I feel bad for Jake Gyllenhaal. He's been up for practically every major superhero on the block. He was this close to replacing Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 2, he was a contender for Superman doing the McG/Ratner days, and he was runner-up for Nolan's Batman.
You forgot to mention that he replaced Vincent Chase in Aquaman 2.
Don't feel too bad for him. Nicholas Cage was linked with Iron Man, then Superman, then The Green Goblin, before finally getting to play Ghost Rider. So maybe Jake will get his comic character soon. Besides, if not, he has Prince of Persia to fall back on - not a comic character but a franchise nonetheless.
I still think if Nolan and whoever is chosen as director decides to replace Brandon Routh, they should still stick with an unknown.
Agreed. I like Jake but I just don't see him as Superman. I can't think of a name actor who could play The Man of Steel, with the possible exception of Jon Hamm and/ or David Boreanaz, both of whom are probably too old (if they qualify as 'name actors', of course) for the studio's liking.
Then-unkowns Chris Reeve, Hugh Jackman and Routh were much better fits than the likes of Ben Affleck for Daredevil or George Clooney for Batman. Tobey Maguire and Christian Bale were great fits for Spidey Mr Bats, but they weren't really that well known when cast. Robert Downey jr is superb as Iron Man but I don't think IM had quite the iconic status that Supes has. RDJ is not a total match for the character, either physically or personality wise but he's such a great actor that he can overcome that and effectively improve Stark from the comics, by instilling him with his own personality.
I don't think it's possible to do that with Superman, certainly I can't think of an actor who could do it. Whoever plays him needs to be Superman first and Joe Actor second - you can't just have Tom Cruise/ Will Smith/ Brad Pitt/ Johnny Depp in a Superman suit.
Obvious thing to do - get Routh back.