Jesse Eisenberg is the next Lex Luthor, as officially announced by Warner Bros. Friday afternoon. He'll play the role in Man of Steel 2 commonly referred to as Superman/Batman.
Alongside the announce cement of Eisenberg's casting was that of Jeremy Irons as Alfred, Bruce Wayne's butler, father figure, and confidant.
The film also stars Henry Cavill as Superman, Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman , and sees the return of Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, and Diane Lane in their roles from the previous movie.
“Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals , his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940,” Snyder said in a press release. "What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain. He’s a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions."
At age 30 currently, Eisenberg will be the youngest actor to portray the character on the big screen. Michael Rosenbaum was 29 when Smallville premiered, but he was playing against a Clark Kent that was being portrayed as only 16 years old at the time. Eisenberg was never rumored in the contention for the role, with rumors focusing on older actors like Bryan Cranston playing the villain. This does make Lex and Clark Kent contemporaries, however - Cavill is also 30 (and played 33 in Man of Steel).
As for Alfred, Snyder said, "He is an absolutely critical element in the intricate infrastructure that allows Bruce Wayne to transform himself into Batman. It is an honor to have such an amazingly seasoned and gifted actor as Jeremy taking on the important role of the man who mentors and guides the guarded and nearly impervious façade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne."
Man of Steel 2 is scheduled for May 6, 2016 release, recently pushed back from a July, 2015 slot.