In another shake up for the DC Extended Universe, it now appears as if Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor has been completely cut from this November’s Justice League.
Eisenberg, of course, played Lex in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; a portrayal that got a largely negative response from both fans and critics alike. Instead of drawing up images of the classical depiction of Superman’s greatest nemesis, BvS ended up giving us a Luthor who was like an overenthusiastic child who’d dosed up on one too many Skittles. In fairness to Warner Brothers, casting Eisenberg as Lex was a bold move, albeit a risky one, that they, at least in some ways, should have been applauded for making. Yes, the casting was totally out of left field and had us all scratching our heads, but so too did the news that A Knight’s Tale and Brokeback Mountain’s Heath Ledger had signed on to play The Dark Knight’s Joker or, to go even further back, that Mr. Mom’s Michael Keaton had somehow bafflingly landed the role of the Caped Crusader in Tim Burton’s Batman. Regardless, while Eisenberg being cast as Luthor was certainly a daring move, unfortunately it ended up being pretty much a total dud. And now, with Joss Whedon having taken over Justice League, it seems that Lex is taking a back seat for that upcoming ensemble effort.
Initially, Eisenberg’s Luthor was pegged to return for Justice League, with most reports stating that he had actually shot several scenes for the film. Given how Steppenwolf is to be the ‘big bad’ of this picture – the same Steppenwolf who a Batman v Superman deleted scene saw Luthor engaging with – it seemed as if Lex would be there to tie things together and watch the action unravel. According to the usually reliable Batman-News, though, the latest cut of Justice League doesn’t feature Luthor.
Many will see this as a positive movie for the most part, and it again looks like it could well be a case of Whedon stamping his own identity on the picture. After Zack Snyder stepped away from Justice League earlier this year to deal with the tragic death of his daughter, Whedon was put in charge of some fairly hefty additional shoots and reshoots. Some of these were done to alter the tone of the film a tad, some were reportedly done to tweak the character of Ray Fisher’s Cyborg (you’ll always be a Titan to us, Vic!), and now it appears that these changes have ultimately led to Luthor being left on the cutting room floor.
Of course, the more control and say Joss Whedon has on anything within the genre community is largely seen as a plus, and this wouldn’t be the first time he’s made some similar changes to a huge superhero effort – with him previously cutting William Hurt’s General Ross from Avengers Assemble. Given how well thought of Whedon is, it should be interesting to see how Justice League turns out. It would seem harsh to judge him too much on this film due to how he took over what many had already labelled a sinking ship, but you can’t not think that his involvement can’t help but to make anything better. Similarly, for better or for worse, plenty of Justice League credit needs to go to Zack Snyder after he put so much work in to the film over the past few years.
Ultimately, we’ll all have to see how things play out when Justice League is released across the globe from November 15th (November 17th, for us Brits), but don’t be expecting Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor to be present when this coming together of some of DC’s greatest heroes lands on the silver screen.
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