While Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was met with polarizing reactions, given that the character returned for a cameo appearance at the end of Justice League, it was expected that he’d continue playing an important role in the DC Extended Universe. However, the direction of this franchise has changed significantly since the release of Justice League, and a recent comment from Eisenberg indicates he doesn’t expect that he’ll be asked to reprise Luthor.
Jesse Eisenberg has been making the press rounds for his latest movie, Zombieland: Double Tap, which includes doing some interviews alongside his co-star Woody Harrelson. In one interview, when both actors were asked if they knew when they’d be playing their respective comic book characters next, after Harrelson responded with a blunt “Yes” regarding when we’ll see him as Carnage (cough Venom 2 cough), Eisenberg interrupted him to say the following:
Obviously Jesse Eisenberg was joking around in that particular instance while speaking with ComicBookMovie, but nevertheless, it seems like he’s operating with the mindset that his time as Lex Luthor is over. Last year, only five months after Justice League came out, the actor said that although he enjoyed playing Luthor, he wasn’t sure about if he’d be back. As things stand now, it’s unlikely.
Lex Luthor served as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’s main antagonist, determined to cause the Man of Steel’s downfall just like his comic book counterpart has been for so many years. He orchestrated the events that led to the two title heroes clashing and unleashed Doomsday on the world when his initial plan failed. Luthor was thrown into prison at the end of the movie, and in the Ultimate Edition, Batman told the now-bald evildoer that he was being moved to Arkham Asylum.
When Justice League came around, Lex Luthor was absent from the main story, but during the post-credits scene, it was shown he’d escaped from Arkham and met with Slade Wilson, a.k.a. Deathstroke, about gathering together other like-minded individuals to form a different kind of league. That was obviously foreshadowing the emergence of a group like the Injustice League, the Secret Society or the Legion of Doom, and Luthor is a logical candidate for leading such a group.
Alas, given that Justice League underperformed critically and commercially, plans to make a sequel were put on ice, and the wider DCEU has de-prioritized interconnectivity in favor of standalone features. So the chances of seeing Lex Luthor leading his own super villain team have dwindled significantly, and since it also doesn’t look like Man of Steel 2 will happen, I don’t blame Jesse Eisenberg for thinking his tenure as Lex Luthor is over.
It’s possible that could change down the line, but for now, Jesse Eisenberg doesn’t seem too bothered. He had his time in the world of superhero movies, and it’s not like he’s lacking for work. In addition to Zombieland: Double Tap, Eisenberg has also appeared this year in The Art of Self-Defense and Vivarium, and he’s set to star in the Marcel Marceau biopic Resistance.