For fans of DC movies, 2022 has been a particularly turbulent year, within the instability that has characterized the company’s extended universe since its founding, with Man of Steel (2013). That movie featured a new Superman, played by the then almost unknown Henry Cavill, under the direction of Zack Snyder.

The figure of the filmmaker and his attributed dark approach marked the development of the film series, which commercially failed to meet the objective of standing up to its competitor, Marvel, and deeply divided fans, an unprecedented schism that led to the release of two versions of the movie Justice League: the one that was seen in theaters in 2017, intervened by the studio with the collaboration of director Joss Whedon, and the one that, after an intense campaign by Snyder supporters on social networks.

With the waters still troubled, Dwayne Johnson, protagonist and producer of the latest DC release, Black Adam (2022), tried to reconcile the different groups of viewers with the return, through a cameo, of Henry Cavill as Superman: the idea was mark a change of course in the universe of movies, but with that gesture it was transmitted to the fans of Zack Snyder that his scaffolding was still there. It didn’t work. The film’s entire take was surpassed in a single weekend by Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and the Warner executive, responsible for DC’s film division, commissioned director James Gunn and producer Peter Safran to produce it. starting a new saga. Thus, the resounding return of Cavill became, in a few weeks, the resounding departure of Cavill. “I just had a meeting with James Gunn and Peter Safran and there is bad news. Finally, I will not return as Superman ”, reported the actor from his Instagram account.

“Cavill is surely the best casting the character of Superman has ever had. He is the Superman of the comics traced. I wish I had had better opportunities and better stories to display his talent ”, says the film director and writer David Galan Galindo, consulted by ICON. Wide connoisseur of the medium and of superheroes, Galan Galindo premiered in 2020 Secret Origins, a film about the search for a serial killer that references comic pages in the staging of his crimes, and has just published Sargento Resines, a comic that imagines the actor Antonio Resines as a vigilante, with drawings by Salva Espin, official Deadpool illustrator at Marvel. For the choice of the new actor, the filmmaker from Avila recommends “looking again at the comics and not at Christopher Reeve [the most popular and longest-lived Superman actor in cinema, between 1978 and 1987]. Trying to emulate those past times will lead to dissatisfaction, nothing pleases nostalgia. In the original paper material is the answer, always”.

With Henry Cavill also out of the Netflix series The Witcher (2019) and with Warhammer 40,000 in the pipeline (it will be a series on Prime Video), the actor remains within the television orbit having not had any other success in theaters as the protagonist. And if the 39-year-old Briton thinks of his predecessors, the record is not rosy. In Hollywood, the legend of the curse of Superman has figured for decades, which links a whole host of misfortunes and misfortunes to the superhero of the planet Krypton, from members of the film crews to the creators themselves, Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, who They saw themselves ruined while DC profited from their character. The destinations that awaited the different interpreters were as follows.

Kirk Alyn: the first, even if we forgot

The first to give life to the Man of Steel was this actor of Hungarian descent who was close to 40 years old. When he was called for the role in the 15-part miniseries Superman (1948), he thought it was a joke, because he believed that there would never be special effects capable of materializing the story. Years later, he repeated in Atom Man vs. Superman (1952), but he refused to resume the character in the subsequent television series and went in search of new pastures. What he found, however, was not too new: completely typecast, Alyn was not considered credible in auditions for other films and spent the rest of his career acting in titles within the coordinates of the world of fantasy and comics, such as the 1952 adaptation of Blackhawk, another DC series. like a wink.

George Reeves: from Scarlet to Lois Lane

If there is someone who represents the so-called curse of Superman and the doom that attracts the heroic alien journalist to his actors, it is George Reeves. Prolific and tireless, at the beginning he had a role in Gone with the Wind (1939), as one of Scarlett O’Hara’s suitors, and also fought in the aviation in World War II. In the early 1950s, following Kirk Alyn’s abandonment, he was raised with the possibility of playing Superman in the then fledgling television industry. Considering the medium a setback in his career, Reeves had doubts, but eventually led the cast in the 104-episode run of The Adventures of Superman, from 1952 to 1958.

It is difficult to separate reality from legend, since Reeves’ link to the sentimental memory of an entire generation, together with the morbidity and mythologizing of his figure, produced all kinds of conjectures about his death in 1959, at the age of 45, Officially considered a suicide. Some witnesses to the filming of the series claimed that Reeves could not stand playing Superman, a fact denied by other of his collaborators. The last girlfriend he had declared that the actor suffered from depression when he felt that his career was sunk. And a rumor of the time said that Reeves had gone mad and, believing himself to be Superman, died trying to fly out of the window, although the body was actually found in his house and with bullet wounds. The contradictions in the investigation fed, on the other hand, theses still held today about a possible accident at the hands of his partner or a murder by the mafia. Ben Affleck, who curiously has played Batman in two films in the DC universe, acted as George Reeves in the biopic Hollywoodland (2006).

Christopher Reeve: Superman, a secas

Reeve was by far the most successful Superman actor after playing the character. With a brief experience in theater and a unique participation in cinema – a supporting role in the disaster film Red Alert: Neptune Sunken (1978) – agent Stark Hesseltine bet big on his choice for the superhero movie that Richard Donner was going to make. lead. And won. At the age of 25, he became a world star and is still the film face most associated with the character, thanks, above all, to the versatility of his composition as Superman and his human alter ego, Clark Kent. Christopher Reeve shot four film installments and, to avoid being pigeonholed, followed the strategy of not choosing more roles in action films,

The actor managed to carve out an interesting, politically active star career with occasional forays into popular cinema, such as John Carpenter’s Town of the Damned (1995), the last film he released before his fatal accident. On May 27, 1995, a bad fall during a horse riding contest severed his spinal cord and left him a quadriplegic. Until his death at age 52 in 2004, he remained in a wheelchair on life support. According to his wife, Dana Reeve, the actor wanted to die when he found out about his condition at the hospital. But, throughout the last decade of his life, the attitude of the Superman star ended up turning him into a symbol of struggle for people in the same situation. Reeve promoted stem cell research,

Dean Cain: he from the telly

It’s normal not to have seen Dean Cain since the last revival of the series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993-1997), but not because the man hasn’t tried. A frustrated aspiring football player, an injury forced him to jump into the world of acting and, after several minor roles, he was cast as Superman in a series that, as the title already announced, focused on the romance between the superhero and Lois Lane, Clark Kent’s partner at The Daily Planet newspaper. Lois was given a face by Teri Hatcher, an actress who enjoyed great fortune afterwards: she was a Bond girl in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), she rose to fame with the series Desperate Housewives (2004-2012) and won a Golden Globe. Meanwhile , Dean Cain has been, according to IMDb,

In addition to accepting almost any role he’s been offered, the actor campaigned for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020. He’s also served on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association since 2018. As a tribute to his past, both he and Teri Hatcher They appeared in chapters of Smallville and also of Supergirl (2015-2017), the series about Superman’s cousin, although in neither case repeating their old roles.

Tom Welling: he otro from the telly

Actor Tom Welling’s fame began in Smallville. I also end there. He came from the world of modeling and, after rising to fame, he automatically became a regular in teen magazines and folders. In the most successful period of the series (the first years of the 10 that its broadcast lasted, between 2001 and 2011), it was a claim for films that sought to attract a young audience, such as the comedy Doce en casa (2003), along with to Hilary Duff, or Terror in the Fog (2005).

Although Smallville received good reviews thanks to the depth with which the mythology of Superman and the DC universe was approached, the audience did not remain stable and the more than eight and a half million viewers that the second season gathered in the United States went to be less than three in the last one. His influence on modern young adult fiction, however, is unavoidable and introduced the general public to narrative aspects previously only known to very fans. And of all this, in hindsight, Welling did not scratch much. His feature films can be counted on the fingers of one hand, while on the small screen his most relevant work was in the third season of the Lucifer series, in 2017. Like Brandon Routh, the actor in Superman Returns.

Brandon Routh: to the eternal promise

Routh’s casting as Superman was significantly shaped by the Christopher Reeve precedent. He kept a very appropriate physical resemblance, since in the movie Superman Returns: The return was intended to establish continuity with the previous saga. In addition, director Bryan Singer wanted, like Reeve, the new actor to also be almost oblivious to the spotlight. With an appearance as an extra in a Christina Aguilera video clip and episodic roles as a meager resume, the young interpreter got the role and signed for three installments. Two never came to fruition.

Brandon Routh’s performance was not what was criticized the most in a film that left income below expectations in that summer of 2006. His tone was not in keeping with the sign of a time when Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy was already It was taking shape, so his footprint was small and Routh was recycled in low-budget films and comedies, among which his parody intervention in Scott Pilgrim Against the World (2010) stood out, as someone who obtained superpowers as a result of his diet. vegan. In 2014, he returned to the world of DC comics in the role of the superhero Atom, within the interrelated television series Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, and reprized the character of Superman in the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, where he embodied to his alternate version of Earth-96. 

Tyler Hoechlin: Superman as you read these lines

It is still early to assess the positive or negative weight that the role of Superman has left in his career, since he still plays it: after signing for Supergirl in 2016, Hoechlin has participated in several series from the same universe and obtained his own spin-off , Superman and Lois, which has been broadcast since 2021 with mostly good reviews. His circumstances are different from those of his predecessors (beyond the fact that, like Dean Cain, he had a sports career marred by injury), since he does have a relatively solid filmography. At 13 years old, he was the boy who accompanied Tom Hanks in the critically acclaimed Road to Perdition (2002). He also acted in four seasons of Seven in Paradise (1996-2007), He played one of the main characters in Teen Wolf (2011-2017) and has been part of the casts of two renowned independent comedies: We All Want Something (2016), by Richard Linklater, and Palm Springs (2020). If no curse gets in the way, his future doesn’t look so black.

Nicolas Cage: an epilogue to all this

His interpretation of the character was limited to a wardrobe fitting, but somehow the failed project Superman Lives has become a kind of lost Arcadia for fans of the superhero, Nicolas Cage and, especially, memes. In 1996, after winning the Oscar for best actor for Leaving Las Vegas (1995), Warner signed Cage as Superman, in a film that would have a script by Kevin Smith and direction by Tim Burton. It is impossible to come close to guessing what would have been the result of such a conjunction of factors, which also included a giant space spider that Superman/Cage was going to face in the final climax, at the request of the film’s producer.

The high budget and poor reception of Batman and Robin (1997) led the studio to think twice about the idea of ​​moving forward with production, which was halted in 1998. It was a dream project for Cage: the actor is passionate about Superman, that he paid a million dollars for an original edition of the first comic and that, in addition, he has a 17-year-old son named Kal-El, the alien name of the superhero. Recently, as a result of the interest in that movie that could not be, a documentary has been produced, The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened? (2015), and there has been speculation about the incorporation of Cage as Superman in one of the current DC film or television universes. Taking into account the sense of humor of James Gunn, manager of the current extended universe and director of The Suicide Squad (2021).

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