Lex Luthor Casting Confirmed And It’s An Ex-Marvel Star From Multiple Movies

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

Whether you loved or hated the DCEU, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the all-new DCU that James Gunn is cooking up. For example, ongoing casting news of Superman: Legacy has us excited for this DCU debut film. David Corenswet already looks like he will be perfect as both mild-mannered Clark Kent and his high-flying alter ego, Superman. Now, we know exactly who Corenswet will clash with: ABC reports that X-Men star Nicholas Hoult will play Lex Luthor in Superman: Legacy.

Nicholas Hoult Cast As Lex Luthor

If you’re having trouble envisioning Hoult as Lex Luthor, don’t worry about it. In addition to being an amazing actor, Hoult has an almost uncanny (fitting for a former X-Man) ability to disappear into roles and become virtually unrecognizable. In Warm Bodies, for example, he imbues an otherworldly freakiness to his zombie character, which is something we also see in small doses in the more recent horror film Renfield.

More famously, Hoult stole the show as War Boy Nux in Mad: Max Fury Road; between this and his outstanding performance as the blue-furred beast in films like X-Men: Days of Future Past, he has become the ultimate character actor.

Other Actors Who Have Portrayed The Superman Villain

Now, Nicholas Hoult will be utilizing those killer character acting skills to bring to life one of the most compelling villains in comic book history. Part of what makes this so challenging is that so many other actors have taken a crack at Lex Luthor.

Gene Hackman, for example, portrayed him as an evil businessman, whereas Jesse Eisenberg played an unhinged Lex who delighted in playing god with Batman and Superman. In Smallville, Michael Rosenbaum’s charismatic schemer was arguably the best portrayal of the character, but it sounds like Hoult is getting ready to play this villain as we have never seen him before.

James Gunn’s Thoughts

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James Gunn himself said that Nicholas Hoult’s Lex Luthor “will be different from anything you’ve seen before and will never forget.” Obviously, this could just be a bit of marketing buzz on Gunn’s part, but we think he might be telling the truth, especially if Hoult’s Luthor is inspired by the Superman For All Seasons comics that Gunn keeps displayed in his production office.

While not confirming any plot details for Superman: Legacy, the director recently posted a picture to Instagram showing panels from these iconic comics, and many fans think the comics may hold a clue to the stories and characterization we will see in the upcoming film.

Superman: Legacy Takes Inspiration From Superman For All Seasons

In Superman For All Seasons, the Fall chapter is narrated by Lex Luthor. The comic emphasizes how much the villain actually loves his city of Metropolis and sees Superman as a kind of false messiah who citizens will begin to cling to rather than improving their lives and their city.

There’s a pretty goofy plot in here about Luthor causing Superman to return to Smallville because he can’t save literally everyone. We doubt (or maybe just hope) that very specific subplot will be in Superman: Legacy, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Hoult’s Luthor is the best kind of villain: the one who sees himself as the hero.

See Nicholas Hoult As Lex Luthor In 2025

With any luck, Superman: Legacy will be a hit film that fans embrace rather than one they want to throw into the Phantom Zone like Batman v. Superman. At any rate, the casting remains top-notch, and the fact that we’ll get to see a character actor as great as Nicholas Hoult bring Lex Luthor to life is undeniably exciting. Hopefully, everyone onset has more restraint than we do and can keep themselves from constantly yelling out “witness me!” every time Mad Max veteran Hoult walks into the room.

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