With the strikes over, casting for James Gunn’s DC universe reboot Superman: Legacy has resumed. Earlier this year, David Corenswet and Rachel Brosnahan were tapped to play Superman and Lois, with a rumor going around that Nicholas Hoult was going to play Lex Luthor. Now, Deadline is reporting Hoult bagged the gig, though he is still, technically, in talks. Apparently, Gunn’s plan was to cast a movie star to play Lex after casting the relatively unknown Corenswet to play Superman. You hear that? Nicholas Hoult is officially a movie star!
This caps off a run of close casting calls for Hoult. He got down to final-round casting for both Top Gun: Maverick and The Batman, and then had to drop out of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One due to scheduling conflicts with The Great. (You know what? The Great is a much better use of his time than playing a disposable villain in the M:I franchise. Though, I think it says something about Hoult that Tom Cruise apparently can’t quit him. I bet we see a Cruise-Hoult match-up eventually.)
So, Nicholas Hoult is finally getting his blockbuster star moment. As a villain, true, but Tom Hiddleston will tell you that playing the villain is more fun anyway. He is now the new new new Lex Luthor, following previous new Lexes Kevin Spacey and Jesse Eisenberg (and they’re all following in the footsteps of Gene Hackman). Of course, this doesn’t count the television Lexes including but not limited to Michael Rosenbaum, Jon Cryer, and Michael Cudlitz, who starred as Lex in the criminally underappreciated Superman & Lois (Superman actually plays better on TV: discuss).
The only hitch is that Superman Legacy is currently dated for release on July 11, 2025. I KNOW I keep saying this, but it’s really the only question that matters when it comes to superheroes right now—is anyone even going to care about a new Superman by 2025? While I believe Marvel is just one good movie away from a rebound, Superman has a more troubled legacy on the big screen. No one since Christopher Reeve has really, er, taken off as Superman. Brandon Routh’s stint in the blue tights was DOA, Henry Cavill’s tenure was troubled from the start, and Nicolas Cage never got his Superman off the ground, until he got spat out in a tasteless cameo in The Flash.
In the 2010s, Captain America scratched the audience itch for a square-jawed good guy, in the 2020s, I’m not convinced people are even looking for that anymore. I’m glad Nicholas Hoult is getting his blockbuster due after so many close calls, but at the same time, I’m also glad he’s not playing Superman, which was an even earlier rumor before his name switched over to the villain column. If this attempt at relaunching the DC cinematic universe (again) doesn’t go well, he won’t wear it. And then he can go back to being a great cinematic silly boy, as the gods intended.