There have been a lot of names bandied about, but this is one we weren't expecting: The Social Network's Jesse Eisenberg will play Lex Luthor in the upcoming sequel to Man of Steel. Deadline has the full press release from Warner Bros., which reveals that Eisenberg will play the iconic villain while none other than Jeremy Irons will be taking on the role of Bruce Wayne's trusty butler, Alfred.
It's most certainly a younger take on Luthor than we've seen on the big screen before. Gene Hackman played him in the original Superman films, while Kevin Spacey donned the bald cap in Superman Returns. That said, that's not necessarily a bad thing; audiences are probably most familiar with Eisenberg from his excellent turn as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, a role that showed he certainly has the skills to portray the mix of megalomania and emotional damage that could serve Luthor well. As for Irons, he's been impressing audiences for decades in everything from Dead Ringers to The Lion King, and while at first blush he has a more sinister air about him than Michael Caine, he certainly has the gravitas to play the role.
Between these latest announcements, the inclusion of Wonder Woman, and the casting of Ben Affleck, one thing is for certain: Zack Snyder is intent on creating his own version of the DC universe, no matter how it may upend fan or audience expectations. We'll have to wait until the film opens on May 6, 2016 to see if he's able to bring all the pieces together.