still loves the character and continued to campaign on his behalf. Now that he's back, whether it be in a direct sequel or a series of new films, here's what we want most from the return of Henry Cavill's Superman.

A standalone sequel

While "Batman v Superman" might get a bad rap, there's probably no denying that every Superman fan would have rather seen a direct sequel to "Man of Steel" that didn't expand the world beyond his own cast of characters. No doubt, Ben Affleck's Batman was terrific, and the fight between the titular heroes was something to write home about, but the very personal story that was "Man of Steel" probably should have been followed up with another character-driven piece rather than a prequel to "Justice League."

A standalone "Man of Steel" sequel would allow Cavill's Superman to shine and explore his own personal world in a way we've yet to really see. Whether developing Metropolis as a city with its own unique feel, exploring Clark Kent's job and a well-rounded cast of characters at the Daily Planet, or introducing a larger rogues' gallery for the Last Son of Krypton, there are plenty of stories that could easily be told in a brand-new solo Superman feature.

If the "Superman and Lois" TV series has proved anything, it's that Superman can be unique and interesting — possibly the most interesting — when he's isolated in his own corner of the DC Universe, with a story driven by real human emotion that feels both intricate and personal. "Man of Steel" did this well, but somewhere along the way, the DCEU lost sight of Superman in favor of other prominent Justice Leaguers. Now that Cavill's back, we'd love to see an announcement for a proper "Man of Steel 2."

Intergalactic conflicts

Superman is a unique superhero in that he thrives in different locations and genres. Being from small-town Kansas, Clark Kent works great in rural landscapes, complete with small-town issues and small-town crime. Both "Smallville" and "Superman and Lois" have highlighted this well over the years. Likewise, Superman's role as the defender of Metropolis — and the world — also feels natural: the Christopher Reeve "Superman" movies, "Superman: The Animated Series," and "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" have all leaned into this side of the character.

But one aspect of the Superman mythos that we've rarely seen on screen — at least in live-action, though it's prominent in the comic books and even animation — are the intergalactic challenges that the Man of Tomorrow has to face. We got glimpses of this in "Man of Steel" and both versions of "Justice League," but the truth is that Superman often battles intergalactic foes, and not just on Earth. In the traditional DC Comics, Superman has explored the vast reaches of space, going to planets such as New Krypton, Warworld, and Apokalips to face monsters and tyrants who threaten the Earth.

While it might be best to keep Superman close to home for a while, it would be great to see the Man of Steel eventually explore the greater DC Universe. There is so much out there that we have yet to see, and with Superman as our guide, what could go wrong?

More Daily Planet investigations

One of the things Superman fans appreciated most about the Ultimate Edition of "Batman v Superman" was the further exploration of Clark Kent's budding career as a journalist. While working for the Daily Planet, Clark can keep an ear to the ground and learn about the latest natural disaster, bank robbery, or supervillain before anyone else. It's the perfect job for a superhero, and it helps that Clark genuinely cares about the work and the people he investigates.

Though we see glimpses of this in "Batman v Superman," there is still plenty in the Daily Planet newsroom to be explored and more characters we'd love to see. In addition to expanding the roles of Lois Lane, Perry White, and Steve Lombard, there are other Daily Planet staples such as Cat Grant, Ron Troupe, and even Lana Lang who have yet to make official appearances. Then there's Jimmy Olsen, who was unceremoniously killed off in "Batman v Superman." But if "Smallville" has proven anything, it's that you can introduce more than one Jimmy Olsen and still make it work!

Though Clark Kent has had other jobs before, his role at the Daily Planet is vital to Superman history. Not only is Clark a stellar reporter — second only to Lois Lane — but the stories he investigates often end up relating to the crimes he later thwarts as Superman. Here's hoping the next Superman feature finds the time to explore Clark's reporting skills.

Superman's day-to-day

Clark Kent's job at the Daily Planet isn't the only day-to-day routine we'd like to see more of now that Henry Cavill is back as Superman. There's something to be said for the simple stories that have Superman saving the day in smaller, more personal ways. Whether it's catching runaway trains, saving cats from trees, or even talking people off the ledge before taking their own lives, there's a lot that goes on during a day in the life of someone like Superman.

Yes, "Batman v Superman" had a brief montage of Superman saving cruise liners, rescuing people from flooding, and averting other disasters. However, many of these brief segments were pretty impersonal, and while important to the narrative that Zack Snyder was constructing, didn't perfectly encapsulate the role of Superman in the greater DC Universe. Actually, his brief cameo in "Shazam!" — where he sits to have lunch with the overly-bullied Freddie Freeman — feels a lot more akin to the Man of Steel's comic book counterpart than some of those epic saves.

This isn't to say that Superman needs to be some corny hero who feels like he's from another time — though those "American Way" values certainly have a place in Superman history — but seeing Superman care about each individual that he interacts with is something we'd love to see more of in the DCEU. Plus, "a day in the life of Superman" sounds like a great time.

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Lois and Clark

The bedrock of Clark Kent's arc throughout his time in the DCEU is without a doubt his relationship with Lois Lane. In "Man of Steel," Lois' reaction to him is one of the primary reasons that Clark feels comfortable revealing himself to the world. By the time of "Batman v Superman," they're in a solid, committed relationship. In the wake of his death, Lois still carries a torch for Clark, and it's her love that restores his sanity after he rises from the dead. In Zack Snyder's "Justice League," they're engaged with a child on the way. Needless to say, their romance is paramount.

Lois Lane and Clark Kent are destined for each other, and at this point that's hardly controversial. Alternate universe stories like "Injustice" or "Kingdom Come" show what happens when Superman loses his Lois Lane, and while we don't doubt his capacity for good — Batman's "Knightmare" visions aside — Clark is just better with Lois by his side. She grounds him, reminding him that while he is super, he is just a man. Well, sort of.

"Man of Steel" and "Batman v Superman" laid some excellent groundwork for this relationship, which we hope DC Studios will continue to develop. In the current DC Comics, Clark and Lois have a son named Jonathan who has superpowers of his own, a concept also explored on the CW's "Superman and Lois." While the DCEU's Lois and Clark might not be there yet, continuing their story might lead down similarly exciting paths.

More foes than just General Zod and Lex Luthor

Whether it's Christopher Reeve, Brandon Routh, or Henry Cavill, it seems that the only villains that Superman is ever allowed to face in his solo live-action blockbusters are Lex Luthor or General Zod. While there's nothing wrong with these characters — they're two of Superman's greatest foes — it's time for a change. "The Suicide Squad" mentioned that Bloodsport put Superman in the ICU, and "Black Adam" promises a rivalry between the titular antihero and the Man of Steel, but Superman's rogues gallery is much larger than that.

While there are a plethora of villains we'd love to see come face-to-face with Superman, the truth is that whoever Cavill's Man of Steel goes up against next should match him in either power or skill. This version of Superman has gone up against the likes of Kryptonian armies, Doomsday, and the New God Steppenwolf, making him the most powerful hero in the entire DCEU film franchise. Action sequences aren't everything, but they do make things a bit more exciting.

Brainiac and Mongul are the obvious picks here: they're both alien tyrants with a strong connection to the Man of Steel who can get under his skin and genuinely serve as a threat to both Metropolis and the entire world. But if we wanted something more personal, Morgan Edge and Intergang, or even Toyman, might be the way to go ... As long as it's not another Lex Luthor retread, we'll be happy.

A return to Krypton

Although bringing General Zod back as Superman's nemesis might be a mistake, returning to Krypton wouldn't be, especially if a villain like Brainiac is the Man of Tomorrow's next antagonist. One of the best parts of "Man of Steel" was the opening sequence on Krypton. The alien homeworld is rife with opportunity for development and exploration, to the point where "Man of Steel" writer David S. Goyer even went on to develop the SyFy series "Krypton," which was all about Superman's birthplace prior to its destruction.

Connecting Superman's next nemesis to Krypton — again, rooting for Brainiac here — would allow for the return of Russell Crowe's Jor-El, and possibly even Michael Shannon as a pre-villainous General Zod, as they experience the android tyrant's attempts to steal Krypton's greatest city. In the DC Comics continuity, Brainiac once stole the Kryptonian city of Kandor – the home of Superman's cousin Supergirl — and kept it until Superman was able to rescue his ancestors from Brainiac's grasp.

Returning to Krypton would be a great way to resume Superman's own exploration of his origins as he continues to learn about where he came from. While he learned a lot from the A.I. Jor-El in "Man of Steel," there's a lot more he could discover in the future — especially if that knowledge would help him save his current homeworld. Plus the Krypton of "Man of Steel" is certainly a world we'd love to see explored more.

Continued plot threads

There's no hiding the fact that the continuity surrounding the DC Extended Universe is something of a mess. Whether its small details between movies that don't line up or the question of which "Justice League" deserves to be canonized, there are a lot of different plot strands that have yet to be resolved. Some of these threads naturally include Superman, and we're hoping that his future in the DCEU at least acknowledges some of the plot points left behind by previous films.

For starters, the Kryptonian scale ship that's smack in the middle of Metropolis needs to be dealt with. Given that it's the closest thing that Henry Cavill's Superman has to a Fortress of Solitude, and the last tie he has to his Kryptonian heritage, it probably shouldn't live in the middle of his base of operations for just anyone to break into. Likewise, Superman's return has no doubt affected the return of Clark Kent, and the fact that he was dead for months should absolutely be addressed in future installments.

Along with that, "Man of Steel" seems to imply that some of the townsfolk of Smallville know that Clark Kent is Superman, and with that knowledge in mind, it seems like something that should probably be touched on. Given that, in the comics, some of Superman's allies have turned into enemies, this could be a plot thread with potentially disastrous consequences, but one that would no doubt prove thrilling along the way.

Return of the Justice League

Speaking of unresolved plot threads, we almost certainly all want to see the return of the Justice League in the future. Sure, Aquaman and Wonder Woman have had their own outings since "Justice League" was released, and "The Flash" has been in the works for a while, but what about a reunion of these iconic characters? With so many of them still slated to return to the DCEU in some capacity or another, another reunion — and not like what we saw in "Peacemaker" — is bound to happen sooner rather than later.

With Black Adam and the Justice Society of America now at the forefront of the DCEU, it's as important as ever that the Justice League unites again. Whether we're following the continuity of "Zack Snyder's Justice League" or not, there are still countless otherworldly threats out there deserving of the League's attention, and as we know from both versions of the film, they're not the Justice League without Superman. The Man of Steel just belongs with this ragtag group of superheroes.

Now that both Ben Affleck's Batman and Henry Cavill's Superman are returning to the DCEU, there's hope of a greater Justice League story in the future. Regardless of which version of the film they end up following, the excitement surrounding the possibility of seeing the World's Greatest Heroes on screen together again is one that even the original Avengers might not parallel.

A more optimistic Superman

One of the biggest criticisms of Zack Snyder's interpretation of Superman — particularly in "Man of Steel" and "Batman v Superman" — was his super-serious demeanor. In fact, many were put off by the fact that Henry Cavill's Superman seems to smile a bit less than someone like Christopher Reeve or Tyler Hoechlin, especially while saving civilians. While Cavill's Superman certainly does smile, and is still incredibly compassionate and self-sacrificing, many believed that he lacked a sense of hopeful optimism.

For more than 80 years, Superman has been classically known for his fight for "truth, justice, and the American Way." Though he's gone through many different iterations — including versions much darker than the one we saw in "Man of Steel" — and starred in dozens of film and television projects, Superman has managed to stay relatively consistent throughout. For many, 2017's "Justice League" was a step in the right direction, though clearly not enough to save the movie at the box-office.

Of course, all this is subject to personal opinion. Others — including Henry Cavill himself – didn't think "Man of Steel" was dark at all, instead seeing threads of hope woven throughout the film. Nevertheless, one thing we can all hope for is that Henry Cavill's return as Superman will restore an outwardly hopeful vigor to the character, and remind audiences that Superman is still relevant today. If Captain America can do it, Superman should have no problem.