Adam Driver Almost Joined The DCEU As This Major Villain

In just 10 years, Adam Driver has risen to prominence as one of the most capable actors of his generation. Driver first stole scenes and hearts as Adam Sackler in HBO's "Girls," and has since demonstrated his considerable range across a variety of genres. From acclaimed films by indie directors ("Marriage Story," "Paterson") to epic period dramas ("The Last Duel") and world-renowned franchises (the "Star Wars" sequel trilogy), Driver has acted in an impressive number of projects in a short amount of time. 

So it should come as no surprise then that, at an earlier point in his career, Driver was in the running to play one of DC's comics most formidable villains on the big screen.

Who Would Driver Have Played?

Zack Snyder's vision for DC Comics' most classic characters has always been ... interesting, to say the least. Despite the ongoing Snyderverse drama, the director's loose Justice League trilogy played a big role in establishing DC's cinematic universe. "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" introduced key players (like Wonder Woman) who would carry the shaky new franchise into the future. Other characters, like Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor, left something to be desired.

Luthor is known to DC Comics fans as a cool, collected businessman who rarely loses his head, but the latest big screen version, as played by Eisenberg, introduced a wacky, scenery-chewing iteration of Superman's most indelible adversary. When the 30-year-old actor was cast for the role, many were surprised that Snyder would tap someone so close in age to his Man of Steel, Henry Cavill. But as it happens, Eisenberg wasn't the only young actor in talks to play Luthor: Adam Driver nearly played the bald baddie himself. 

Back in 2014, before Eisenberg's casting was announced, Driver was a rumored contender for a role that had yet to be revealed. Some believed he was in line to play Nightwing, aka Dick Grayson, one of Batman's many proteges. Snyder has since cleared that rumor, telling MTV News that Adam Driver was in consideration for a role, "but it wasn't Nightwing."

A Contemporary Lex Luthor

With that rumor squashed, it makes sense that Driver — himself the same age as Eisenberg — was in talks to play Lex Luthor. The villain has typically been portrayed by men in their 40s, which mirrors his traditional appearance in the comics. However, a younger version of Lex does appear in "Superman: Birthright," a story that establishes him as a somewhat manic, socially-removed teenager. It's more clear now that Snyder was pursuing a version of Luthor similar to his characterization in "Birthright," which gives context to Eisenberg's twitchy, Riddler-adjacent act. 

It would have been intriguing to see Driver's take on this same version of Luthor. Eisenberg's jarring portrayal of Luthor in the Snyderverse makes some of us wonder how Driver would have handled a similar characterization. He's not particularly well-known for embodying such a giddy character, but it can also be argued that he simply hasn't found the right opportunity to do so. Unfortunately, scheduling conflicts with another projects forced Driver to turn the role down

Given the the dissolution of Snyder's working relationship with Warner Bros., Lex Luthor may not be seen again for some time. The uncertain fate for these characters is disappointing, as "Birthright" Lex does eventually mature into the Luthor fans have come to recognize. With Eisenberg's cameo in Snyder's "Justice League," it was pretty clear that he was evolving in that same fashion, so perhaps Eisenberg could've played a version of the character who was more universally embraced. But we'll probably never know.