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This Week's Cover: The new 'Superman' speaks! An exclusive interview with Henry Cavill. PLUS: Previewing Hollywood's new crop of superhero franchises

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feb252011_1143For fans of superhero movies, the next two years could bring the biggest and broadest array of films the genre has ever produced – and hopefully the very best, as well. Call it The Spandex Singularity – an unprecedented concentration of super-star superhero properties, resulting from the intensifying geek takeover of pop culture. This year gives Fox’s X-Men: First Class, a reboot (in prequel form) of the franchise that helped launch the modern era of superhero cinema back in 2000. Then come three new properties that will try to expand the category’s horizons: Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, both from Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures, and Warner Bros.’ Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds. Next year: The heavyweights. The Wolverine. The Amazing Spider-Man. The Avengers. The Dark Knight Rises. And then, capping the year, an as-yet-untitled movie that will try to restore the king of all the superheroes to his pop glory: Superman.

The new issue of Entertainment Weekly previews the onslaught of box office super-friends about to descend upon us – and it also brings you the first interview with British actor Henry Cavill (The Tudors) since director Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) and producer Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) tapped him to become Hollywood’s newest Man of Steel. Among the topics of discussion: Cavill’s audition, which included shooting a screen test wearing a replica of Christopher Reeve’s once impressive, now dated Superman suit. “If you can put on that suit and pull it off,” says Snyder, ‘that’s an awesome achievement.” Cavill was feeling less than super in the moment, at least about his ability to fill out the costume: He had just finished shooting a film with Bruce Willis called The Cold Light Of Day, and the part required to him to shed the impressive abs of steel and muscle tone he had put on for the movie he made right before that, the forthcoming mythic fantasy Immortals. As an assistant helped to him put on the Super-suit, Cavill recalls: “All I could think was: Oh, god. They’re going to look at me and go ‘He’s not Superman. Not a chance.’ The actor inside me was going: You’re not ready! You’re not ready!” Snyder saw something – or rather someone – different. “He walked out, and no one laughed,” says the director. “Other actors put that suit on, and it’s a joke, even if they’re great actors. Henry put it on, and he exuded this kind of crazy-calm confidence that just made me go ‘Wow.’ Okay: This was Superman.’”

You can find out more about the new Superman movie and its star – and get scoop on the slew of upcoming superhero movies – in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on sale now.

Originally posted February 17 2011 — 9:31 AM EST

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