The Batman vs. Superman movie has been dominating entertainment headlines ever since Warner Brothers announced that Batman would be joining the Man of Steel sequel in 2015.
And, as if Batman’s mere presence wasn’t enough to send fans into a bloody frenzy, they also announced that the story would take cues from Frank Miller’s graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns, which features a climactic Batman vs. Superman fight.
For superhero fans, that’s like an adrenaline shot to the heart.
The much-maligned casting of Ben Affleck as the Dark Knight vaulted the Batman vs. Superman movie back into the headlines. And the recent casting of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman fuelled further speculation that Warner Brothers is quickly moving toward a Justice League film that would bring together some of the biggest names in DC comics.
But there’s one important question that’s still up in the air: Who’s the villain in a Batman vs. Superman movie? It’s possible that the central conflict could be … well … Superman vs. Batman, with Bruce Wayne trying to guide Clark after the controversial ending of Man of Steel (which would naturally involve Batman kicking Superman’s ass). And with Wonder Woman entering the mix, the movie seems to be running out of narrative space to fit a separate villain.
But Jason Momoa, better known as Khal Drogo from HBO’s Game of Thrones, is reportedly in talks for a role in the Batman vs. Superman movie, as is Joaquin Phoenix, fuelling speculation that either actor could play a villain in the film. If there is going to be a bad guy in the movie, which superhero villains are the top candidates?
This is all rampant speculation — I have no inside knowledge of the Batman vs. Superman movie — but here are my leading candidates for superhero villains in Batman vs. Superman.
Possible Batman vs. Superman Movie Villains
Doomsday: Based on Momoa’s stature (6’4” with plenty of muscle), people are speculating that the role in question is Doomsday. Doomsday is the villain who famously killed the Man of Steel back in the early 90s, just before Bane showed up in Batman comics and “broke the Bat.” The problem is, if you bring in Doomsday, audiences are going to expect Superman to die. And that just doesn’t make sense for an apparent Justice League lead-in. Still, Doomsday is a formidable foe for Superman, which makes him a possibility for the Batman vs. Superman movie.
Darkseid: Warner Bros. already has a lot of characters competing for screen time in the Batman vs. Superman movie. The studio might just focus on the conflict between Superman and Batman, but introduce a villain working in the shadows. That’s a good way to introduce a villain for the Justice League movie without exhausting him for audiences. As one of DC’s biggest superhero villains, Darkseid makes sense for such a part. And Momoa could certainly do justice to the role.
Brainiac: Brainiac is another one of Superman’s greatest villains — a hyperintelligent android who shrinks cities down to collectible size so he can add their knowledge to his. It would be a tricky thing to work in around introductions of Batman and Wonder Woman, but Brainiac is powerful enough to threaten DC’s trinity. It would also be a good way for Warner Bros. to maintain the science fiction elements from Man of Steel in the new Batman vs. Superman movie.
Lobo: The motorcycle-driving, chain-swinging alien is one of DC’s most vicious superhero villains. His distinctively 80s appearance and attitude don’t make him an obvious choice, but DC could use its recent redesign to good effect, in the new Batman vs. Superman movie. Lobo has played on both sides of the superhero villain fence, and he could be written as the emissary of a bigger villain for the Justice League film. His sheer power and over-the-top antics give Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman plenty of reason to team up.
Lex Luthor: This is the one most people are expecting for the new Batman vs. Superman movie. Lex Luthor is Superman’s big bad — the indefatigable nemesis who most perfectly opposes him. Luthor is a brutally successful businessman in addition to a top-tier villain, which gives him the ability to play antagonist to both Superman and Bruce Wayne. This is the role that Joaquin Phoenix is reportedly in talks for, although the actor has typically stayed away from big-budget productions like the Batman vs. Superman movie. Bryan Cranston was also rumored for the role, although that never materialized. Regardless, Luthor seems the most likely villain, and possibly the best.
We’ll have to wait for official casting announcements to find out if the new Batman vs. Superman movie is getting a villain, and who that might be. But with the movie slated for July 17, 2015, the wait probably won’t be very long.