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James Gunn’s ‘Superman: Legacy’ short list reveals who he needs to cast as Lex Luthor, not Kal-El

This actor as the Man of Steel? Nah. As his nemesis? Yes!

Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

If reports are to be believed, Superman: Legacy is zeroing in on its Man of Steel. As originally broken by Deadline, screentesting for the male and female leads of James Gunn’s upcoming DCU reboot is due to take place next week, with three actors and three actresses known to be down to the wire to play both Clark Kent and Lois Lane. The three potential Loises are Emma Mackey (Sex Education), Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Ms. Maisel), and Phoebe Dynevor (Bridgerton).

As for the Last Son of Krypton himself, Gunn has supposedly narrowed down his list to David Corenswet (Hollywood), Tom Brittney (Grantchester), and Nicholas Hoult (Renfield). Ask the very passionate Supes fans on Twitter, though, and there’s only one casting choice for Gunn to make here, however, as Corenswet has long been an enormously popular fancast for Kal-El thanks to his looking like an A.I. face-merge of every Superman actor ever (I mean that as a sincere compliment, Dave).

Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean his runner-ups can’t have roles in the movie as well. Specifically, there’s a part that’s an even better fit for Hoult in Legacy than Supes himself. Yes, it’s the hero’s bald billionaire nemesis, Lex Luthor. On the one hand, after coming so close to landing numerous blockbuster-leading gigs across his career, you could say Hoult deserves to don the tights himself. However, the very fact that he’s already a well-established star holds him back from being the perfect Superman.

Nicholas Hoult Renfield
via Univeral Pictures

When Christopher Reeves, Henry Cavill, and even the likes of Brandon Routh and Tom Welling were cast, they had no truly identifiable roles under the belts. Whereas Hoult’s fame would mean he’d risk being “Nicholas Hoult play Superman” rather than just “Superman.” That’s why he’d be fantastic as Lex. Have him shave his head and play wholly against type as the villain and he could totally reinvent himself before our eyes. Having Supes and Lex be of a similar age would also hark back to the fan-favorite rivalry of Welling and (Gunn’s good pal) Michael Rosenbaum in Smallville.

As for Tom Britten, maybe he can be cast as, say, Bizarro in the sequel. Gunn has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the potential Clark and Loises on his plate, and luckily for him there are more than enough juicy characters in the Superman mythos to go around.

About the author

Christian Bone

Christian Bone is a Staff Writer/Editor at We Got This Covered and has been cluttering up the internet with his thoughts on movies and TV for a full decade, ever since graduating with a Creative Writing degree from the University of Winchester. He can usually be found writing about anything Marvel or DC. And yet, if you asked him, he'd probably say his favorite superhero film is 'The Incredibles'.