8 Superman Villains James Gunn’s Reboot Should Use Besides Lex Luthor And General Zod

DC Comics artwork of New 52 Superman
(Image credit: DC Comics)

A couple months ago, it looked like Henry Cavill had a bright future as Superman ahead of him again, as he’d reprised the Man of Steel in Black Adam’s end-credits scene and teased that we’d be seeing more of the character. But that happened before James Gunn and Peter Safran started running DC Studios, and last week, literally seven days after Wonder Woman 3 was reported to longer be happening, it was announced that Cavill’s time as Superman was officially over. Not only that, but Gunn is writing a Superman reboot that looks to be taking some cues from The Batman, in that it will focus on a younger Clark Kent, yet not be an origin story.

So just like Man of Steel did in 2013, this Superman reboot is wiping the slate clean for one of pop culture’s most popular superheroes, which now begs the question: which villain will this new Superman face? After looking over Superman’s rogues gallery, I’ve assembled this list of baddies who Gunn should use in the reboot, with the stipulation that Lex Luthor and General Zod are off the table, as they both have already had enough time to shine in a cinematic setting over the decades. However, I should also note that as far as Luthor is concerned, I wouldn’t mind if he appeared in this reboot as a minor or even a supporting character, I just don’t want him occupying the main antagonist position.

DC Comics artwork of Brainiac

(Image credit: DC Comics)


Why beat around the bush here? After Lex Luthor and General Zod, Brainiac is arguably Superman’s greatest opponent, whether we’re talking about him in his original Coluan form or when he’s depicted as a rogue Kryptonian AI. Either way, the prospect of seeing a cinematic Superman face off against a a super-intelligent foe who shrinks cities from alien worlds, and then destroys said worlds, is too good to pass up, and we might’ve even see Brainiac be used in the now-scrapped Man of Steel 2. The short-lived Krypton series showed that Brainiac can look amazing in live action, so let’s see the character realized with a blockbuster budget

DC Comics artwork of New 52 Metallo

(Image credit: DC Comics)


Superman’s greatest weakness is Kryptonite, so what happens when he runs into an adversary powered by that glowing rock? That’s where Metallo comes in, with the most famous holder of that moniker being John Corben, a criminal who had his brain placed in a Kryptonite-powered robot body after his human body was injured beyond repair. Beyond the Kryptonite in his chest being able to bring Superman to his knees, Metallo is also gifted with abilities like super strength, super speed and generating radioactive blasts. If you’re going to throw Kryptonite into a new Superman movie, you might as well spice things up and have Metallo be the one using it.

DC Comics artwork of Mongul

(Image credit: DC Comics)


Although we briefly spent time with Mongul’s daughter Mongal in The Suicide Squad, her father Mongul has yet to appear in a live-action film, and that’s a shame. As the ruler of Warworld, an artificial planet where he entertains its citizens with gladiatorial games, Mongul is one of the DC Universe’s most powerful extraterrestrial antagonists, packing more than enough might to give Superman a run for his money. If James Gunn is writing a Superman movie where a large portion of the action is set away from Earth, sending Kal-El to Warworld to battle Mongul would be a wise choice.

DC Comics artwork of Parasite

(Image credit: DC Comics)


Various characters have held the Parasite moniker in DC Comics lore, but they all have the same ability: being able to temporarily absorb the life force, knowledge and special abilities of their victims. So while Parasite isn’t a match for Superman on his/her own, all they need to do is make physical contact with the Man of Steel to drain him of his powers, which consequently renders our hero even weaker than an average human. In a genre where punches are exchanged without blinking an eye, it’d be interesting to watch Superman deal with a foe he can’t directly touch if he’s to emerge victorious.

Bizarro in DC Comics

(Image credit: DC Comics)


Bizarro has already gotten some live-action love in shows like Smallville, Supergirl and Superman & Lois, but a villain of this caliber deserves a chance to shine on the big screen. Even if you’re not familiar with the Bizarro character, chances are you’ve used the term ‘bizarro’ in everyday conversation at least once. It would be easy enough to depict Superman’s opposite self as a science experiment gone wrong, but with James Gunn writing, I’d be interested to see what his take on Bizarro World is, i.e. the cube-shaped planet where the Bizarro beings hail from, depending on which DC continuity we’re talking about.

DC Comics artwork of Mister Mxyzptlk

(Image credit: DC Comics)

Mister Mxyzptlk

James Gunn has expressed fondness for Bat-Mite in the past, going so far as to include a reference to the Caped Crusader fanboy imp in Peacemaker.  So if anyone can put a cool spin on the Superman opponent who also hails from the Fifth Dimension, and thus possesses the same reality-warping abilities, it’s Gunn. Mister Mxyzptlk is a tricky villain to use because there’s no way for Superman to defeat him with conventional methods. Instead, Mxyzptlk usually needs to be tricked into defeat, usually by getting him to inadvertently say or spell his name backwards. If Gunn can pull off this kind of conflict without it being too goofy, that’s guaranteed to make this one of the most unique Superman movies ever.

DC Comics artwork of the original Lobo

(Image credit: DC Comics)


There have been rumblings lately that not only is Lobo set to make his live-action debut soon, but that Jason Momoa will play the Czarnian bounty hunter after his time as Aquaman is over. Whether or not that’s true, Lobo would make a good villain for a Superman movie. Yes, he’d function chiefly as the muscle since Lobo wouldn’t be going after the Man of Steel unless someone was paying him (this might be a good way to slip in Lex Luthor as someone pulling strings from behind the scenes), but you can be sure that he’d lay quite the beating on the Last Son of Krypton. The 2020 animated movie Superman: Man of Tomorrow put Lobo to good use, so why not have James Gunn’s reboot follow suit? From there, Lobo could lead his own spinoff.

DC Comics artwork of Toyman

(Image credit: DC Comics)


Like with Parasite, Toyman is a title that several individuals have held, with the original version, Winslow Schott, being introduced in 1943. Each Toyman relies on weaponized versions of children’s playthings, ranging from an acid-squirting water gun to giant, rampaging robots, to antagonize Superman. This is another example where, if not adapted properly, Toyman could come off looking like an inferior villain. That being said, if James Gunn can hone in on Toyman’s psychopathic tendencies and pack the character’s dangerous toys with enough firepower, then it would be worth seeing how this villain does in a cinematic setting.

Should any of the villains be mentioned be announced for this Superman reboot, or if James Gunn decides that it’s worth using Lex Luthor and General Zod again, we’ll let you know. Until then, continue visiting CinemaBlend for all the latest and greatest news on upcoming DC movies. Stream past Superman movies with your HBO Max subscription.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.