James Gunn Reportedly Has a Shortlist for the DCU’s Lex Luthor

Brothers Bill and Alexander Skarsgård are reportedly on the shortlist to play Lex Luthor in James Gunn‘s Superman: Legacy.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Superman: Legacy has moved onto the screen testing phase for the lead roles of Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane. Apparently, once Superman and Lois have been cast, writer-director Gunn will “quickly pull the trigger on the next wave.”

The outlet reports that there is already a shortlist for the role of Lex Luthor — and the Skarsgård brothers are on it. Interestingly, Nicholas Hoult — who is reportedly one of the top picks for the role of Superman — initially wanted the role of Lex Luthor. It’s currently unclear if he will put himself back in the running in the event he doesn’t get the job as the Man of Steel in Gunn and Peter Safran‘s rebooted DC Universe.

Jesse Eisenberg previously played Lex Luthor in the now-defunct DC Extended Universe. Michael Cudlitz currently occupies the role on The CW’s television series Superman & Lois. Notably, Bill Skarsgård in particular is no stranger to superhero projects. He previously portrayed Zeitgeist in Deadpool 2 and Kro in Eternals. Similarly, Hoult previously starred as Hank McCoy/Beast in the X-Men franchise. Alexander Skarsgård, meanwhile, is known for his roles in films like Zoolander and The Northman.

The search for Superman: Legacy’s leads

According to THR, there are three main contenders for the role of Clark Kent in Superman: Legacy. The aforementioned Hoult is one. The other two are Tom Brittney and David Corenswet. Meanwhile, the three main contenders for Lois Lane are Rachel Brosnahan, Phoebe Dynevor, and Emma Mackey.

Apparently, Gunn held screen tests on the weekend of June 17. During the first day of testing, the actors were split into three distinct pairs: Hoult and Brosnahan, Brittney and Dynevor, and Corenswet and Mackey. During these tests, the male actors were in costume as Clark Kent, not Superman.

Hoult, Brittney, and Corenswet did suit up as the Big Blue Boy Scout on the second day of testing. For these tests, only Mackey was brought in to play Lois Lane opposite the three Superman hopefuls. However, this does not necessarily mean that Mackey is the front runner to play Lois in Superman: Legacy.

To that end, despite certain details of the screen tests emerging, it still remains to be seen who will actually be cast as Superman: Legacy’s leads. Furthermore, Lex Luthor isn’t the only major role that still needs to be cast once Superman and Lois are found. Gunn also reportedly needs to cast the members of The Authority, a DC superhero team that will be pre-established in the new DCU.

Superman: Legacy is scheduled to open in theaters on July 11, 2025.