While his laundry list of nemeses might not boast the strength in depth of Batman’s rogues’ gallery, Superman is hardly lacking when it comes to antagonists, although you wouldn’t believe it looking at the Big Blue Boy Scout’s live-action adventures.
Of the six solo Superman movies to have been released between Richard Donner’s 1978 classic and Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, along with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, five of them involved Lex Luthor and two featured General Zod. Superman III‘s Ross Webster was basically a Luthor clone, presumably changed after Gene Hackman declined to reprise the role, and Superman IV‘s Nuclear Man was created specifically for the infamously terrible film.
Doomsday did show up during Dawn of Justice‘s third act climax, but he was essentially cannon fodder for the title heroes so they would have some sort of hulking CGI threat to battle against, as the superhero genre is wont to do. Out of the many planned Superman movies over the decades that never made it out of development hell, though, Braniac was set to make his feature debut in a number of them.
Superman Lives, Superman Reborn, Bryan Singer’s canceled Superman Returns sequel and Zack Snyder’s proposed Man of Steel follow-up were all set to introduce Brainiac, but sources close to WGTC – the same ones who said Luke Skywalker would appear in The Mandalorian season 2 – have told us that J.J. Abrams’ reboot may finally give Kal-El’s longtime foe the chance to shine in live-action, as the filmmaker wants him as the main villain.
How he’d factor into the plot is obviously unknown at such an early stage, but it’s about time we saw someone other than Lex Luthor or Zod, and drawing from the comic books from inspiration is the smartest idea to get fans back on board with a project that’s already being viewed with skepticism due to Abrams’ involvement and the apparent recasting of Henry Cavill.