It's official! Here's who's playing Lex Luthor AND Alfred in Batman vs. Superman

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Jan 31, 2014

Warner Bros. just dropped not one, but two big casting bombs on us, so brace yourselves.

We've been waiting for at least two years now to hear concrete news about the first appearance of Lex Luthor in Zack Snyder's new superhero universe. The character was long rumored to make some kind of appearance in Man of Steel, and when he didn't, speculation quickly ignited that he would definitely show up in the sequel.

Since then, rumors as to who would be cast as the character have constantly flared up on the web, many of them centered around acclaimed Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston. Well, now the rumors can stop, because Lex has been cast. In an official press release dropped today, Warner Bros. announced that Superman's greatest enemy will show up in the Man of Steel sequel, and will be played by ...

Jesse Eisenberg.

Yes, the Oscar-nominated star of The Social Network, who you might've seen most recently in the magician-themed heist thriller Now You See Me, will play one of the most iconic supervillains of all time, Superman's nemesis, a guy who's previously been portrayed on the big screen by Oscar winners Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey. 

"Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940," Snyder said in the press release. "What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain. He’s a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.”

The announcement of Eisenberg as Luthor is certainly unexpected, and he's definitely not the more physically imposing Lex often seen in the pages of DC Comics. He does, however, have a track record of turning in strong performances as an awkward, troubled genius, and he certainly brought his own brand of power to The Social Network. So, if we set aside certain comic-book conventions that we're used to seeing when it comes to the character, we might see some surprising things from Eisenberg. Now, the question is: Will he have hair? 

The other big casting news was a more conventional, but certainly still exciting, announcement. In the same press release, Warner Bros. hit us with the news that Oscar-winning English actor Jeremy Irons (Die Hard With a Vengeance, Reversal of Fortune, Beautiful Creatures) has signed on to play Batman's trusted butler and confidante, Alfred Pennyworth.

“As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne’s most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure. He is an absolutely critical element in the intricate infrastructure that allows Bruce Wayne to transform himself into Batman," Snyder said. "It is an honor to have such an amazingly seasoned and gifted actor as Jeremy taking on the important role of the man who mentors and guides the guarded and nearly impervious façade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne.”

Irons joins legendary actors Michael Gough and Michael Caine in the fraternity of big-screen Alfreds, and while he might not bring the same humor to the role that Caine did, he will certainly bring lots of gravitas to Alfred.

So, two big casting bombs for us to chew on the whole weekend. What do you think? 

(Via Business Wire)

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