There have been a lot of controversial adaptations in the world of the superhero genre. Unfortunately, it's the name of the game when it comes to adapting fan-favorite characters and storylines that are decades old—some writers end up wanting to make some drastic changes to the source material for a litany of reasons. One of the biggest examples of this was with Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor in Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman.
This particular version of the character was no longer a bald, highly refined, and meticulous CEO out to rid the world of Superman. Sure, he still had a thing against the Man of Steel, but this time around, he resembled more of a Mark Zuckerberg type—young, entitled, and erratic.
Needless to say, many fans did not take kindly to such drastic changes to one of the most famous supervillains of all time. It's understandable why the creative talent behind the DCEU movie wanted to switch things up, seeing as how the character has been adapted time and time again, but what they landed on did not hit the right notes for a good majority of audiences.
Now, years after his original debut, Eisenberg shared some comments on the role's legacy and how he was received.
The Batman v Superman Backlash
In an interview with Deadline during the 28th Sarajevo Film Festival, Batman v Superman actor Jesse Eisenberg commented on the general reception to his big bag villain and if he'd ever end up in a DC movie again.
The actor that "people hate[d] [him]," even though lots of thought was put into the performance as Eisenberg had conversations with the writer, his acting coach, and thought plenty on the subject himself as well:
“I felt very personal about it... the writer, Chris Terrio, is a very serious writer, and he’s a very emotional person. He thought a lot about my character, and I thought a lot about my character too. I talked with my acting coach about the character a lot, about his backstory with his father and his emotional life—and then people hate me.”
He noted how "[he'd] be shocked if [he] wound up in a DC movie [again," but that it wasn't something he's distressed about, as he admitted the superhero genre "is not an important genre in [his] life:"
“I’d be shocked if I wound up in a DC movie, but it would be a pleasant shock... Listen, I’m not a comic book fan. To me, it was not playing a role that I’d envisioned since childhood. To me, it was a chance to play this great character that this great writer wrote, and I loved doing that. So, to play it is a joy, and to not play it isn’t something that I’m going to be ashamed to tell my kids about, because that is not an important genre in my life, even though I loved doing that movie... yeah. Because as an actor, you do all kinds of different things, and sometimes great roles show up in really commercial things and sometimes terrible roles show up in independent films.”
When Will Fans See Lex Luthor Again?
Jesse Eisenberg certainly doesn't undersell it: fans really did hate him. But, to the actor's credit, the problems weren't really with the performer himself at all. The problems resided in the writing, and most audiences would likely agree with that.
The actor certainly doesn't have to worry about being called upon again for a DC comics project, at least as Lex Luthor. Zack Snyder's vision for his future DCEU is almost completely dead at this point, with the only remnants being the remaining actors of Ben Affleck, Jason Mamoa, and Gal Gadot, and potentially Ezra Miller.
In terms of when fans might see Lex Luthor again in live-action, rumor has it that it won't be for the DCEU. Instead, whispers indicate the character will be showing up in the upcoming fourth season of Titans—which may be the series' last, given all of the changes happening at Warner Bros.
At the end of the day, Snyder's take on the character was a miss more than he was a hit. Though, for those disappointed, fans will have plenty more adaptations of the evil CEO in the future to look forward to given how big the character is.
Batman v Superman is now streaming on HBO Max.