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Every Major Actor That's Staying and Leaving The DCEU (So Far)


Find out if your favorite DC actor is leaving or staying in the DC Extended Universe of movies. Back in 2013 Man of Steel Warner Bros envisioned a large group of movies based around the DC comic book characters. They saw the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and figured they could emulate it. Considering some of the most popular movies in the superhero world are DC - think The Dark Knight, Superman, and Batman - it seemed like a safe bet.

Unfortunately, the movies were savaged by critics and audiences. The films underperformed at the box office. After the ensemble film, Justice League didn't bring in the money they were hoping for they decided to revamp the whole thing.

So it's left fans wondering who's coming back to the DCEU? Who's left? Read our brief guide to find out.

1. Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne / Batman


Status: Leaving
First Appearance: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

There have been years of speculation that Ben Affleck wanted to stop playing Batman. These started ever since the critical disappointment of Batman v Superman. Reportedly he's still sensitive about the critical failure of Daredevil and was hoping Batman would give him the successful superhero persona he dreamed of.

While critics and fans have praised his performance that hasn't translated into box office success. Affleck has denied it again and again. But an article in The Wrap speculated that the cost of insuring the actor is getting high thanks to his alcoholism.
The actor, a recovering alcoholic who checked himself into rehab last week for the third time in the last two decades and the second time in just over a year, may have priced himself out of a pricey tentpole studio movie like Warner Bros.’ upcoming “The Batman.”
More recently an article in Variety reported that Warner Bros is done with both Cavill and Affleck. "Following the box office disappointment of Justice League, Warner Bros. has been reevaluating its approach to making movies based on DC Comics characters," Variety says. "The studio is not moving forward with Batman and Superman movies featuring Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, respectively. It is expected to recast the Dark Knight with a different actor."

So it sounds like Cavill and Affleck are both out as the caped crusaders.

2. Henry Cavill as Clark Kent / Superman


Status: Leaving
First Appearance: Man of Steel (2013)

Henry Cavill first plays Clark Kent aka Superman in Man of Steel. It’s the movie that started the DC movie universe. Since the beginning it was promised there would be another solo movie but the Superman sequel was retooled into the box office bomb “Batman v Superman”. Then came Justice League which did nothing to help.

According to Hollywood Reporter Cavill originally signed a four-picture contract and has filmed three movies. The studio wanted him to do a Shazam cameo off-contract and then appear in a future DC film. But negotiations broke down. Cavill reportedly didn't like that idea and wanted to use the Shazam cameo to fulfill his contract and sign a new contract for future movies.

Rumors swirled that Cavill is walking away. While Cavill's agent has denied it and Warner Bros says it's made-up the actor himself hasn't confirmed or denied it. He merely posted a strange video on Instagram of him holding up a Superman action figure.

So it hasn't been confirmed that he's coming back. But with no new Superman movies in the pipeline, who knows? But he's not under contract anymore so he's out.

3. Gal Gadot as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman


Status: Staying
First Appearance: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Gal Gadot was hailed by critics as one of the few bright spots in Batman v Superman and frankly, I agree. She didn't have much to do but Gadot shone through as a welcome addition.

So it's no wonder they fast-tracked the solo movie. That movie, directed by Patty Jenkins is Warner Bros first (and only) successful movie in the franchise and the second movie is coming next year. Even the actress admits her first appearance is a misstep, but she's excited about the future.

The Hollywood Reporter and other sources confirmed she signed a three-picture deal for Batman v Superman meaning that she's already completed that after Justice League and Wonder Woman. She signed a new contract to make the sequel Wonder Woman: 1984, but we don't know anything about it.

But make no mistake, Wonder Woman is carrying the brand right now and she's not going anywhere.

4. Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry / Aquaman


Status: Staying
First Appearance: Justice League (2017)

Justice League didn't hit many high notes for critics but almost all of them praised Aquaman. Jason Momoa's charisma and infectious energy always shines through.

Back in 2014, he signed a four-picture deal with Warner Bros. He's fulfilled two of those already with the solo Aquaman being his third. That leaves the way open for a sequel which is already being discussed. Momoa told TotalFilm he already has plans. “I definitely have an opinion,” the star said according to SyFy Wire. “Even when we were shooting Aquaman, I have the opening of Aquaman 2 ready. I went in and pitched it to [producer Peter] Safran, and I pitched it to [Warner Bros. chairman] Toby Emmerich. They loved it. It’s awesome...But yeah, I have plans for Aquaman 2."

He's excited about the role and it looks like he's on his way to another blockbuster. So Momoa's sticking around.

5. Ezra Miller as Barry Allen / Flash


Status: Staying
First Appearance: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

It's been a rough time for Ezra Miller. He was excited about Justice League and they began production on the solo Flash movie at the same time. Then JL bombed. After that production stopped and Warner Bros decided to retool the movie. Recently they've announced the movie is being delayed to 2021.

The movie has had a string of high-profile directors and writers come and go. That includes director Seth Grahame-Smith, Rick Famuyiwa, and directing team John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein which further delayed the movie's production. Each clashed with Miller's insistence on a "darker" version of the film. IT director Andy Muschietti is now attached to direct. The script is now being reworked by Bumblebee and Birds of Prey writer Christina Hodson at the insistence of Ezra Miller.

While the movie-formerly-known-as-Flashpoint is languishing in "Development Hell" he still insists it's happening. Recently he told a Korean outlet W Korea it's "absolutely confirmed" the movie will happen.

6. Ray Fisher as Victor Stone / Cyborg


Status: Leaving
First Appearance: Justice League (2017)

When Warner Bros originally announced they're slate of DC movies Cyborg's solo movie was given a scheduled date of April 3, 2020. Director Zack Snyder was enthusiastic about the character and described him as "the heart" of the Justice League. Then the movie bombed.

There were rumors that Ray Fisher wanted to quit after Justice League. First, it's said he was upset they cut most of his scenes in favor of more action. His character was left on the cutting room floor. Second, the long-promised solo movie has been taken off the schedule. So far Fisher is still interested in playing and the studio is still interested in the character.

Unfortunately, Fisher's contract expired in May 2019. So the studio will need to sign Ray Fisher up with a new contract. Miller's contract expired at the same time but he's still pushing for the movie's development. But considering the lack of interest in the character, it's not likely to happen.

7. Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth


Status: Staying
First Appearance: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Jeremy Irons played Bruce Wayne's butler Alred Pennyworth in Batman v Superman. He' also popped up in Justice League. There's no word that he's going to show up in any other DC movies.

Irons talked about playing him in the next solo Batman movies. But the solo movie is reportedly a prequel so it's unlikely he'll return. No one's talking about him quitting, so he's still in the role. Unless they recast him. I dunno.

But he's moved on to other comic book roles. He's rumored to be playing Ozymandias in the HBO Watchmen series.

8. Laurence Fishburne as Perry White


Status: Leaving
First Appearance: Man of Steel (2013)

Laurence Fishburne became the first black man to play the role of the Daily Planet editor Perry White. He first appeared in the solo Superman movie. He came back to reprise the role for Batman v Superman.

Fishburne didn't come back for Justice League and says he thinks he's done with the role. “I don't think I’m still on call," He told Den of Geek. "I was, unfortunately, unable to go do some work on what turned out to be the Justice League movie. I don’t know that I need to go back or if they’ll have me back or not, but I was grateful to have been a part of it."

Since then he's moved to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and starred in Ant-Man and the Wasp as Bill Foster aka Goliath.

9. Diane Lane as Martha "Ma" Kent


Status: Staying
First Appearance: Man of Steel (2013)

Diane Lane first appeared as Clark Kent's mother in Man of Steel. The 53-year old actor was praised for her warmth and grace. Lane came back for Batman v Superman and Justice League. She sparked a heated debate when she was asked if Justice League would be better than Avengers. She "no" and was right. But at the time it felt like she was betraying the franchise so she quickly walked her comments back.

That said there's nothing to suggest she won't be back to reprise the role. There just aren't many movies where they would ask her to appear. But she's still on for now.

She's a great actress Warner Bros! Don't let her go! "Save...Martha!"

10. Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor


Status: Leaving
First Appearance: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Eisenberg's manic performance as the genius supervillain Lex Luthor is either the best or worst part of Batman v Superman. After the movie opened there were rumors he would be replaced. But he returned to the role in a cameo for Justice League. The ending teased a return for Lex Luthor in Justice League 2. But now that's not happening.

He's said he wants to come back but it's "off the table". "Do I have anything left on the table?" He told the Happy Sad Confused podcast. "No, never. No. But I loved it. I mean, I loved every moment of it. It was great. I would not have thought of myself for it. So, to me, it was all, like, house money I would call it."

It remains to be seen if Warner Bros feels the same way. But for now, he's out too.

11. Jared Leto as Joker


Status: Leaving
First Appearance: Suicide Squad (2016)

Jared Leto's behind-the-scenes antics made headlines as he sent castmates everything from condoms to dead rats. But his on-screen performance was reviled by fans. Even the director apologized for the "damaged" tattoo on his forehead. But Leto is down to come back. "I would definitely play the Joker again," Leto told Variety. "It all depends on the script and the circumstances as it always does."

The studio hasn't said if he's coming back or not. But the Harley Quinn team film Birds of Prey, which was rumored to have a Joker cameo, doesn't include him. In fact, the whole point of the movie is she's left the Joker and gone out on his own.  Plus, the new solo Joker movie stars Joaquin Phoenix. So the studio has other plans for Joker.

12. Margot Robbie as Dr. Harleen Quinzel / Harley Quinn


Status: Staying
First Appearance: Suicide Squad (2016)

While critics slammed Suicide Squad they heaped praise on Margot Robbie as the manic pixie Harley Quinn. Warner Bros is impressed too and green-lit three movies with her reprising her role as Harlinn Quinzel. So you know they're all-in on Harley Quinn.

She now has a new movie Birds of Prey movie (also known as Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) starring Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, and Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain. It comes out Feb. 7, 2020, next year and if it does well is going to lead to a bunch more movies.

13. Chris Pine as Steve Trevor


Status: Staying
First Appearance: Wonder Woman (2017)

Wonder Woman's long-time love interest Steve Trevor first appeared in the period WWII film Wonder Woman. Amazingly Chris Pine is reprising his role again in the upcoming sequel Wonder Woman 1984.

It's amazing for two reasons. One, he (Spoiler Alert) died in the first movie. Second, the sequel is set in the 1980s. So that's decades after the first movie.

It's possible Steve Trevor is actually dead and this is his son or another relative. But he could also be a ghost. I listed a bunch of reasons Steve Trevor could still be alive. Either way, Chris Pine is still around for future DCEU films.

14. Will Smith as Floyd Lawton / Deadshot


Status: Staying
First Appearance: Suicide Squad (2016)

Will Smith plays Floyd Lawton aka Deadshot in Suicide Squad. He has a starring role but was overshadowed by Robbie and Leto. Since James Gunn took over as director there's been a question if any of the original cast is coming back.

But Smith says he's interested in coming back. He recently talked to a fan saying “I hope so, I love playing Deadshot. I’m really enjoying that character. They’ve been talking about it. If a good idea comes around… we’ve been having meetings but I would love to. I love Deadshot."

When James Gunn started working on the reboot film they left the role of Deadshot uncast to allow him to come back.

15. Jai Courtney as George "Digger" Harkness / Captain Boomerang


Status: Staying
First Appearance: Suicide Squad (2016)

Captain Boomerang made his first appearance in Suicide Squad as the boomerang-throwing mercenary Digger Harkness a.k.a Captain Boomerang. Since then DC and Warner Bros have been tight-lipped about the return of the cast. James Gunn has been hired to write, and possibly, direct the sequel and has been given permission to reboot the series.

Does that mean Courtney is coming back? Back in 2016, he admitted he didn't even know about his future as the master of boomerangs. "Listen, they keep their cards very close to their chest," he told We Got This Covered. "I actually have no idea, I pray the answer is yes. I certainly don't feel like I'm done with that character. I had a lot of fun playing him, and I don't feel like anyone is done with that franchise, certainly not yet. So, I hope so, sooner or later. The studio is very busy at the moment, director David Ayer is directing something else at the moment, but I'm sure they have plans, just none that they've shared with me."

Recently James Gunn confirmed that Courtney is back as Captain Boomerang.

16. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Waylon Jones / Killer Croc:


Status: Leaving
First Appearance: Suicide Squad (2016)

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje plays the cannibalistic reptilian killer-turned-superhero Killer Croc. Akinnuoye-Agbaje described Killer Croc as "a cannibal with rage issues". He endured hours of heavy makeup and brutal fighting scenes underwater.

While he didn't have much to do in the last movie he's a talented actor. James Gunn confirmed he's not returning as Killer Croc for the reboot/sequel The Suicide Squad. So he's out.

17. Karen Fukuhara as Tatsu Yamashiro / Katana


Status: Leaving
First Appearance: Suicide Squad (2016)

Karen Fukuhara starred as Rick Flagg's Japanese bodyguard in Suicide Squad. She was a fledgling actor and was really excited for the role.

"It just blows me away," Fukuhara told Comicbook. "It's absolutely amazing how I went from a struggling actor [she said with a laugh] to this! It blows my mind because there was a humongous fanbase in the DC world even before we started filming. Now that the PR is picking up, really picking up, with facebook stickers and all the trailers coming out… It's amazing! It's so touching to hear from my friends back home, and even friends from abroad in Taiwan and Japan, sending me pictures of billboards of Suicide Squad. It's an international thing; I can go anywhere and there's something representing it, and I love it."

Unfortunately, it looks like DC is headed in a new direction and she's not going to be in the new "rebooted" Suicide Squad movie.

18. Viola Davis as Amanda Waller


Status: Staying
First Appearance: Suicide Squad (2016)

Viola Davis played Amanda Waller in the first Suicide Squad movie. She's a government agent and the current director of A.R.G.U.S. Waller also conceived and managed the "Suicide Squad" program. Davis threw herself into the role and says she's "fascinated" by the character.

There was speculation that she was reprising her role in James Gunn's movie and it was confirmed. She's coming back and bringing her friends.


19. Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flagg


Kinnaman plays Rick Flagg the leader of Task Force X. Colonel Richard "Rick" Flag Jr. is a special operations forces specialist. He was brought in by Amanda Waller to lead the "Suicide Squad" team.

There were a ton of rumors that he was coming back for James Gunn's soft reboot of Suicide Squad and I ran down the rumors in this post about the Suicide Squad 2 cast. But he's reprising the role and looking to take some names.

20. Amy Adams as Lois Lane


Status: Staying
First Appearance: Man of Steel (2013)
Amy Adams plays ace reporter and girlfriend of Superman in Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Justice League.

Even though she had a prominent role in the movies she wasn't satisfied with the role. "Well I always like when you put more Lois in just selfishly," she said. "I think she had a really great storyline, but I get it; you’re dealing with run-time and theaters and all that, so I never take it personally. Lois has such a wonderful sort of history of being active. So, I like it when we get to see that."

Recently she told Aquaman star Nicole Kidman she's done playing Lois Lane. "I think I’m out of the DC Universe now," She told Fox 5. "I think they’re revamping that. I don’t know the details." This makes sense since there are rumors Warner Bros is restricting the movies and there are no plans for an upcoming Superman movie.

But then she reversed herself. "You know what's funny? I actually don't know. I haven't had any official conversation with anybody,” Adams told Den of Geek. "I was just talking with Nicole Kidman about it, and I was like, 'Oh, I guess I've got to be careful what I say!' But yeah, I haven't had any word officially."

So she's still in the DCEU. Maybe they'll recast Superman and keep her around.

21. J. K. Simmons as James Gordon


Status: Staying
First Appearance: Justice League (2017)
Oscar-winning actor J.K. Simmons plays Gotham City police commissioner James "Jim" Gordon. He shows up for the first time in Justice League. While the 61-year-old actor didn't have any fight scenes or take his shirt off he got jacked for the role. If there's ever a contest for the most beefcake Jim Gordon he's going to win.


There were originally plans for him to appear in more movies. But with Justice League 2 on indefinite hold and Ben Affleck out, there's no telling if or when he's coming back. But the actor is still under contract and down for the role as of 2018.

"I wish I had something to offer, although, if I actually did know more than I do, they probably would shoot me if I told you." The actor told Entertainment Weekly. "I know nothing. I know that I signed up to do three movies, potentially, and I hope there are gonna be two more. It has been in and around and through, whether it be Batman or Justice League or another Suicide Squad, or where Commissioner Gordon might end up appearing again, I'm open to it. I'm not sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring in the meantime, but I hope there's more of that in the future."


22. Amber Heard as Mera


Status: Staying
First Appearance: Aquaman (2018)
Aquaman is coming back for a sequel and he's bringing some friends and enemies. Amber Heard played Y'Mera Xebella Challa, otherwise known as Mera. She's the daughter of King Nereus (Dolph Lundgren) and a Xebellian princess. She became an ally of Aquaman and the two fell in love.

Aquaman 2 has been confirmed for a sequel and she's expected to join him. Unfortunately her ex-husband Johnny Depp has accused her of spousal abuse and there's a rumor that Warner Bros is thinking of ditching her. So we'll see what happens.

23. Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko


Status: Staying
First Appearance: Aquaman (2018)
Willem Dafoe plays chief counselor to the throne of Atlantis Nuidis Vulko. He's also the secret mentor to Aquaman and taught him how to use his trident.

He didn't die in Aquaman. So presumably Dafoe will reprise his role for the sequel. Considering Curry is the newly installed King of Atlantis he's going to need help from the long-time advisor to the king.


24. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as David Kane / Black Manta


Status: Staying
First Appearance: Aquaman (2018)
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II plays David Kane / Black Manta in the first Aquaman movie. He's a pirate who has a run-in with Curry. After his father dies during the battle he swears revenge. The pirate builds a suit of armor out of Atlantean tech and goes after him. While it looks like he died fighting the King of the Seven Seas a post-credits scene shows him alive.

Recently Abdul-Mateen did an interview and talked about his role in the sequel. "Aquaman 2 is happening!" he told Uproxx. "It is happening, and we can look for that, I believe, in 2022. So I'm excited to be part of that. Black Manta will be back, and hopefully, he'll be causing a lot more trouble than he did in the first one."

Harry Lennix as General Calvin Swanwick


Status: Leaving
First Appearance: Man of Steel (2013)

Harry Joseph Lennix III played Calvin Swanwick in the films Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

We don't know his contract but Henry Cavill's contract was for four movies and needed to be renewed in 2018. It’s hard to imagine Lennix' contract is better than the main star of the film. Although there were plans for Swanwick to be revealed as J'onn J'onzz aka Martian Manhunter in Justice League it’s unclear if he'll return to reprise the role

From Batman to Lois Lane there are amazing actors in the DCEU. Some will return to shine while others have moved on. But with hit films like Wonder Woman and Aquaman, the future of the DCEU is looking brighter than ever.

Which is your favorite actor from the DCEU? Who do you hope is replaced?

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