1. Jesse Eisenberg will play Lex Luthor, Superman’s classic arch-enemy, in the new, untitled Superman-Batman movie, Warner Bros. announced on Friday.
If Eisenberg seems surprisingly young for the role, he is the same age — 30 — as the actor playing Superman, Henry Cavill. And Eisenberg certainly knows from playing a genius billionaire prodigy who finds himself at odds against a taller, more classically handsome adversary, having earned an Oscar nomination for playing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2010’s The Social Network.
In the studio’s announcement, director Zack Snyder called Lex Luthor “a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman.” Snyder indicated that by casting Eisenberg, he plans to take the character “in some new and unexpected directions.”
2. Although Lex Luthor did not appear and was never mentioned in 2013’s Man of Steel, Luthor’s company, LexCorp, did make a brief cameo in the film.
LexCorp. has traditionally been a global conglomerate in the many different iterations of Superman in popular culture, and if that remains the case in the sequel, it suggests that Eisenberg’s 30-year-old Lex Luthor did not build the company on his own. Perhaps he inherited it from his father, Lionel Luthor, a character first introduced in the 2001–2011 TV series Smallville?
4. Actor Jeremy Irons, meanwhile, will play Alfred, the loyal butler to Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Batman (Ben Affleck).
Irons won an Oscar for 1990’s Reversal of Fortune and should bring the kind of deep reserves of knowledge and forbearance we’ve come to expect in the role, most recently played by Michael Caine in the Dark Knight trilogy.
Warner Bros. recently pushed the release date for the Superman/Batman film — which will also feature Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince — from July 17, 2015, to May 6, 2016, so Snyder and his team could “realize fully their vision, given the complex visual nature of the story.”