Superman's Legacy Gets a Villainous Twist Without Lex Luthor

Superman's Legacy Gets a Villainous Twist Without Lex Luthor

James Gunn's upcoming film Superman: Legacy is highly anticipated among comic book fans However, the decision to include Lex Luthor as the main villain is a contentious one Some argue that the film would benefit from a fresh take on Superman's adversaries, while others believe that including Luthor is essential to the character's legacy

The hype surrounding the upcoming Superman: Legacy movie, set to release in 2025, has once again thrust the Man of Steel into the spotlight. Written and directed by James Gunn, known for his work on Guardians of the Galaxy and The Suicide Squad, the film is expected to introduce a new era of the DC Universe on the big screen. Alongside Superman himself, viewers can anticipate new versions of beloved characters such as Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Krypto the Superdog. Notably, Superman's long-standing nemesis, Lex Luthor, will also feature in the film, although the specifics of his role remain unclear. While Luthor is not one to take a backseat to any other villain, there are compelling reasons why this decision could ultimately benefit the movie's plot.

While Luthor may not be the primary villain in Superman: Legacy, that doesn't mean he would only make a brief appearance. In fact, modern depictions of the character tend to show him as more of a schemer who works behind the scenes rather than a direct threat to the world. This means he could easily be introduced as a secondary antagonist, while a more overt danger propels the plot forward.

James Gunn's previous superhero films have all featured a wildcard antagonist who complicates the conflict between the heroes and the main villain. In Guardians of the Galaxy, it was Yondu; in Vol. 2, it was Ayesha and the Sovereign. Even in The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker's betrayal threw a wrench in the Squad's mission. In Superman: Legacy, Lex Luthor would be a perfect fit for this type of role.

According to Gunn, the main focus of the upcoming film will be Clark's attempt to reconcile his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing. It would make perfect sense for him to face both a human and alien antagonist throughout the movie, with Luthor serving as the former. Luthor's vehement hatred towards aliens and his belief that he is Earth's true protector could lead to an uneasy alliance between Superman and Luthor by the end of the film, as they team up against a common enemy. Although this is all mere speculation, it is possible for Luthor to have a significant role in Legacy even without being the main antagonist.

However, Luthor cannot remain a secondary villain forever. Eventually, he must step into the spotlight and assert himself as Superman's ultimate archenemy. By introducing Luthor as a secondary antagonist in Legacy, he becomes a significant force in the new DCU, setting the stage for his eventual takeover as the main villain in a future sequel. Think Yahya Abdul-Mateen II's portrayal of Black Manta in Aquaman - although subordinate to Ocean Master in the film's plot, Black Manta is a major threat and established as Aquaman's future nemesis.

Alternatively, taking a page from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Luthor could follow in the footsteps of Loki. Rather than serving as a one-and-done antagonist, Loki remains a prominent character throughout several films, with his role evolving and growing over time. He goes from being Thor's personal nemesis to a threat to the entire planet, before ultimately becoming a hero. While Luthor should not follow Loki's exact character arc, he could still be effective in a recurring antagonist role for the Superman movies, rather than being a one-time villain.

The inclusion of other classic Superman villains in the film would also add depth and complexity to the storyline, creating new challenges for Superman to overcome.

However, using Luthor as a secondary antagonist in Legacy would offer a significant advantage by providing an opportunity for a new Superman villain to shine on the big screen. Despite appearing in feature films since the 1950s, only a few of Superman's comic book foes have made their way onto the silver screen. By reducing Luthor's role in his DCU debut, it would allow for much-needed exposure to a Superman villain who has yet to make a cinematic debut.

The most obvious choice for the primary antagonist role in Legacy is Brainiac, who is arguably the most prominent Superman villain never to have appeared in a film. As a powerful alien invader with close ties to Krypton in some depictions, Brainiac would be an ideal fit for the film's aforementioned themes. However, there are numerous members of Superman's rogues' gallery who could easily make their first big-screen appearances in Legacy, including Metallo, Parasite, Mongul, and the Ultra-Humanite.

By deviating from the usual portrayal of Superman's villains, Superman: Legacy has the opportunity to introduce a fresh antagonist to the franchise. This new character can offer a unique perspective on the Superman mythos while still honoring the original source material. Despite this, Lex Luthor can still play a crucial role in the film, positioning him as a significant player in the DC Universe. It remains to be seen what part Luthor will play in the upcoming movie, but Superman: Legacy has the potential to revolutionize Luthor's character on the big screen.