It's no secret that Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment want to emulate the success of their rivals at Marvel Studios. Henry Cavill's Superman films, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Justice League all underperformed. If Ben Affleck is indeed also out as Batman, it gives the studio an epic do-over. They could relaunch Batman and Superman while keeping the other Justice League actors, especially Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Warner Bros. official statement on the Superman matter, "We have a great relationship and great respect for Henry Cavill that continues to remain unchanged. Additionally we have made no current decisions regarding any upcoming Superman films." This could all be conjecture, or just part of Cavill's negotiation strategy for a bigger chunk of Kryptonite.
Let's assume that Henry Cavill is out, and jump headfirst in the online speculation game. Most of the articles postulating a new Superman are ridiculous. As a black critic and journalist, I almost fell off my chair laughing that Michael B. Jordan was being considered for Clark Kent. Let's get back to reality folks. Warner Bros. is going to cast a white actor as Superman. I would absolutely love for Jordan and Idris Elba to be a possibility, but that isn't happening. Warner Bros. wants a guaranteed money maker in their tentpole Superman franchise, not to have equality discussions in Hollywood or fire up the fan base. The new actor will not be expensive. The studio will search for an unknown, or someone relatively famous that can be locked into a long term contract.
Any actor playing Superman has to fit his body type. They must be over six feet tall, have a muscular build, and have the acting chops to portray the gawky Clark Kent alter ego as well. Jon Hamm and Armie Hammer are popular choices. Jon Hamm is too old for the part at forty-seven. Armie Hammer is a good actor who's certainly tall, but just doesn't strike me as Superman. Watch Hammer alongside Cavill in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. for reference. I loved Christopher Reeve and Brandon Routh, but their interpretations of Superman may be outdated. I believe that Warner Bros. will be looking for an edgier, more rugged actor as a reflection of the times. Someone who can kick superhero ass, but is attractive and versatile enough to win over that all important youth demographic. The picks below are not popular choices. They are five talented character actors with the physical and emotional gravitas to portray the greatest hero in the DC Universe.
5 Tom Hopper
Tom Hopper is not a household name, but a well regarded British actor with excellent television credits. I first became familiar with Tom Hopper from his role as William "Billy Bones" Manderly on Black Sails. Anyone who's seen that show knows his character is absolutely shredded, kicks serious ass, and has earnest integrity. Hopper also played the honorable, but doomed Dickon Tarly on HBO's Game of Thrones. He was roasted to cinders by Daenerys Targaryen last season. Hopper would be excellent as Clark Kent and Superman.
4 Boyd Holbrook
Boyd Holbrook is the star of The Predator. He is probably most famous for the Netflix series Narcos. Holbrook is known for playing dark and sinister characters, but has significant acting range. He has had memorable roles in Beyond the Candelabra, Hatfields & McCoys, and Milk. Holbrook may seem like an odd choice, but can play tough and sentimental.
3 Garrett Hedlund
Garrett Hedlund's feature film debut was opposite Brad Pitt in Troy. He has the physique to star in a swords and sandals epic, but guided his career with more interesting choices. From Friday Night Lights to last year's riveting Mudbound, Hedlund is a serious actor that can carry a big budget film. Tron Legacy was mediocre at best, but Garrett Hedlund proved he had the starpower for an effects extravaganza. Hedlund would bring real depth to Superman.
2 Jamie Dornan
Jamie Dornan is the star of the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise. Don't hold that against him, although Warner Bros. would be ecstatic to have the new Superman draw a mammoth female audience. Dornan is extremely talented and versatile. He was amazing as the serial killer Paul Spector in the BBC crime drama The Fall. I also loved Dornan in the gripping World War II thriller Anthropoid, about the Czech exiles that killed the evil Nazi Reinhard Heydrich. Dornan stands exactly six feet tall, and would have to bulk up, but would be fantastic as Superman/Clark Kent.
1 Adam Driver
Wait a second...what...Kylo Ren as Superman? Yes, Adam Driver would be tremendous as Superman, and add a completely believable dimension to Clark Kent. Follow this logic. Once upon a time, Nicolas Cage was going to be a very different Superman. Warner Bros. should think out of the box and choose an actor with that kind of presence. Adam Driver may not be as classically handsome as previous Superman actors, but he is absolutely magnetic on screen. Driver has the height, build, and toughness to convincingly portray the Man of Steel. But imagine him as Clark Kent, tall, gangly, and stringy haired with glasses. Slick the hair back, clean shaven, sans spectacles, his facial features would be strikingly different as Superman. Driver continually surprises as an actor. He can easily play a hipster on Girls, an undercover detective in Black Klansman, and unstable, lightsaber wielding badass in Star Wars. Adam Driver would be a revolutionary choice as Superman.