Director Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice – the upcoming superhero tentpole that will kick the DC Cinematic Universe up a notch – will arrive in theaters exactly one year from today. So, what better way to celebrate the occasion than with the first official look at Jesse Eisenberg in character as criminal mastermind (and billionaire) Lex Luthor from the film?
So far, a lot of the discussion surrounding Eisenberg’s take on the iconic comic book villain has concerned… well, whether or not he will have hair, at least when he first shows up in the DCCU. We can now say with certainty that the Oscar nominated Social Network star WILL be sporting a chrome dome in Batman V Superman and future DC comic adaptations (see the image below). So, let’s shift attention to more interesting questions, like: how will this version of Luthor compare to previous iterations?
Snyder offered the following tease of Eisenberg’s Luthor to EW, to go along with the first official image of the actor in character:
“He’s not any of the Lexes that you’ve seen, that’s for sure, other than him being a captain of industry and one person to the world and another person to himself. And bald, of course. Our Lex is disarming and he’s not fake. He says what he believes and he says what’s on his mind. If you can unravel the string and decipher what he means, it’s all there.”
For comparison’s sake, here’s what Snyder said about the Eisenberg Lex Luthor, back when the casting news was officially announced:
“Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940. What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain. He’s 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. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.”
Snyder’s comments, both past and more recent, gel with what most people have suspected since Eisenberg was cast: that his rendition of Lex Luthor will update the character so that he’s more of an evil billionaire for the age of Facebook. That is opposed to the sort of megalomaniacs portrayed by Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey in previous live-action cinematic versions of the character (to mention nothing of Michael Rosenbaum’s Lex Luthor on Smallville).
Rumors persist that Luthor is going to make an appearance in Suicide Squad – David Ayer’s DC supervillain team adventure opening in theaters just over four months after Batman V Superman. Or, failing that, he might heavily influence the events that transpire in Ayer’s DC comic book film, through the repercussions of Luthor’s actions in Snyder’s next movie. He could even end up being the puppet master behind the stage, pulling the strings on world-threatening events that are certain to unfold in Snyder’s two-part Justice League saga.
Eisenberg’s previous comments about what attracted him to the role of Luthor in the first place (that he feels this version of the villain is a compelling character on his own terms) bode well for his appearance in Batman V Superman, if nothing else. We’ll see if most everyone else shares his feelings on the matter, once they’ve seen the movie – again, in a year (or so) from now.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will be in theaters on March 25th, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman – June 23rd, 2017; Justice League – November 17th, 2017; The Flash – March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman – July 27th, 2018; Shazam – April 5th, 2019; Justice League 2 – June 14th, 2019; Cyborg – April 3rd, 2020; Green Lantern – June 19th, 2020.