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Film & TV

Who could be the next Superman?

Ryan Gosling? Michael B. Jordan? A complete unknown? Who should become the new Clark Kent?

It’s no secret now, whether by design or fault, that Henry Cavill as Superman is no more. Either way, the DCEU now finds itself at a crucial intersection where it may be forced to recast two of its most important characters if Ben Affleck follows Cavill to the exit. As is to be expected, the rumours about who and who are not interested in the roles are beginning to gain serious traction. A few interesting (and absurd) candidates have emerged and whether they are legitimate or completely fabricated, we’ll be analysing some of the potential Supermen (Supermans?) in waiting.

Armie Hammer
Hammer has quietly become one of the most sought after stars in Hollywood, thanks not only to his  nostalgic, Golden age Hollywood good looks and muscular frame, but his range. Hammer has excelled in mainstream cinema (The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Lone Ranger) and done even better with meatier, more artistic roles (The Social Network, Free Fire, Call Me by Your Name). Hammer effectively offers the same cosmetic weight as Cavill but is a far superior actor. Nabbing him would be a coup for DC. Funnily enough, Hammer was originally cast in George Miller’s abandoned 2009 Justice League film. Unfortunately for DC, Hammer has drifted more and more away from mainstream cinema as the years have passed. He would be difficult to tie to a superhero franchise with his ambitions.
Fit for the role: 8/10
Likelihood: 4/10

Michael B. Jordan
Jordan has quickly emerged as one of DC’s first choices to replace Cavill as Superman and it’s easy to understand considering his résumé. At just 31, Jordan is already a veteran of the comic book/superhero world, with roles in Fantastic Four, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, and of course as his scene-stealing performance as Black Panther antagonist Eric Killmonger. There was also 2012’s Chronicle where he played a teen who gains telekinetic powers. Jordan has been tipped for an Oscar nomination for his performance in Black Panther and he has shown his talent elsewhere in the acclaimed Fruitvale Station, Creed, and in his supporting role on The Wire. But like Hammer, Jordan is an actor who seeks diversity in his roles and would also be hard to acquire for the role.
Fit for the role: 8/10
Likelihood: 6/10

Glen Powell
Like Armie Hammer, Glen Powell falls into the category of the chiselled, All-American style Superman candidate. However, if the lesser-known Powell was to become the new Clark Kent, his relative anonymity would take a lot of pressure off of the project. Powell has had a breakthrough couple of years, starring in Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!, Best Picture nominee Hidden Figures, and the popular Netflix comedy Set It Up. He’s also landed himself a role in the upcoming Top Gun sequel. All of these roles have shown Powell to be a mischievous, but charismatic actor which would be a break from Cavill’s often one-dimensional Superman. Knowing Powell’s approach this could work; he could easily twist that charisma into the pure-heartedness associated with Superman.
Fit for the role: 7/10
Likelihood: 5/10

Henry Golding
Star of Crazy, Rich Asians and A Simple Favor, Golding’s sudden rise to prominence has quickly made him an actor in high-demand and one linked with the vacant Superman role. There’s a very organic confidence to Golding’s approach, which perhaps stems from his lack of acting experience. Still, Golding’s relative greenness could work in his favour. As a fresh, uncultivated talent, he possesses a natural legitimacy which would provide the foundations for a great portrayal of Clark Kent. Golding is not as traditionally masculine as some of the early frontrunners for the role and he is severely lacking in depth of experience which could play against him. However, as Hollywood looks to diversify and with DC looking to change direction, the British-Asian actor could find himself being tapped up for the role.
Fit for the role: 6/10
Likelihood: 5/10

Ryan Gosling
As one of Hollywood’s most popular and bankable stars, and one of its biggest heartthrobs, Ryan Gosling was bound to be linked to Superman at some point. Gosling is one of the coolest characters out there and as he has shown in Drive and Only God Forgives, he can do a lot with minimal lines. Like Powell, Gosling’s roles often possess a wry twist but there’s also an inherent wholesomeness which would align him well with Superman. This relatable quality also favours Gosling; at the end of the day, the ability to be able to relate to our superheroes is an unsung quality that not many actors can pull off. However, as popular as Gosling is, he rarely opts for roles that are strictly mainstream orientated – you have to go all the way back to 2011’s Crazy, Stupid, Love to find a Gosling role that doesn’t have a touch of art house to it. Also, Gosling is on a hot streak and he is one of the few A-list stars without a superhero film or a franchise to his name – which doesn’t happen by accident. Why would he change that for the notoriously inconsistent DC?
Fit for the role: 8/10
Likelihood: 1/10

Jon Hamm
Hamm has already shown interest in the role of Batman which could soon be vacated by Ben Affleck. But with his versatility, and not mention a strong jawline and good physical build, perhaps Jon Hamm would be better suited to Superman. Hamm has stated previously that he has been an avid comic book fan since the age of seven and this would arguably give him an advantage over other candidates. A good knowledge of the role and universe and a passion for the project would stand Hamm in a good position to execute the role with poise. Post Mad Men, Hamm has also diversified his roles and featured in a number of well loved and acclaimed films such as Tag, Baby Driver, Beirut, and Bad Times at the El Royale. Hamm has shown his dark side with aplomb but his knack for comedy could also serve him well should he become Superman. But with Hamm showing a strong interest in Batman already, he may have ruled himself out of the Superman race before the rumour mill has even started to spin.
Fit for the role: 8/10
Likelihood: 4/10