See DC’s New Lex Luthor In Unexpected Photo Reveal, It’s A Former Walking Dead Star

By Jonathan Klotz | Updated

Michael Cudlitz as Lex Luthor

After casting Superman and Batman, the next biggest casting out of DC properties is the megalomaniacal billionaire Lex Luthor. In an exclusive first look from Entertainment Weekly, fans finally get their first look at the next actor to bring the supervillain to life, Michael Cudlitz, best known to fans as Abraham from The Walking Dead. The latest bald Luthor sports a glorious beard and will soon terrorize Superman again on The CW’s Superman & Lois.

Superman & Lois will soon be the last show remaining from the Arrowverse, technically as it’s in an alternate reality, but the sentiment still stands. Starring Tyler Hoechlin as Clark Kent/Superman, Elizabeth Tulloch as Lois Lane, Michael Bishop as Jonathan Kent, and Alex Garfin as Jordan Kent, the show sees Clark and Lois attempt to raise their family back home in Smallville, but when you’re Superman, trouble tends to find you. This version of Superman has already dealt with Lex Luthor before, but thanks to Multiversal madness, the first version wasn’t from his reality.

Jon Cryer played Lex Luthor on Supergirl, another Arrowverse show starring Melissa Benoist as Kal-El’s cousin, Kara. During the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover event, Cryer’s Luthor tormented the heroes of other CW shows, including Hoechlin’s Superman. The actor had the support of fans of the Arrowverse to keep playing the role, but a few months ago, it became official that Superman & Lois Season 3 would feature a new Luthor for a new reality.

Michael Cudlitz, just by shaving his head, already looks the part of the villain since he canonically had red hair before it all fell out. Alternate versions, most notably Alexander Luthor from the comic book series Infinite Crisis and the early 90s younger clone, also sported the red hair and beard look at different points. The version Cudlitz plays has been hiding underground for years, keeping out of the public eye while running a criminal empire.

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Elizabeth Tulloch and Tyler Hoechlin in Superman & Lois

Unlike earlier iterations from legendary actors like Gene Hackman, Jesse Eisenberg, and Michael Rosenbaum, Cudlitz’s version is described as a “psychopath.” Typically Lex Luthor is a sociopath, a megalomaniac, a narcissist, and misguided (his stint as the herald of Perpetua, Mother of Reality, will likely never be depicted in live-action.) Superman & Lois is going full-on crime-lord, with their version likely involved with the recently introduced Bruno Mannheim (Chad Coleman) and Intergang.

The first two seasons of Superman & Lois averaged between two and three million viewers and, in typical The CW fashion, likely many more through streaming once the seasons aired. Cudlitz has yet to appear as Lex Luthor, but the season just debuted earlier this week, so there’s plenty of time for the mastermind to make his grand entrance.

Michael Cudlitz is a veteran actor, having risen to fame in the cop drama Southland and Band of Brothers before landing the role of Abraham on The Walking Dead. His time in the zombie apocalypse lasted only three seasons, but he became a fan favorite. Time will tell if DC fans embrace his version of Lex Luthor or cast it aside and never speak of it again, as with Jesse Eisenberg’s manic billionaire from Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Superman & Lois airs Tuesdays on The CW.