Look out Supergirl — Lex Luthor is finally on his way to National City.
Supergirl producers confirmed Thursday that the iconic villain will make his first appearance on The CW series in its fourth season, which gets underway this weekend when the show moves to its new Sunday night 8/7pm time slot.
“We’re beyond excited to introduce iconic villain, Lex Luthor, to Supergirl and to weave him into our story this season,” executive producers Robert Rovner and Jessica Queller said in a joint statement.
Who will portray the evil genius who has more on-screen history than any other DC Comics villain? Time will tell. Casting will “begin shortly,” according to The CW and Warner Bros. TV.
The brilliant, brutal and (usually) bald Luthor made his first appearance in DC Comics way back in April 1940. Luthor is arguably is second only to The Joker among the most iconic DC villains. His loathing of Superman has been framed differently over the years — sometimes he is bitter envious of the Man of Steel, other times the hero is simply in the way of Luthor’s megalomaniacal plans.
Luthor has a long and illustrious history in Hollywood adaptations. His first appearance, however, was a low-key one: In 1950, when Kirk Alyn was Superman, actor Lyle Talbot (later in Ed Wood’s infamously bad Plan 9 From Outer Space) played the title villain in Atom Man vs. Superman — but was revealed to be none other than Luthor in disguise.
Luthor’s first signature screen moment came almost three decades later. That’s when Gene Hackman was tapped by director Richard Donner to portray Luthor in the 1978 film Superman, which was the most expensive film in history at the time of its release. The $55 million Warner Bros. classic went on to make $300 million and usher in the modern era of superhero blockbusters.
Kevin Spacey (Superman Returns in 2006) and Jesse Eisenberg (Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016) have also brought Luthor to the big screen. On television, John Shea brought a debonair flair (and a full head of hair) to the character on Lios and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman in the 1990s. Michael Rosenbaum memorably played the young version of Luthor for a decade on Smallville.
Luthor has been a presence — in name and through influence — since the Supergirl series first took flight October 2015.
We’ve talked about having Lex on the show since it’s inception and we’re excited to have him finally arrive. We can’t wait for him to shake things up in National City and watch him go toe-to-toe with not only Supergirl, but his sister, Lena Luthor.”
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