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Ten villains for Henry Cavill's Superman

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Lex Luthor

© DC Comics

Casting is well and truly underway on Zack Snyder's Superman reboot. Having already unveiled Henry Cavill as his Man of Steel, the helmer announced that Amy Adams will fill the role of Lois Lane. However, the movie's antagonist remains veiled in shadow. Kal-El has locked horn with a variety of foes over the years - from alien warlords to evil geniuses - so the possibilities are many. Here are ten of the strongest contenders.

Lex Luthor
Alexander Joseph 'Lex' Luthor isn't just Superman's arch nemesis, he's one of the most iconic villains in the history of popular culture. Debuting in Action Comics #40 during the Silver Age, Luthor was originally envisioned as a power-mad scientist with genius level intellect. He became hell-bent on destroying Superman after losing his hair in a lab accident the hero unwittingly caused. The character was later reimagined as a Machiavellian industrialist, who hides his evil intentions beneath a philanthropic fa├žade. This particular incarnation went on to become president of the United States in the DC Universe, before being deposed by the Justice League.
Chances of inclusion: Given that Luthor has had a hand in almost Superman plotline ever conceived, and consistently appeared opposite the Man of Steel in countless film, television and early radio series, his involvement in Snyder's reboot is almost a given. However, since that the helmer has promised us hand-to-hand fights, we'd put good money on another villain lining up alongside him.

General Zod
General Zod from Superman II
Like Superman himself, General Zod is a Kryptonian survivor equipped with superhuman abilities under Earth's sun. The villain escaped certain death during Krypton's destruction due to his imprisonment in the Phantom Zone - a prison dimension of the DC Universe. Zod regularly escapes his incarceration (usually with allies Non and Ursa in tow) and targets Superman, only to have his plans foiled and end up back in the Zone. The character's most recent incarnation has a somewhat different objective - to reclaim his son, who is currently in the custody of Clark Kent and Lois Lane under the alias of Chris Kent. Zod appeared in the 1980 movie Superman II played by Terence Stamp.
Chances of inclusion: If rumour and speculation is to be believed, Zod is the front runner to line up alongside Lex Luthor in the film. He certainly fits in with the "other people might refer to as Superman" description, and would no provide us with some devastating fistfights. Viggo Mortensen was previously link with the role, before Snyder dismissed such reports. Perhaps this is the part Edgar Ramirez is being lined up to play?

Bizarro
One method of creating an effective comic book villain is to deliver a dark mirror image of the hero, and in dreaming up Bizarro, writer Otto Binder and artist George Papp took this literally. The anti-Superman came to be when Lex Luthor exposed Kal-El to a duplication ray in another Silver Age story. Since the Crisis On Infinite Earths event reshaped the DC Universe, two alternate incarnations of the character have emerged - one a flawed clone created by Luthor, the other the result of a bargain between the Joker and the reality-bending imp Mister Mxyzptlk.
Chances of inclusion: In a recent interview with Jake Hamilton, Snyder said "There could be a character in the movie that other people might refer to as Superman". While Bizarro could very well be described this way, he isn't the only character that fits the bill. That said, the alternate Man of Steel is an ideal candidate to appear alongside Luthor, given the role that Superman's nemesis played in his creation (well, in two versions of it at least). Boardwalk Empire's Michael Shannon - who was recently linked with the project - could be a great fit for this role.

Brainiac
Brainiac and Superman
The key to a successful Superman foe is the ability to outsmart the Man of Steel. Few beings in the DC Universe can match him physically, so villains being one step ahead of him is the key to his downfall (hence why Lex Luthor is such an effective nemesis). When Otto Binder and Al Plastino created Brainiac in 1958, they took this principal to the max. An alien being with twelfth-level intellect, time manipulation powers and the ability to mimic Superman's attributes, the supervillain is one of the deadliest threats in the DC Universe. Brainiac gets his kicks by shrinking down cities and placing them in bottles for his collection. In a memorable plot twist, one of those cities just so happened to be Kandor from Superman's home planet Krypton. The character recently served as the antagonist in the MMO video game DC Universe Online, in which he caused problems for Superman and Lex Luthor alike.
Chances of inclusion: As Brainiac is something of a fan favourite and one of Superman's deadliest threats, he makes a strong case for inclusion in the upcoming movie, especially considering he's yet to appear in a live action film. Perhaps Watchmen's Billy Crudup would be a good choice for this role given his connection to Snyder and the tenuous similarities between Brainiac and Doctor Manhattan?

Darkseid
A god-like alien warlord from the planet Apokolips, Darkseid is a force to be reckoned with. This immortal possesses powers to rival Superman's, in addition to various psionic abilities and the devastating Omega Effect. The character was created by comic book legend Jack Kirby, who is said to have modelled his physical appearance on actor Jack Palance. Darkseid has played a major role in many of the events that have shaped the modern DC Universe, including Final Crisis and Batman RIP, and serves as the antagonist in the final season of Smallville.
Chances of inclusion: As Darkseid more or less matches the Man of Steel physically, his inclusion in the film would give us the brawler Snyder has pledged to deliver. However, there are more obvious choices to get the franchise up and running again, so perhaps he best saved for a future sequel.

Doomsday
Doomsday
Created by writer-artist Dan Jurgens in 1992, Doomsday is like something out of everyone's worst nightmares. A hulking alien titan with no emotions beyond murderous rage, the creature even managed to kill the Man of Steel in he legendary Death Of Superman plotline. He has since appeared in several plotlines - most recently the Doomsday Wars crossover - and various other media.
Chances of inclusion: As much as we'd like to see Snyder's take on this behemoth, Doomsday is almost certainly one for a future sequel. When the time comes for his cinematic debut, though, we can probably expect a CGI effort that divides fans down the middle.

Cyborg
Hank Henshaw was an astronaut who died during a doomed mission on board a space shuttle. Reduced to a formless entity, Henshaw blamed Superman for his demised and vowed revenge from beyond the grave. This only posed a problem for the Last Son of Krypton when his essence began to inhabit mechanical bodies. The character's best-known incarnation is the Cyborg, who rose to prominence during the Return Of Superman plotline, masquerading as a resurrected version of Kal-El. The villain is currently a member of the Sinestro Corps, and still bears the Superman emblem to this day.
Chances of inclusion: Since the Cyborg's roots only stretch back to 1990, a number of other villains make a stronger case for inclusion in the film. Moreover, his most notable contribution to the Superman universe came during the Return era - a chapter of the series' history that is probably best left alone for the time being.

Metallo
Smallville - Brian Austin Green as John Corben / Metallo
Hank Henshaw isn't the only cyborg to cause problems for Superman. Former mercenary John Corben became a thorn in the Man of Steel's side after having his brain transplanted into a robotic body powered by a heart of kryptonite. Metallo's power source makes him a formidable opponent for Kal-El, who would often called upon the help of allies unaffected by the ore. Writer John Byrne created the best-known incarnation of Metallo when he reworked Superman's origins for a 1986 miniseries. The character went on to become a prolific antagonist, appearing in dozens of DC comics and various other media.
Chances of inclusion: Stranger things have happened. Metallo has already appeared in Smallville, The New Adventures of Superman and various animated series. He isn't the most obvious choice, but consider him a viable outsider.

Mister Mxyzptlk
A reality-bending imp from the fifth dimension, Mister Mxyzptlk is one of the more ridiculous Superman villains. This cosmic trickster is well known for tormenting the Last Son of Krypton with his powers simply for his own amusement. The only way to defeat him is to track him into saying his name backwards. Early plotlines featuring the character were usually heavy on comic relief, but he later became an integral part of the DC Universe, appearing in Crisis On Infinite Earths, Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow?, and Secret Origin.
Chances of inclusion: Slim. Although Mister Mxyzptlk has played a part in a number of key Superman plotlines, he is unlikely to fit in with the tone of Snyder's reboot.

Granny Goodness
Granny Goodness from Smallville
It's difficult to imagine what was going through Jack Kirby's mind when he came up with this geriatric villainess. Hailing from Darkseid's home planet Apokolips, Granny Goodness is a deity allegedly modelled on comedienne Phyllis Dille. Although the character has featured more in other DC titles such as Wonder Woman, Mister Miracle and Justice League, she went head-to-head with Superman in Superman: The Animated Series and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, and provided the inspiration for a character in Smallville.
Chances of inclusion: None whatsoever... we hope.

Which villains would you like to see in Zack Snyder's Superman? Write a comment in the space below.

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