There have been many actors to play the role of Superman over the years, and nearly as many to play his arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor. Everyone has their favourite incarnation of the villain, but DC Studios co-head James Gunn has a clear pick for the best Lex Luthor — Michael Rosenbaum.
Micheal Rosenbaum played Lex Luthor on Smallville, the long-running superhero drama which chronicled the early years of Clark Kent before he became Superman. James Gunn appeared on Rosenbaum’s Inside of You podcast, and when the topic of Luthor came up, Gunn was quick to say, “You are the best Lex, let’s admit it. We know you’re the best Lex.” When Rosenbaum said, “Come on, you’re being funny,” Gunn responded, “I’m not being funny. You’re definitely the best Lex. Definitely.” Although James Gunn wouldn’t confirm that Lex Luthor will return in Superman: Legacy, reports have hinted that the role will be cast once the production nails down Superman and Lois Lane.
The actor played Lex Luthor on Smallville for seven seasons before departing, but he would return for the series finale. After driving his car off a bridge, Luthor was saved by Clark Kent, and the pair quickly became friends. Throughout the series, that friendship was strained and ultimately broken, setting the pair on the path to becoming foes.
James Gunn will write and direct Superman: Legacy, and he has promised that the movie’s tone will be different from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Co-chair of DC Studios Peter Safran has also teased that Superman: Legacy will not be an origin story and will focus on “Superman balancing his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing. Superman represents truth, justice and the American way. He is kindness in a world that thinks of kindness as old fashioned.” While fans were obviously disappointed when Henry Cavill was dismissed from the role so soon after his brief return in Black Adam, I am excited for someone new to take on the character and to see what James Gunn can do with the Man of Steel. Superman: Legacy will hit theaters on July 11, 2025.
Who do you think was the best Lex Luthor?