While it’s still a year and a half away, with some much bigger superhero movies to come before it, interest in Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot Man of Steel is starting to rise – and that of course brings, rumors, rumors and more rumors.

Today’s big rumor concerns an aspect of Man of Steel that has by and large slipped under the radar: the presence (or lack thereof) of Lex Luthor. But if rumor has it right, a certain famous face could be taking up the Luthor mantle.

Cosmic Book News is reporting that Hangover star Bradley Cooper will be appearing as Luthor in Man of Steel. That’s appearing, not being featured as the main antagonist – a job that’s been handed to Boardwalk Empire actor Michael Shannon, who will portray Superman’s equally-powered foe, General Zod.

This RUMOR comes totally unsubstantiated and unverified, from sources unknown, so let’s not be too quick to jump up and believe it. However, the source does claim that Cooper’s involvement is a recent development (hence why he hasn’t appeared in any set photos yet), as his schedule suddenly had an opening due to the stalled production on the Paradise Lost adaptation, in which Cooper was set to star as Lucifer. So could the actor truly be going from Lucifer to Luthor?

At first glance, the smart money would be on “no.” A part like Lex Luthor in a new Superman movie franchise would be a multi-film contract commitment – even if the part were a small 0ne in this initial film. With the way that Cooper has been packing his schedule in the last year or so, we’d almost certainly know if the actor were signing on for something this big and time consuming.

Similarly, all indications have pointed to Snyder and Co. wanting to do something different with this new film – a fresh approach to the character, as it were. Even though bringing General Zod back is a bit of a repeat tactic, you can bet that any Luthor presence in this film will be a peripheral one. Cooper seems a little too big right now to take on this small a part; even a just-for-fun cameo would lead to fans demanding that he return in sequels in order to preserve continuity. Lot of hassle for a little bit of fun.

Of course, that’s not to say that it’s impossible that the collapse of Paradise Lost opened the door for Cooper to hop on MoS; with so much time left ’til release day, the filmmakers could certainly fit him somewhere while deals for sequels were getting locked down. Not impossible, but not likely, either.

While it won’t be a surprise to hear this rumor debunked, it does leave us with some good questions: Will Lex Luthor appear in ‘Man of Steel’ at all? How big a part will he play? If he appears, who will play him – big actor or smaller name? And will that actor be brought over for the sequels, should the role expand?

Man of Steel will be in theaters on June 14, 2013

Source: Cosmic Book News