Nicholas Hoult as R. M. Renfield in Renfield

Nicholas Hoult Might Become an Iconic DC Villain? I AM Listening.

The DC Universe has found their new Lex Luthor. James Gunn’s Superman: Legacy continues to build out its cast, this time with the addition of Nicholas Hoult.

Recommended Videos

Hoult joins David Corenswet’s Clark Kent/Superman and Rachel Brosnahan’s Lois Lane as Superman’s famed villain Lex Luthor in the highly anticipated film from Gunn. Although there’s been no official word from the studio, the news broke in an exclusive from Deadline (based on information from “several sources”) and follows the news that María Gabriela de Faría will also be joining the cast as The Engineer. While the casting of Lex Luthor is always an exciting one for fans of Superman as a whole, the inclusion of Nicholas Hoult in the Superman world is doubly exciting for fans of the actor.

Luthor is Superman’s “big bad” but is more appealing as a character when there is an underlying friendship and understanding between the two. It’s why shows like Smallville had such a following for Lex and Clark (played by Michael Rosenbaum and Tom Welling). The role of Lex Luthor on the big screen was previous played by Gene Hackman in the Christopher Reeve movies, Kevin Spacey in Brandon Routh’s take on Supes, and then by Jesse Eisenberg against Henry Cavill, most recently. How Hoult will bring Luthor to life remains to be seen, but he does have experience bring nuance to more complicated bad guys.

Hoult, who became famous as a young actor in movies like About a Boy and the series Skins, is no stranger to the world of superheroes. Having played Hank McCoy in the X-Men universe starting in X-Men: First Class, Hoult brings an earnest quality to a lot of the roles he plays, even the more villainous ones.

Hoult knows how to play the bad boys

Previously starring as Peter on The Great, he was a fan favorite despite being often horrible to Catherine (Elle Fanning), and that was all down to Hoult and his performance. Pair that with Hoult’s take on Tyler in films like The Menu and we can see how he handles characters who lean into their more maniacal tendencies. While many of his more villainous roles have had softer elements to them—more recently, his performance as Renfield in the film Renfield being a perfect example of this—Lex Luthor will be pushing him more into the darker side of his abilities.

Whether this version of Superman and Lex will be friends or just enemies is something we’ll have to wait and see, but it will be interesting to see how Gunn approaches the pair.

And look, at least we know that Hoult can rock the bald look. We saw it in his Mad Max: Fury Road look as Nux. Overall, this casting is just very exciting because Luthor is complicated. He’s not just a bad guy but one that has layers to him, especially when it comes to Superman. Casting an actor like Hoult, who approaches these types of characters with nuance, means that our Lex in Superman: Legacy might have a more complicated relationship with Clark, which has me even more excited to see what Gunn is cooking for us.

(featured image: Universal Pictures)

The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her current obsession is Glen Powell's dog, Brisket. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.