With James Gunn’s Superman: Legacy in the works, fans are eagerly anticipating the reveal of any details regarding the upcoming film. As of now, little is known about the film except that it will follow a younger version of Superman than the one played by Henry Cavill in the SnyderVerse (sniff sniff) and, if rumours are anything to go by, Lex Luthor is believed to have a presence in The Last Son of Krypton’s upcoming adventure. While the Guardians of the Galaxy director has not revealed whether the supervillain will actually be the antagonist in his reboot, he has shared who he believes is the best Lex Luthor of all time.
In a recent interview on actor Michael Rosenbaum’s Inside of You podcast, DC co-boss James Gunn skillfully dodged questions regarding Lex Luthor’s appearance in the highly anticipated Superman reboot, which is currently set for release on 11 July 2025. Despite Rosenbaum’s pressing inquiries, the 56-year-old filmmaker remained tight-lipped about whether or not Superman’s most iconic nemesis would appear in the upcoming film.
“There’ll be a Lex Luthor, right?” Rosenbaum launched into his line of questioning. “Isn’t that already well known?” Rosenbaum clarified after a long pause from Gunn. While “everyone thinks” there will be a Lex Luthor in the latest iteration of the classic superhero story, the writer and director states that he has never confirmed this.
“If there were a Lex Luthor … promise me … he’ll have gravitas. … He’ll be Lex Luthor. He won’t… be goofy … or crazy! He’s going to be something that’s grounded and real.” Rosenbaum went on, most likely making a subtle dig at Jesse Eisenberg’s twitchy portrayal of the popular villain. The podcasters’ sentiments were shared by Gunn, who then stated that “everything” in his Superman: Legacy script is “grounded and real.”
The director also used the opportunity to laud his close friend’s portrayal of the complex character, dubbing Rosenbaum “the best Lex Luthor” ever to grace the screen. “I’m not joking; you’re undeniably the best, Lex,” he said again. This compliment validates James Gunn’s admiration for Michael Rosenbaum’s portrayal of Lex Luthor and recalls the 50-year-old actor’s successful run on Smallville.
Michael Rosenbaum, who played a young Lex Luthor in Smallville, was undoubtedly one of the best live-action portrayals of the character to date. His portrayal of Lex was riveting, leaving an indelible imprint on the show’s legacy. His portrayal of the iconic villain was nuanced and complex, displaying intelligence and ruthlessness. He was a formidable foe for Clark Kent, and their dynamic was one of the show’s most compelling elements. Rosenbaum’s influence on Smallville lingered long after he left the show after seven seasons. Fans remember him fondly, and many credit him for making Smallville the beloved show it is today.
While Rosenbaum’s portrayal of Lex Luthor was undoubtedly a standout performance, there is certainly room for a new take on the character. A younger actor could bring a fresh perspective to the role (since there will be a younger Supes too), or the writers could explore different aspects of Lex’s personality. Regardless of who takes on the iconic villain, it will be interesting to see how they approach the character and what new layers they can bring to him. And while James Gunn never confirmed the presence of Lex in the upcoming film, he has never denied it either, leaving fans with hope that this iconic villain might make it to the big screen once again.