All the trailers and promotional material for the upcoming Batman v Super: Dawn of Justice movie have highlighted that we are going to get a story with characters that are different from what we know and expect. One unexpected surprise was Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg). This Lex is a complete 180 from the character we know from DC's source material. Not only does he have hair but he is also much younger than anyone had expected.
There have been two faux articles written in Wired and Fortune, as well as a Twitter account under the name Alexander Luthor that may offer some insight into the character. These sources suggest that, unlike the industrialist we know from the comics, this Lex is a mixture of Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg and, possibly Bill Gates. So, who is this Lex Luthor, and what else can we learn from these sources?
Unlike the comic book, and other movie incarnations, Eisenberg's Lex Luthor is very different from the character we are familiar with. Unlike the comic book character we know (and love), Eisenberg's version was born into wealth. This Lex is Alexander Joseph Luthor Jr. His father, Alexander Luthor Sr., passed away unexpectedly ten years ago, and is the one who built LexCorp into, as a recent Fortune article puts it, "an empire of oil and machinery."
2. He Is A Tech Genius Who Transformed His Father's Company
Despite being born into wealth and privilege, young Lex is a genius who transformed his father's oil and industrial company into a defense and tech giant. He is the youngest ever to be named Fortune's Businessperson of the Year and is on the magazine's list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. As a tech company, Lex Corp is second only to Wayne Enterprises.
In many ways, this is a good way to bring the character into the modern age. When Lex was created, he was a criminal. It was not until John Byrne's reboot of the character in 1986 that he was introduced as a businessman instead. Today, young entrepreneurs are likely to make their money with startups and follow the path of young CEOs like Jack Dorsey, or Mark Zuckerberg.
3. He Collects Meteorites
He has a world-famous meteorite collection. Given how expensive some rocks can go for, it is understandable that he has used his wealth to amass a reputable collection. Given that we see him with a Kryptonite fragment in the trailer, it makes one wonder why he would want a glowing green rock. Turns out, we may know the reason already.
4. He Is Concerned With The "Super-Being Threat" The Planet Faces
We know [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice](tag:711870) follows from the events of Man of Steel. While there are many people who see all-powerful super-powered beings as a good thing, there are others who think differently. In his Wired interview, Lex says:
The world is changing faster than we anticipated; we’ve all seen it. More than ever, we need leaders who not only comprehend the new threats facing us, but who will seriously and thoughtfully address them.
We know that the movie continues after the events of Man of Steel, where Metropolis was almost completely destroyed by Kryptonians. Terrorists using weapons of mass destruction is one thing, but super-powered beings capable of leveling cities on their own is another.
5. He Is Arrogant (Well, He Thinks He Is Better Than Most People)
He is brilliant with none of the humility that comes with knowing how smart he really is. In his Wired interview with Bill Troupe, he says:
LEX LUTHOR: We should all be careful when we elevate anyone, human or alien, to “super” status.
RON TROUPE: Because we’re all equal.
LEX LUTHOR: Well that’s just absurd. No – I’m saying we need to be selective and elevate the right people. The right human people.
Telling Lois that she is not smart enough to understand what is happening also says it all. He is smart and he knows it. Not surprisingly, this is in line with the Post-Crisis character. Luthor has always been portrayed as being smarter than Superman and a dangerous foe because of that. It must be noted that playing the uber-smart tech genius is familiar territory to Eisenberg when he played the role of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network.
6. He Sides With Apple (Probably)
His company is introducing "the world's most private and secure operating system" called Lex/OS. Creating such an OS means he is like Tim Cook and Edward Snowden. So, while he is happy to work with the government to create weapons, he also believes people need robust cryptography to protect the devices they use. Probably something the FBI might not be happy about.
7. His Company Is One Of The Biggest Military Contractors In The DC Cinematic Universe
While Wayne Enterprises has eschewed military and defense contracts, Lex Corp. is the biggest contractor in DC's Cinematic Universe with $2 billion spent in R&D research. Next in line is Kord Industries. This company is possibly owned by Ted Kord - the secret identity of the Blue Beetle. Not too far behind is Stagg Enterprises, possibly owned by Simon Stagg. Stagg is father-in-law to Rex Mason who is the superhero, Metamorpho - the Element Man.
Fans will also notice that Queen Industries also features here. Could this mean we will see the Green Arrow in the future? While there are no plans, this confirms Oliver Queen's existence in the DC Extended Universe.
8. He Believes He Is Fighting A War
While he considers the Batman's methods to be antiquated, he believes that he is fighting a war. In his Wired interview, he says:
I’m ready to sit down with whatever task force the government has assembled — in the interest of sharing intelligence and building solutions together. If she… they… Argus… the government, whatever you want to call it, has a real interest in fighting for the future, they ought to work with those of us who are already on the front lines... My father would say that offense wins games. But he’s dead and I say you’re only as good as your defense.
Whether that war is noble or not, remains to be seen.
Who is Lex Luthor?
Though we know little about Dawn of Justice, it appears Lex Luthor could be a very complex villain. From what we gather from the Wired and Fortune articles, as well as the movie trailers, it appears this Lex Luthor is a highly intelligent and very driven individual. He seems to be a mix of some of the most influential tech CEOs of our time and this brings the character we know, into the modern age. Whether the character remains compelling or not when the movie comes out remains to be seen but, whatever happens, he is going to be a major player for some time to come.
All will be revealed in 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,' which hits theaters on March 25th, 2016.