Before Robert Downey Jr. entered the Marvel realm as Tony Stark, the actor had plans of portraying Lex Luthor in McG’s Superman reboot planned in 2002. The project originally titled Flyby had Downey signed on nearly five years before joining Iron Man, as well as J.J. Abrams locked in as screenwriter, but was canned by Warner Bros. due to several production issues between the film studio and director. McG revealed the casting to Indie Wire during a press junket for This Means War stating, “We had Robert Downey Jr. locked up to be Lex Luthor, which I think would have been extraordinary.” Interesting.
The director also mentions how he was also eying Henry Cavill, the same actor cast to play Clark Kent in Zack Synder’s upcoming Man of Steel, to tackle the role: “Ironically, we liked Henry Cavill a lot, but we hadn’t cast him yet.” Yes…how ironic. McG adds, “J.J. wrote the script, and we got that to a really good place in the end. But I’m to blame for [the film not happening].” If it was anything like Terminator Salvation, we dodged a bullet.