Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel sequel, also known unofficially as Batman vs. Superman, has cast two of its biggest roles. Academy Award nominee Jesse Eisenberg has officially been named as Superman’s arch-enemy Lex Luthor, and Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons will take on the role of Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s butler and confidant.
Go ahead and explode, Internet. We know you want to.
The casting news ends months of rumors as to who will portray Superman’s most well-known enemy. Recent rumors hinted at the studio looking at several actors to fill the role, including Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Strong, and Bryan Cranston.
The casting of Eisenberg comes as something of a surprise – partially because we haven’t heard his name bandied about for the role, but also because of the actor’s age. The character of Lex Luthor was hinted at in the original Man of Steel with advertisements and banners for the company LexCorp appearing in the film. In the comics, that company was founded by Lex Luthor. With Eisenberg just hitting 30, it raises the question of how the character will be portrayed.
In the comics, Luthor was first introduced in 1940 as a criminal mastermind. He’s been reimagined countless times over the year, but is most commonly portrayed as an established businessman in Metropolis. Some versions of the Luthor story have had his father pass the company on to Lex, while others have established him as a prodigy. Regardless of how the filmmakers decide to proceed, the casting of Eisenberg suggests that the character will not fit the traditional Luthor mold.
The casting of Irons is more fitting. Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s butler, co-conspirator, and longtime family friend, has generally been portrayed as an older, English man. It’s a role the 65-year old Irons is right for. Michael Caine is the most recent actor to play Alfred, in Christopher Nolan’s Batman films.
Irons and Eisenberg join Henry Cavill, who reprises his role as Clark Kent/Superman, and Ben Affleck, who was confirmed in 2013 for Bruce Wayne/Batman. They will be joined by Gal Gadot, who appears as Wonder Woman. The Man of Steel sequel was originally scheduled for July 17, 2015, but has since been pushed back to May 6, 2016.
So talk to us, people of the Internet. What do you think of Eisenberg as Luthor and Irons as Alfred?