During a recent podcast appearance, DC Studios co-head and Superman: Legacy director James Gunn explained how he’d like Lex Luthor to act in the new DC Universe. Gunn later took to Twitter to clarify these statements, specifically which version of the character he subtly threw shade at.
James Gunn recently took a seat on Michael Rosenbaum’s Inside of You podcast to talk about taking over DC studios with Peter Safran and the pressures of tackling Superman: Legacy. During the podcast Rosenbaum, who had previously played Lex Luthor on Smallville, asked Gunn if a potential DCU Lex Luthor would have the gravitas of the character instead of acting like someone else.
While James Gunn assured both fans and Michael Rosenbaum that any potential DCU Lex Luthor would be “grounded and real”, he slid in a quick jab that “maybe someone” had played the character in a less grounded way in the past.
Many fans immediately assumed this was a dig at Jesse Eisenberg’s version of Lex Luthor in Batman V. Superman, which was heavily criticized as “too goofy” in the eyes of many fans, some saying he played The Riddler more than he did Lex. James Gunn was quick to take to Twitter to clarify this wasn’t a dig at Eisenberg, but rather Gene Hackman’s portrayal of the character in the Richard Donner Superman films:
James Gunn has criticized Gene Hackman’s portrayal of Lex Luthor in the past, repeating in the above tweet that it was a bit too campy for his taste, despite otherwise loving the Richard Donner Superman films, even naming the first one his second favorite superhero movie of all time. He also adds that, even in spite of not being the biggest fan of Hackman’s portrayal of the character, he believes him to be one of the greatest actors of his era.
While most of this drama seems to have been stirred from a simple misunderstanding, it does give fans a look on how James Gunn would handle Lex Luthor in Superman: Legacy or any future project he may appear in. It’s clear Gunn is a fan of a much more grounded version of Lex, meaning he likely won’t be cartoonishly incompetent or too diabolical, likely similar to Michael Rosenbaum’s take on the character. Hopefully for fans they get to see that version of Lex sooner rather than later in the DCU.
Superman’s DC Universe Future
Superman: Legacy is a much-anticipated project, given that Clark Kent has been an integral part of the DC Universe for over 80 years, with various iterations and adaptations across different media. James Gunn promises to explore the character’s origins and his struggles to balance his dual identities as Clark and Superman while fighting off villains and saving the world.
James Gunn and Peter Safran told journalists that their vision for the DC Universe includes locked scripts, wiggle room and a unified storyline across film, television, animation and video game projects. The two explained that the DC Universe could bring back elements from previous DC regimes, meaning that their eight-to-year plan is not a full reboot.
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