Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons

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Here's a bit of casting news that will no doubt get some attention on various social networks.

Jesse Eisenberg has been cast to play the Man of Steel's arch nemesis Lex Luthor in director Zack Snyder's as-yet untitled Superman-Batman film, Warner Bros. Pictures announced on Friday, Jan. 31. (For months, rumors circulated that Bryan Cranston was the front-runner to take on the role.)

What's more, the studio revealed that Oscar winner Jeremy Irons will play Bruce Wayne's loyal confidant Alfred.

"Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman's rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940," Snyder said in a statement. "What's great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain. He's a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions."

Henry Cavill, Man of Steel, Superman, Ben Affleck

StarTraks, Warner Bros.

With regards to nabbing Irons, Snyder added, "As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne's most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure. He is an absolutely critical element in the intricate infrastructure that allows Bruce Wayne to transform himself into Batman. It is an honor to have such an amazingly seasoned and gifted actor as Jeremy taking on the important role of the man who mentors and guides the guarded and nearly impervious façade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne."

The Man of Steel sequel will have Henry Cavill reprising his role as Superman and Ben Affleck playing Batman.

While the highly anticipated flick was originally scheduled to hit theaters on July 17, 2015, Warner Bros. Pictures announced earlier this month that it was pushing the release date to May 6, 2016.

According to a press release, the extra time is to allow the filmmakers to "fully realize their vision, given the complex visual nature of the story." The decision was made after the start of production was rescheduled for the second quarter of this year, meaning sometime after March.

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