DCEU: Why ‘Batman v Superman’ Star Jesse Eisenberg Wants to Play Lex Luthor Again
Superman and Batman are DC Comics’ most iconic and cherished creations. So it stands to reason that their arch-enemies — Lex Luthor and the Joker, respectively — would be the company’s most preeminent DC baddies. For that reason, fans were frustrated by the untraditional portrayals of the characters in the DC Extended Universe.
While Jared Leto’s Suicide Squad Joker is likely gone for good, it’s unclear what Warner Bros. will do with Lex Luthor. We last saw the character in the Justice League post-credits scene, which teased Jesse Eisenberg’s reprisal of the role. No announcements have been made, but the actor recently said he is definitely still interested in the role.
Eisenberg wants back into the DCEU
In an interview with Movieweb, Eisenberg discussed his eagerness to pick up Lex’s journey in future films.
“Oh, 1000 percent. … Yeah, of course. Yeah. I loved it so much. I mean I was the shyest kid in the world,” Eisenberg said. “To get to play a mean character with flamboyance like that is exhilarating.”
Despite his enthusiasm for the role, Eisenberg doubts that Warner Bros. will give him another call to slip on the iconic villain’s tailored suits.
“I probably won’t do another,” he said. “I don’t know if they’re making another one where I would be in it. But no, I loved it. It was great. I’m so happy I got to do it. Ever.”
The actor doesn’t seem to have any ill will toward his time as the character, despite the critical response his performance received. Regardless of how some fans may feel, it’s easy to see how Eisenberg’s over-the-top take was a blast to play. The actor may be less than optimistic about his return. But could the DCEU course-correct Lex Luthor?
Can Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor be saved?
Having escaped from prison at the end of Justice League, Lex was ready to assemble a formidable team of supervillains. Now sporting his signature bald head, Eisenberg’s Lex seemed calmer and more poised than he had in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. And why shouldn’t he? Lex’s psychotic, murderous ways are now public knowledge.
Without having to hide his true nature, Lex can carry himself more confidently than before. This would allow Eisenberg to tone down the anxious tics and emotional unpredictability that made his initial performance so offputting to some. If he returns, Eisenberg’s Lex could grow into the more classic version of the character.
Similarly, Zack Snyder’s Superman didn’t really become the bright, optimistic symbol of hope we know and love until Justice League. The events of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman intended to show this progression. It’s fitting that his greatest foe follows a similar trajectory.
What are DC’s plans for Lex Luthor?
With Joker currently rocking the box office, there’s no telling how the DCEU will pivot in response to its success. One report claims that Warner Bros. is developing a similarly dark standalone film for Lex Luthor. Such a project would see Lex win the U.S. presidency, as he does in the comics. Yet, it’s hard to imagine the studio casting Eisenberg in that film, given his ties to the remnants of Snyder’s canon.
Since we don’t know how the existing DCEU will handle the Joker, there’s no precedent for how the franchise might address Lex Luthor. Potentially, the President Luthor film could truly stand alone, leaving Eisenberg the chance to return alongside Cavill or whoever replaces him as Superman.
If anything, the success of Joker may embolden Warner Bros. to take chances with its villainous DC characters. Certainly, whatever DC Films does next is sure to be an intriguing move for the franchise.