The Key Ingredients for an Inspiring Henry Cavill Superman Film

After years of speculation, it’s recently become official: Henry Cavill is back as Superman. Although he’s appeared in three DC Comics films, he’s only ever had one solo film as the character, in 2013’s Man of Steel. But now, Cavill is returning as the Last Son of Krypton—presumably in his own solo film. Who is making that film and when it’s coming out are all still up in the air. But in recent interviews, Cavill has made it very clear what he wants for his iconic character going forward. Speaking to Screen Rant, he had this to say about his hopes for Kal-El:

there is something extraordinarily special about him; extraordinarily special about his capacity to give and to love. I don’t mean romantically; I mean his love for Earth and for the people who live here, and to make people feel powerful, to make people feel like Superman themselves. I have plenty of desires for this, of course, which will be discussed more in time. But the most important thing, which I will be aiming for, is for the audience to leave the cinema and to feel like they can fly, to feel like they can protect, and to feel like they want to give to everyone else. That would be my goal.”

Henry Cavill as Superman in Justice League.
Warner Bros.

All of that is music to our ears. But we have even more suggestions for what we think Henry Cavill’s Superman 2.0 should look like. (Hopefully you’re listening, new DC Studios head James Gunn). Here are the ones currently at the top of our list.

A Bright and Hopeful Tone

Superman saves a suicidal person in All-Star Superman.
DC Comics

This is the most important aspect a new Superman movie has to get right: the tone. We want a bright and hopeful Superman, one that brings out the best in everyone. Someone aspirational, who saves people with a smile on his face, and isn’t sad about who he is. Yes, we want to see him kick ass too (see the following entry), but it’s incredibly important that the Man of Steel is a beacon of hope in a cruel world and not just some demigod to be feared. The people of Metropolis, and the world, should feel safer seeing Superman fly high above them in the sky. And the movie needs to reflect that. Luckily, it seems Henry Cavill agrees.

Brainiac as the Main Villain

Superman faces Brainiac in the modern DC Universe.
DC Comics

Since 1978, there have been six solo Superman movies, and only two comic book villains in them: Lex Luthor and Zod. Now, we know that Superman’s assortment of villains is not as cool as Batman’s, but he does have other decent bad guys—interesting ones like Mongul, Metallo, and Parasite. But his second greatest villain, the alien A.I. called Brainiac, has never been on the big screen before. We think it’s high time he did.

Brainiac,a green-skinned android from the planet Colu, first appeared in the late ’50s. He collected artifacts from various planets, including the shrunken city of Kandor from Krypton. Over the years, he’s become more mechanical and menacing, undergoing many redesigns. Recent comics have made him a bit like the Borg from Star Trek. In some versions, he’s also from Krypton, a surviving A.I. created by Superman’s father, Jor-El. We want to see Cavill’s Superman tear through Brainiac’s robot minions. Because there’s nothing quite as fun as seeing Supes destroy evil robots.

Don’t Forget About Lois

Superman and Lois, art by Gary Frank.
DC Comics

If you have a Superman, you need a Lois Lane. She’s Clark’s soulmate, and the best reporter on the planet. Say whatever you want about Man of Steel, but we loved Amy Adams’ portrayal of Lois Lane, as a forthright reporter who doesn’t get pushed around. We also love that they didn’t waste any time on Lois not knowing Superman’s true identity. She’s too smart for that trope. We’d love Amy Adams to return to the role, but if she doesn’t, then find someone who has that same energy. Also, by the time this film comes out, it will have been long enough since their last appearance in Justice League for Lois and Clark to have gotten married and had a kid. This brings us to our next entry.

The Super-Family

Superman, Lois, and Jonathan Kent.
DC Comics

One of the best aspects of the Superman comics over the past decade is the emergence of the Kent family. By this, we mean Clark, Lois, and their young son Jonathan. Although he’s a teenager in the comics now (and also a Superman), for many years DC published the adventures of Jon as a young kid. There were many great stories of Lois and Clark raising a superpowered son, and they were charming and wholesome. We love the image of young Jon riding in the sky on his dad’s shoulders. The wonderful CW series Superman and Lois covers much of the family aspect (with the added-for-TV twin brother Jordan), but the kids are older in that series. We want to see the early years.

The Fortress of Solitude

Superman's Fortress of Solitude from the 1980s comics.
DC Comics

One of the coolest aspects of Superman’s mythos is his Fortress of Solitude. Kal-El’s home away from home, the ice fortress located at the North Pole is his home for all kinds of Kryptonian technology, and even an alien zoo. It’s like the Batcave, but wondrous and not scary. The original 1978 Superman movie gave us a cool crystalline design, but we want something a little less cold (so to speak)—something like a sci-fi version of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. In Man of Steel, an old Kryptonian ship served as a makeshift Fortress, but for Cavill’s new Superman, we want something a little grander and more in line with the classic comics.

A New and Improved Lex Luthor (But in a Secondary Role)

Lex Luthor in Superman Unchained, art by Jim Lee.
DC Comics

Superman’s arch nemesis Lex Luthor has been in five Superman films. It’s safe to say he’s been overused. But he is Clark’s main bad guy, so he should appear in some capacity, even if it’s as someone pulling the strings from behind the scenes. We think it’s time for a proper Lex on screen. Gene Hackman is great in the original films, but he played it for laughs. And Jesse Eisenberg’s fidgety “Silicon Valley CEO” Lex is maybe one of the weirdest choices they’ve ever made for the character.

We want someone to play Lex with gravitas, someone we believe could actually harm the Man of Steel. Frankly, someone like Clancy Brown in Superman: The Animated Series. If the upcoming The Flash shakes up the DCU timeline as rumored, then simply say in this new universe that Lex’s father never died and is still in control of LexCorp. Just make sure you get the right actor for the gig.

Those are just some of the things we’d like to see in a newly reconfigured Superman for the 2020s. We hadn’t even mentioned Jimmy Olsen, but we want him in the mix too. Whatever happens, we can’t wait to see how it all turns out when Henry Cavill puts on the cape and boots and plays Superman once more.

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