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
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Whats with all the Smallville love? ”In Smallville this, in Smallville that”, ”Such and such was really great in Smallville”. Jesus, i understand that this post is about a guy that was in Smallville but in every MOS post comments theres people constantly going on about Smallville. It was crap, a very poor american teenybopper dawson creek type programme for 14 year olds or Beleibers. i would be shocked if Nolan and Synder didn’t do their utmost to distance their superman from it. Also i have to agree with a lot of the posters on here, no Lex, an entire generation seem to think he’s supermans only enemy, Superman has so many good foes out there especially ones that can stand toe to toe with him like Doomsday, Brainiac and Soloman Grundy. If i were to have a Lex it would be Tom Wilkinson, yes he’s older but why does it need to be someone young, it doesn’t matter what age he is he can’t match superman physically period.

    • Well, Amy Adams did guest star in a “Smallville” episode…

      And Wilkinson was already in Batman Begins, so since there is still speculation about whether or not this film is connected with Nolan’s Dark Knight universe, it wouldn’t make sense to have Wilkinson there.

    • What does Bieber fans has to do with anything? These days it sounds more like a general insult.

      And no, Smallville is not just for 14 year olds. I am an adult man myself and most of the fans I knew are women who are even older than I am. Yes, it has a LOT of bad moments and atrocious characterization of both Lana Lang and Lois Lane, but throwing around attacks against fans are not going to get you anywhere, and I don’t overlook the good parts (read: Chloe Sullivan) because of the bad. Sorry to disappoint, but Zack Snyder is a big Smallville fan. “I’ll say Thank God for Smallville. Smallville, by itself, quietly has kept Superman in the consciousness, in a way that without it, my kids really would be like ‘who the hell is Superman?’ Smallville’s done an amazing job of just keeping that icon alive, and I thank them for that, incredibly.”

      I think with three films, they could have a good balance between foes that challenge him physically and mentally.

      Well, there might be some depowered Superman action, in which case a younger Lex may be better, but that is just a wild guess.

    • I am an adult straight male and I watched every season of smallville. Loved that show…and Michael Rosenbaum run as Lex Luthor is the BEST ever made for TV or movies. And John Glover as Lionel Luthor gave a chilling performance as Lex’s dad .. and I am not even going to go as to how Perfect the casting of Tom Welling was…. with guest wriiters as Jack Kirby and Geoff Johns you know this show had some good writing through out…….. you obviously have NO idea what you are talking about with your baseless comments..

    • I couldn’t agree more! Well put.

  2. Why the complaints about Lex being used?

    Face facts here, Lex is the most known of Superman’s rogues gallery, why wouldn’t you bring in casual moviegoers with a character they know already?

    • “They already know” is the flaw in your argument.

      The idea is to give Superman a fresh start, a reboot. Most kids today have never seen Superman on the big screen. This movie will allow anyone to go into the movie and be introduced to Superman and his world. They need not know any of his friends or foes. Nolan and Snyder will do all the storytelling.

      • ohw come on,evry child knows superman,superman returns 2006 was not that long ago,and thet are now doing a reboot of a reboot s*** pf
        i hope this one will be good seems good in the trailers,but i dont trust them anymore,before we know it there is not gonne be a seqeul when 2 comes out,and 5 years afther they will just reboot it again ….im sick of that

  3. Outta previous 5 Superman films Lex has been in 4 of them already. And to copy the route as TDK is still too early imo. I wouldn’t wanna see Lex till he 3rd film atleast. How’s people suppose to get to know Superman’s other villains if they don’t use them & use the same ones we’ve seen on film already? Like Zod, couldn’t Nolan’ Goyer, & Snyder been more original by giving a new villain like Brainiac instead of Zod? Obviously Singer wasn’t very creative when he made Superman Returns, almost looked like he was redoing Donnor’s original film aswell as other problems & looked how well that turned out. I don’t care how different it is but everyone gets the idea of Superman’s origin no matter how different you make it. We have Donnor’s film, Superman:TAS, Smallville that started in 2001 that lasted 10 seasons. So yeah, i think people get a good idea about his origins despite Snyder’s take.

    • Here’s the thing though.

      People like us have seen the Donner movies, we’ve seen Returns, seen or heard about Smallville and know the origins from the comic books.

      We are just a small percentage of the global population though. For every 1 person I know who has seen Smallville, I know 20 who didn’t know it ever existed. Out of the many hundreds of people I’ve known over the years, only maybe 20 of them have seen or remember Superman Returns.

      The one negative about Screen Rant is that a majority of people commenting on articles seem to assume that just because they know and love something and can recall the ins and outs of a movie or comic book, that doesn’t mean that everyone else can say the same.

      Outside of Lex Luthor, the vast majority of people couldn’t name any other Superman villains and even then, if I randomly asked people I’ve known my whole life who haven’t seen Smallville or don’t know anything about Superman to name one of his villains, they wouldn’t even name Lex. They simply wouldn’t have a clue. That isn’t them being stupid, it’s them simply not knowing because he isn’t named or show prominently in a movie or TV show featuring Superman that they can be interested in watching to find out.

      For instance, two of the women my mother works with watch Arrow but had never heard of Green Arrow before the show started airing. One of them is still insistent that it’s a modern Robin Hood story similar to the BBC update of Sherlock Holmes.

      Same with Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, pretty much any DC character outside of Batman and Superman, not everyone has heard of them so origin stories are a must.

      The sooner we stop with the “everyone knows the origin so why do it again, lets have an obscure villain not many have heard of” comments, the better in my opinion.

      • Superman has been in every conceivable form of media, his origin told in every one. Movies, television, cartoons,animated movies, comic book, comic strips, magazines, novels, Broadway musicals, radio shows, stupid videos on youtube,random Internet things, so quite literally EVERY form of media has explained who Superman is and where he came from.
        Anybody who doesn’t know Superman’s origin doesn’t want to and probably wont be seeing this movie anyway. It is long past time to see some other adversary besides the hopelessly played out Lex Luthor.
        You said most people you know can’t name another Superman villian, well that’s because the general audience knows him through the movies and they only use Lex. No matter how you say it, it is time for a fresh villian. Luthor needs to be retired for a while, give us something new.

    • There should be some suspense before bringing Luthor into the movie. Let the first one focus more on the origin story and how he becomes Superman. Let Luthor come into the movie when we all know who Snyder’s Superman is; that would be the sequel.

  4. Jason Issacs.. watch him in abducted, he’s perfect, cold eyes.. looks like a Luther clone just shave the head!

  5. I don’t think this is true. Lex might be appearing or have some role. I see Lex Luthor being cast by someone we already know, perhaps a surprising person, but then again I keep going back to Leonardio DiCaprio. He’s such a good actor and so well known as such that his name attached to the character Lex Luthor… Can you imagine the hype surrounding THAT movie (especially if ‘MOS’ really nails it)? I mean, seriously, can you find a movie role he’s had that was disappointing? He hits the mark every time, no matter the character. Why would Lex Luthor be any different?

    • You know what, I’ve thought of Dicaprio in the role as well, he’d be awesome.

      And BTW, if I see someone else suggest Billy Zane for Lex Luthor, I’m gonna shoot myself.

      • How about Billy Zane for the role of Lex Luthor?


  6. I’m For This

  7. Will love to see an unknown actor portraying LEX, hopefully we have the chance to see other villains working for LEX. I for ones want to see DOOMSDAY in the big screen

  8. In the trailer, when they reference “My son was in the bus. He saw what Clark did.” I have a friend who’s girlfriend works for Warner Bros and I’m hearing that her “son” is Lex Luthor. Sounds like they might be going similar to the Smallville route where Lex knew Clark at a young age.

    • Matt, i would like to believe what you’re saying is true but usually when someone says- “I have a friend who’s girlfriend” that usually leads to misinformation. But believe me when i say that i hope you are right. I wanted Lex in this movie from day 1 but i didn’t really want the older Lex. I wanted Lex to be right around Clark’s age.

      How legit is the info from your…friend’s girlfriend?

      • Isn’t Lex usually a few years older than Superman?

  9. Christopher Meloni would of been a great Lex.

  10. Lex Luthor is an Observer…

    I’m all for Luthor being present in the Man of Steel, he is resident of Metropolis and very well known one. Luthor doesn’t have to be the villain, he doesn’t even have to interact with Superman/Clark Kent or have anything to do with the storyline, Luthor should be everpresent in Superman’s universe so that when he becomes more involved with Superman’s story there aren’t any continuity issues around where he was or what he was doing when this or that happens (like the mentions of Norman Osbourne in the Amazing Spiderman, he wasn’t there but he had a presense)

  11. It is the time to make a good JL movie.

  12. I hope that Lex Luthor is running for President and that’s it for him right now.

  13. Cant we a diffrent vilian for once in a Superman movie? Enough Lex, enough retread. Think of something new WB/DC.

    • I agree and disagree with you.
      Yes we need new villains but not enough with lex.
      Zod is great choice for starting villain and we require lex because he totally different from all other supes villain.He is the one for what supes need to justify his every move.

  14. Sorry for bad English.

  15. In my opinion Luthor should not be a main villain as he is simply not needed. If anything I’d have him behind the scenes and maybe have him be built up to a larger role in the second where he makes Superman his enemy – possibly having a redemption plot where Luthor helps Clark kent (Not knowing he is Superman) in the third

    First movie;
    Zod as main villain – offers Superman the chance to join him and build a new Krypton

    Second movie;
    Braniac as main villain – tests Superman’s ability to control himself and tests his faith in humanity

    Third movie;
    Darkseid as main villain – sends Doomsday to kill Superman (testing his strength and what he is willing to sacrifice)

  16. I want to see Bradley Cooper as Lex. He was brilliant in Silver Linings Playbook.

    Plus, I think he’d add an unexpected dimension to the character much like Heath Ledger did in Dark Knight.

  17. I like the different nods to smallville with MOS I think smallville was a great show how else would it have lasted all those years, plus they gave a solid updated foundation for ongoing flims of superman and Justice League. Not to mention it opended up alot of minds to a more moderen day of Superman and his world and how he became who he is

  18. Lex is going to be in this movie, I have no doubt.


  19. I hope they reboot lex like they have done zod and superman a tricky thing about luthor is that he cant really through punches with superman and help make for a great fun action fight unless he has a super powered suit on but I personally never cared for that story angle that much I actually think that Denzel Washington would make a great luthor or maybe Bradley cooper I love them both and I think they could bring something new to the character the actor that they have listed in the article I dont see being entertains as luthor because he technically already played him but thats just me. Hopefully when luthor does show up he will be cool

  20. Mackenzie Gray is in Man Of Steel

  21. Michael Pitt should be Lex Luthor look him up if you dont already know him.

  22. I think on this universe, Lex Luthor will become oil entrepreneur (Luthor’s family could be equal as Rockefeller’s). It will be make sense if they (Superman and Lex) will be crossing path due to the Krypton used to be mining planet (and destroyed by Overexploitation of it). Superman will stop Him so planet earth don’t have a same fate as Kryptonian was.

  23. Bruce Willis for Luthor! Bruce Willis for Luthor!

  24. Lex Luthor supposed to be Supes Kryptonite, literally. He must be someone who can steal the show by punching Supes right in the face. And also make Supes suffer and push him beyond the limit, feel what pain is. Lex Luthor is kind of villain with a greatest ego in this planet. Wich is, making himself equal even above on Superman. Showing us a new level of MADNESS.
    I wondering, what kind of a man can put Supes into his legendary battle.
    We satisfy with Heath Ledger as Joker in Nolan’s hand.
    Let’s hopes Zack Snyder and team will put their choice wisely.

    Me? I prefer watch Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a greatest villain of our last hope in the Earth. And of course, Kick Superman’s Ass

  25. Lex Luthor supposed to be Supes Kryptonite, literally. He must be someone who can steal the show by punching Supes right in the face. And also make Supes suffer and push him beyond the limit, feel what pain is. Lex Luthor is kind of villain with a greatest ego in this planet. Wich is, making himself equal even above on Superman. Showing us a new level of MADNESS.
    I wondering, what kind of a man can put Supes into his legendary battle.
    We satisfy with Heath Ledger as Joker in Nolan’s hand.
    Let’s hopes Zack Snyder and team will put their choice wisely.

    Me? I prefer watch Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a greatest villain of our last hope in the Earth. And of course, Kick Superman’s Ass

  26. My 3 favourite recommendations for Lex Luthor-

    1) Ralph Fiennes- He’s already portrayed true embodiments of evil as Voldemort and Hades effectively and would be very capable to bring out Luthor’s nefarious and scheming visage.

    2) Timothy Olyphant- We already saw him go bald and suave as Hitman and his adrenaline fury as an antagonist in Die Hard 4.0. He’s the perfect age for Luthor and would do justice to Luthor’s physical and monetary prowess for world domination.

    3) Ed Harris- He has immense experience of playing Luthor-esque villains in many films, Man on a Ledge being the recent one. But his age can downplay his eligibility.

    Mackenzie and Rosenbaum had better give their pipe dreams of getting the role. Smallville small timers like them can’t blend in Man of Steel’s Academy Award studded cast, especially when its playing someone as pivotal as Lex Luthor.

    Besides, Snyder already made it clear the MOS universe will not have characters played by actors in any previous incarnations, when Brandon Routh begged for the Superman role again.