The announcement – surprising in both who was eventually cast and that Warners would push the news out on a Friday – comes to end the months of speculation about who would play the key Superman villain. Irons, meanwhile, is an intriguing choice for Alfred, a younger man given how Ben Affleck has said he wants his Bruce to be older and wiser.

Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavoury reputation preceding him since 1940,” says director Zack Snyder in the official press release. “What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain. He’s a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.”

The director adds, “As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne’s most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure. He is an absolutely critical element in the intricate infrastructure that allows Bruce Wayne to transform himself into Batman. It is an honour to have such an amazingly seasoned and gifted actor as Jeremy taking on the important role of the man who mentors and guides the guarded and nearly impervious façade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne.”

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