Now that the DCEU has crashed and burned (or, more accurately, Flash-ed and burned), James Gunn is getting ready to usher in an all-new DCU starting with Superman: Legacy in 2025. In recent weeks, casting announcements were made for some of the biggest characters, including Superman, Lois Lane, and even some surprising character additions such as Mr. Terrific and Guy Gardner. The movie’s Big Bad, Lex Luthor, has not yet been cast, and since the rumor mill has been saying that Nicholas Hoult would likely get the role, this artist decided to preview what that might look like.
An artist renditioning of Nicholas Hoult as Lex Luthor puts the supervillain on the cover of TIME Magazine.
One of the fun things about this photo edit is that it puts Nicholas Hoult on the cover of TIME Magazine and makes reference to him as “the next president of the United States.” This is a concept familiar to DC fans: Luthor is president in a parallel universe we glimpse in the Justice League cartoon, and the comics had a prolonged storyline in which Luthor became president (before an inevitably disgraceful downfall, of course).
While this magazine cover is just speculation on behalf of the artist, we wouldn’t be surprised if James Gunn (who has previously talked about taking major inspiration from previous comics) gave his onscreen Luthor presidential ambitions.
The fake magazine cover also gives Nicholas Hoult’s Lex Luthor a familiar-sounding soundbite in the form of a question: “Does the world need Superman?” This would seem to be a rhetorical response to the article we see Lois Lane writing in Superman Returns, which is simply titled “Why the World Needs Superman.”
Luthor is president in a parallel universe we glimpse in the Justice League cartoon, and the comics had a prolonged storyline in which Luthor became president
It’s also in line with the motivations writers like Brian Azzarello have given Luthor: this writer portrayed the supervillain as somebody worried that humanity will stop trying to improve itself when they have a godlike alien being who will do everything for us.
Would Nicholas Hoult Make A Good Lex Luthor?
That brings us to the big question: would Nicholas Hoult actually make a good onscreen Lex Luthor? In our opinion, the answer is “yes.”
While it’s easy to think of Hoult as someone who often gets comedic roles in films like Renfield and even Mad Max: Fury Road, he has also proven that he has the dramatic chops necessary to be a leading man in films like the criminally underwatched and underappreciated movie A Single Man.
And it may go without saying, but Nicholas Hoult also has the experience with superhero and genre films to really bring a comic book villain like Lex Luthor to life. This includes playing Beast in the quartet of modern X-Men films starting with First Class, and he absolutely kills (literally and metaphorically) in genre movies like Warm Bodies and Renfield (which, honestly, is a bit closer to a superhero movie than a horror movie).
He knows how to do big drama and he knows how to do “tights and flights,” so we think Holt would actually be perfect to play Superman’s nemesis onscreen.
While it’s impossible to be sure, we wouldn’t be surprised to get an official announcement on whether Nicholas Hoult is the new Superman sooner rather than later. After getting casting announcements for Superman and Lois Lane, we got a flurry of other reveals, including the fact that geek legend Nathan Fillion would be playing Guy Gardner.
If Hoult is going to play The Man of Steel’s greatest foe, we’re likely to find out quicker than it takes Lex Luthor to haul away 40 Hostess cakes (that’s as many as four tens, you know) when nobody is watching.