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For over seven decades, Lex Luthor has cemented himself as one of the most famous comic book villains ever. He typically doesn't have natural superpowers, but he makes up for that with his intelligent, scheming brain. That continued earlier this year in his late live action appearance, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, played by Jesse Eisenberg. Unlike Man of Steel's main antagonist, Zod, Luthor made it through his DC Extended Universe debut alive, albeit imprisoned for masterminding the Capitol bombing, kidnapping Martha Kent and numerous other evil acts.
Lex Luthor did enough in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to distinguish himself as a dangerous foe, and the franchise could just keep in behind bars permanently. However, the movie's ending and various reports and rumors have made it clear that his time in this universe isn't done yet. Finding out what's in store for Luthor next could take as little as a month or as long as nearly two years, but while we wait, we've collected the main reasons why the criminal mastermind/mad scientist is still important to the DCEU.
Warning: full spoilers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - The Ultimate Edition are ahead!
He Knows Superman And Batman's Secret Identities
Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor may be eccentric and unhinged, but like his comic book and other media counterparts, he's still a smart guy. Not only did he decide that Clark Kent and Superman were one and the same (the glasses and different hairstyle just weren't enough that time), but in the Ultimate Edition. he also revealed that he knew that Bruce Wayne is Batman. Luther admitted to the Caped Crusader that because he's been deemed insane, no one will believe him, but we don't think that's entirely true. There has to someone out there who's willing to listen to Luthor, and if he tells them Superman and Batman's secret identities, that's going to be trouble for both of these men. Okay, maybe not so much Superman if he doesn't take back the Clark Kent identity when he's eventually resurrected, but for Batman, an identity outing would be detrimental to his crime fighting activities.
He's Cooped Up With Some Notable Batman Rogues
In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's theatrical cut, Lex Luthor was simply sent to prison for his crimes, but in the Ultimate Edition, we learned that because he's been declared insane, he's "not fit to stand trial." Unfortunately for him, that doesn't spare him from punishment, as Batman tells him that he's arranged to have Luthor sent to Arkham Asylum, the same place where all of Batman's mentally unstable enemies are sent following capture. By itself, that's a fun Easter Egg, but we also have to take into account the next DCEU movie, Suicide Squad. In early 2015, it was rumored that Lex Luthor would play some kind of role in that movie with a one report even saying he would be one of its primary villains. Given Luthor's current status, that's extremely unlikely, but with many of the Batman villains in Suicide Squad coming from Arkham, maybe Jesse Eisenberg will cameo as Luthor, providing another way for the DCEU movies to connect with one another. At least we can count on not seeing Joker hazing Luthor as an "Arkham welcoming ritual." That would have bumped Suicide Squad to an R rating.
He Knows Steppenwolf Is Coming To Earth
When Batman threatened Lex Luthor in prison, the newly-bald antagonist mentioned that the "bell has been rung," and that some powerful being was coming to Earth. The theatrical cut didn't provide additional information about this figure, but the Communion deleted/reincorporated scene revealed it to be Steppenwolf, Darkseid's uncle. Luthor was communicating with Steppenwolf before the SWAT team captured him, and judging by the three cubes that were also being presented, he presumably also knows that the general from Apokolips is coming to Earth to find the Mother Boxes. Jesse Eisenberg has since confirmed that he will appear in Justice League, though his exact involvement has yet to be revealed. There are two scenarios that seem most plausible regarding how he'll fit into the 2017 blockbuster. One, Steppenwolf frees Luthor and brings him into his master scheme. Two, Batman remembers what Luthor told him in prison and forces him to help the Justice League stop Apokolips. Either way, he has to play some kind of important role, but whether he makes it out of the movie alive is another matter.