New ‘Man of Steel’ Lex Luthor Rumor & Possible Casting

Published 2 years ago by

man of steel1 New Man of Steel Lex Luthor Rumor & Possible Casting

[WARNING: Potential Spoilers Ahead!]

Although Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel will likely turn out to be one of the most heavily-marketed blockbusters this summer, for now the studio is playing plenty close to its chest. With claims that the theatrical trailers show just the “tip of the iceberg” where action and plot are concerned, a few nagging questions stand out above the others.

For starters, just how much of a hurry Snyder is in to bring Superman’s most infamous nemesis, Lex Luthor, to the big screen. All signs have pointed to General Zod (Michael Shannon) handling villain duties for this chapter (even if he’s, you know, not a villain), but the newest rumors surrounding Luthor claim audiences could be in for a surprise.

To this point it’s been assumed that even if Lex Luthor wouldn’t be appearing in Man of Steel in the flesh – and David S. Goyer has pointed out that nobody has guaranteed he won’t be – characters may make mention of LexCorp either off-hand, or hinting at a larger role in the future. The same strategy was employed with the Joker tease at the closing of Batman Begins, and even most recently with Norman Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man.

Lex Luthor Superman Man of Steel Rumors New Man of Steel Lex Luthor Rumor & Possible Casting

The logic to that structure being a potential set-up for Luthor’s antagonist in the Man of Steel sequel (which may or may not already be in development). However, the newest rumor doesn’t just claim that Luthor has been cast, but that his role in the Man of Steel proceedings will be more than just a name drop (or limited to looming in the background or a shadowy office).

The newest update comes courtesy of AICN, and due to the fact that the information is the result of piecing separate reports together, we’d recommend taking this with an even bigger grain of salt than usual. The first insider source – using an alias, but trusted – claims that Luthor will be featured in Man of Steel, and unsurprisingly, will be based on the more scheming and brilliant version of the billionaire seen in modern comics.

That take on the character from Goyer, Nolan and Snyder is expected should he ever be included; aside from fitting with the more grounded and realistic tone, it’s hard to see a Luthor like Kevin Spacey’s in Superman Returns (2006) fitting with the less ‘fantastic’ slant. But more than just a confirmation that Luthor will be on screen in Man of Steel, the source also provided the name of the actor who will be playing him.

Man of Steel Lex Luthor Mackenzie Gray Rumor New Man of Steel Lex Luthor Rumor & Possible Casting

The name given was Mackenzie Gray, that of the Canadian actor who portrayed an aged Lex Luthor clone in the final season of Smallville. For what it’s worth, a video interview has Gray confirming that he is going to be appearing in Man of Steel, but can’t comment on his character. The cynical movie fans out there might assume that given Warner Bros. and Nolan’s habit of secrecy, even allowing Gray to confirm he’s appearing means reprising his role as Luthor is even less likely – the connection is too easy to draw based on that alone.

However stranger things have happened, and the performance Gray gave of Luthor in Smallville was well-received. His age (55) won’t please comic fans who feel that Luthor should offer some form of physical threat to match his intelligence, but those expectations aren’t generally the kind Nolan and Snyder saddle themselves with.

More surprising would be Gray’s less staggeringly-impressive resume compared to the rest of Man of Steel‘s cast, but there’s no reason to think an unknown may not be the proper course for such an iconic villain.

Smallville Mackenzie Gray Luthor New Man of Steel Lex Luthor Rumor & Possible Casting

Gray as ‘Lex Luthor (LX-13)’ in Smallville S10E01, “Lazarus”

Contrary to the assumption that Luthor would be held as a third-act reveal or tease, the same source promised that the role would be “substantial.” Casting Luthor would be substantial for several reasons on its own, regardless of how he is used in Man of Steel, but unfortunately the source did not elaborate on whether the billionaire genius will be playing a “substantial” role in the entire first movie, the climax, the sequel, or simply by being included.

Conspiracy theorists will certainly like to know that Gray just got himself a Twitter account, and although it is still unverified, the accompanying photo will definitely add fuel to the fire of speculation:

Mackenzie Gray Man of Steel Twitter Photo New Man of Steel Lex Luthor Rumor & Possible Casting

If the smoke does indeed mean fire, and Gray is reprising his role as Luthor, it would leave the doors wide open for more past actors in the sizable realm of Superman TV and movie projects. But who knows, perhaps Gray will appear as Lex’s father, playing a role in Man of Steel that doesn’t set himself up as the sequel’s antagonist, but provides his son with a crusade against the Big Blue Boy Scout. It would certainly be in keeping with the overarching themes of fatherhood and family duty.

At this point we’re not convinced that we know enough about the movie’s plot to make educated guesses beyond those already made by any fan of Superman, or superhero movies in general. Superman (Henry Cavill) already has several enemies to fight come this summer, possibly competing suitors for Lois Lane (Amy Adams), and more focus on Krypton than will likely leave room for Luthor without seeming rushed or shoehorned in.

We’d love to be proven wrong, but for now this news can be filed under ‘rumor’ without hesitation. It will be incredibly interesting if true though, so we’ll keep you updated as more reports or further evidence arrives.

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

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: AICN, Mackenzie Gray

Follow Andrew Dyce on Twitter @andrew_dyce
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  1. No. WB, along with DC, Snyder and Nolan – have created the template for the future of Superman by casting A listers.

    If and when Luthor IS cast, it’s gonna be an actor that will not only suit the role but also has had a long and established career.

    • bradley cooper for lex luthor =p

      • I like the idea of Bradley Cooper as Lex but i dont think he’ll be down to cut his hair off haha!

    • Agreed!!

    • Agreed,When the Brothers Warner decide to bring Luthor to the franchise.It will be someone that is an A-Lister.Nothing against Mr.Gray but he is not a top billing star.

      • Nathan Fillion! /s

        • DUDE YOU recommend Fillion FOR EVERY CBM character they are coming out with! what is your man-love all about with that guy?
          1) HE IS NOT that good of an actor and
          2) the guy looks like a TRAIN WRECK nowadays

          Are you his FATHER trying to save Fillions Career? or just upset that your son is LAME and NOBODY wants him in their movies IF THEY WANT TO MAKE IT ANYTHING OTHER THAN A B FLICK?

          Maybe in 5 or 10 more years you will give up your Man-Crush on Fillion and have a new LOVE, but I for one am sick of seeing you throwing that FLOATING TURDs name around for EVERY male role on this site

          • someone forgot their coffee this morning…

          • Your fingers are typing, might want to look to that.

            • @vladiator

              He said A lister

              @Snappy D

              Cave-ish Man was kidding. He’s only parodying the dumb love for Fillion where every nerd in the world recommends him for every single role ever.

  2. I don’t care if Lex cameos or is referenced in some way but I dearly hope he won’t be the main villain for a while. I was sort of upset with having Zod in this one, though I think Michael Shannon is gonna blow our minds. I just want some new villains in on this. Parasite, Metallo, Bizarro, Mongul, Doomsday or something. Hell, I’d even settle for Toyman or Mr Myxlyptk. I just hate that most audiences just think Lex Luthor or Zod as Supermans only enemies.

    • I see Luthor being revealed as the President in some shadowy form at the movies end credits.

      • Very good idea,would love to see that.

  3. My guess.

    He will be English

    And actor we’ve seen in some things but is still a relatively unknown actor, good actor but not a celebrity like Brad Pitt.

    Late 40’s to early 50’s.

    Possibly has worked with Snyder or Nolan in the past.

    I don’t think he has to be a huge actor, I think that’s a stupid assumption that leads to movies like Batman Forever to happen. Cavil isn’t a widely known actor but he sure is a good actor.

    • How about Clive Owen he’s 48 and 6’2,frequently plays tough characters who use intelligence rather than strength,is a great actor and needs a good movie.He’s known but hasnt’t been in anything big lately.

  4. Stone Cold Steve Austin should play Lex Luthor.

  5. Why, exactly, does Luthor need to present a physical threat?? I’m pretty sure that Luthor, even if he was Chuck Norris, could not beat Superman in one on one combat.

    P.S: Gray looks like Voldemort in that one pic.

    P.P.S: Not a fan of Gray’s casting (If he’s been cast)

    • He Who Must Not Be Named!

    • Blasphemy…. Superman wears chuck Norris undies

    • Luthor likes to stay in shape. He is, after all, one of the most naturally intelligent human beings on the planet and understands the benefit of being healthy. In All-Star Superman, when Clark visits Lex in prison, Lex is constantly working out both his body and his mind. He likes having power by his own mettle, and being a man of his own creation so that he can justly have pride in himself. Being a intellectually challenging opponent is only half of what Luthor is. Luthor is a tough dude.

      I agree that this would be a terrible casting choice. Though I wasn’t a fan of the later seasons of Smallville, I specifically didn’t like Gray’s portrayal of Luthor. He wasn’t a good actor, and simple wasn’t that good at the part.

      • *simply

  6. How about Jason stay ham if people want a physical match but a poor actor

    • ….. and bald?

      And the actor’s name you refer to is Jason Statham.

      • Auto correct is a b**** sometimes lol

        • Think he was right the first time :) Tom hardy can be Luthor, he seems to be in everything else and can go bald and has worked with Nolan before. Yes he was bane but he had a mask on the whole time, no one will notice haha

          • i actually think Hardy would make a great Luthor. dont think it will happen though.

            • Statham’s a decent actor though if he’s given a decent script (see Snatch for example, he and Alan Ford were the highlights of that movie despite it also starring Stephen Graham and Brad Pitt).

      • are u american by any chance? just wondering as u obviously can’t see the sarcasm in the post.

  7. Superman has so many awesome villians to choose from, why would they fall back on Lex AGAIN? He is spool over-used in these movies. He has been the villian in all but one movie and he was on Smallville for 7 out of 10 seasons. Enough already. Smallville definitely had the best Lex, but I want to see someone else. Give us a big screen version of just about any other villian leave Lex be. I wouldn’t mind if they left him out of the whole trilogy. Give me Brainiac, or Despero or hell, even Mr. Myxptlk.

  8. Guy Pierce for Lex Luthor. When he gave that Ted speech for the Prometheus promo he screamed Luthor matching the arrogance & intellect. Too bad he is going to be in IM3.

    • you cant have superman without lex. the truth is we havent seen a great portrayal of lex in movies, though spacey was close but a little campy.

      • Disagree, gene Hackman was a good lex Luthor, didn’t need strength as he was an evil genius.

  9. Is it LexCorp or LuthorCorp?

    • Lexcorp

  10. Why don’t they go with Morgan Edge or Bruno Manheim & Intergang instead of Luthor? Save Luthor for the 3rd film atleast.

  11. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Jon Hamm would be an excellent Lex Luthor.

    • I dont think at this point…anyone wants to see Hamm as a villian. Maybe further down the road in his career…but everyone loves a nice guy.

      • That’s what people said about Denzel Washington until he did Training Day and won an Oscar.

  12. Billy Zane

    • Now that you mention it, Zane could make a pretty good Luthor.

    • My vote’s always been for Billy Zane!

      • Tom hardy

  13. Stringer Bell should play Lex Luthor.

    • +1,000,000

  14. Wouldnt be cool if Luthor made a botched clone of superman and its I.D. is


    • The best Luthor ever on the big screen was portrayed by Rosenbaum. Why not recast him. He played lex 100%

      • he was technically lex on the small screen.

        • True, but he’s right. Hands down best live action Lex.

  15. That one picture of Luther looks like the evil twin of Curly from the 3 Stooges!
    (Seriously, Luthor is fine, but if this Superman movie “flys”, then how about Brainiac for the next villain?).

  16. Will sasso as lex Luther would be the most logical choice I think.

    Anybody want a lemon?

    • Nah, save him to play Wilson Fisk

  17. Lex Luthor is my favorite villain ever !!!
    I actually would like to see Gray’s peformance

  18. Billy Zane would make a decent Lex Luther…

  19. Billy Zane can make a great villain playing Lex Luther… Other choices were Terry O’Quinn, Ben Kingsley and Robert Patrick.

  20. I think Rosenbaum would make a terrific Luthor still. NOt an uber fan of Smallville, but he nailed the character head on

    • Lex and Lionel were the best two characters on the show, also played by the best 2 actors on the show.

      • ^True.

  21. I do not like this actor for Lex. I see this as a ruse for a little excitement. His age is the main problem. Man of Steele, more than likely, will not be a stand alone film. Lex needs to be younger. I like the father approach.

  22. I’ll do it! Gimmie a call WB!

    (I think they may still be sore over a botched radio-controlled-hyper-intelligent-raccoon-army-invasion-false-flag attempt against Disney. I take full responsibility for not checking each and every cerebral nano-chip. That will be the last time I delegate responsibility of that matter to Zartan.)

    • No, I’d be the perfect Lex Luthor! Well, if you take away me being black, 340lbs, and dumber than a slug, I CAN DO IT! 😛

  23. Hear me out. I think Giancarlo Esposito would make a great Lex Luthor.

  24. Seriously, can we get a Superman movie that doesn’t have Lex Luthor please!? And if not, I don’t see why Spacy couldn’t do it, he was the best Lex in my book. I’m sure he could do it in a grounded world.

  25. I don’t think Luthor needs to be a “physical threat”, that’s what his Warsuit is for. Without that, no matter how imposing he is, he is no match for Supes in physical combat. While I think Mackenzie Gray could probably play a pretty cool Lex I think is his too old, considering Superman would be almost half his age. But, if Perry White can be black and Jimmy can be Jenny, none of that really matters. If none of that really matters, then I say let Sean Bean play Lex. Slim him down a little, shave his head, put him in a suit and you’d have an awesome Lex Luthor, IMO.

  26. I like Billy Zane also…man he’s such a brilliant actor but he had such a hard time after losing his hair….he couldent get a decent part to save his life. Would love to see him cast in this as he is in his mid to late 40s now.

  27. I would say Lex Luthor definetly needs to be menacing & imposing…a weak looking actor is not gonna sell you Lex Luthor…even Kevin Spacey couldent do it. Im not saying he needs to be physically imposing for a one on one match with supes…but he does & should look physically intimidating from a business world standpoint.