Jon Cryer is moving up in the DC Comics world. The former Two and a Half Men star has been cast in a recurring role as Lex Luthor on the CW’s Supergirl,Variety reports. The surprising role on the superhero drama marks a return to primetime TV for the 53-year-old actor, who won two Primetime Emmy Awards for his role as Alan Harper on the long-running CBS sitcom opposite Charlie Sheen, and later, Ashton Kutcher.
Cryer, who will make his debut as the iconic supervillain in the 15th episode of the current season of Supergirl, has a bit of experience in the superhero world — and in the Luthor family. When he was 21 years old, Cryer played Lex Luthor’s nephew, Lenny Luthor, in the 1987 film Superman IV: The Quest For Peace. That casting tidbit didn’t go unnoticed by Supergirl executive producers Robert Rovner and Jessica Queller, who issued a statement about Cryer’s upgraded role in their series.
“We are enormous fans of Jon Cryer, and he was instantly our dream actor to play the iconic role of Lex Luthor. Jon is a super-talent, and the fact that he played Lenny Luthor in Superman IV brings an added layer of legacy to his casting. We’re beyond thrilled to welcome Jon to the Supergirl family.”
— TV Insider (@TVInsider) November 16, 2018
With a producers’ plug like that, you’d think fans would be thrilled to see Jon Cryer in the role as Lex Luthor. But many fans of the franchise are having trouble getting past the fact that Cryer is only five years younger than Brenda Strong, who plays his mother, Lillian Luthor, on the series. Cryer is also nearly 20 years older than Katie McGrath, who plays Lex’s sister, Lena Luthor.
Like McGrath, Strong, 58, joined the Supergirl cast in 2016, and now some viewers are questioning why producers would cast Cryer in the role as her son. You can see some of the reaction from outraged Supergirl fans below.
I mean it's a little weird that at 53, Jon Cryer gets to play Lex Luthor, and at 58, Brenda Strong gets to play Lex Luthor's mom.
— Louis Pumpkin Peitzman (@LouisPeitzman) November 16, 2018
Brenda Strong is like 5 years older than Jon Cryer and he is close to 20 years older than Katie and peoples real age dont matter a bit apparently
— RavenclawHuman (@RavenclawHuman) November 17, 2018
My biggest question about the Lex Luthor casting:
Brenda Strong is definitely not old enough to play Jon Cryer's mother. What was she — 3 when he was born?
— KryptonSite (@KryptonSite) November 16, 2018
Ummmm @TheCWSupergirl @jessicaqueller isn’t Jon Cryer a little too old to play @Brenda_Strong son? Seriously? How old was Lilian Luthor when she had Lex? 3 years old? 4 years old? Come on! How dumb are you guys?
— Maribel (@Marbs84) November 16, 2018
@jessicaqueller @TheCWSupergirl @GBerlanti Not to be rude but Jon Cryer is 5 years younger than the amazing @Brenda_Strong. How in the name of all that is holy did you choose him for this role? I love his acting but come on! #KatieMcgrath is 20+ years younger than he is!
— kaisyn (@kaisyn) November 17, 2018
According to Deadline, Supergirl producers had been planning to introduce the villainous tycoon ever the series launched in October 2015.
“We’ve talked about having Lex on the show since its inception and we’re excited to have him finally arrive. We can’t wait for him to shake things up in National City and watch him go toe-to-toe with not only Supergirl, but his sister, Lena Luthor.”
In addition to Cryer and Gene Hackman, Lex Luthor has been played by Kevin Spacey in 2006 (Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns) and Jesse Eisenberg in 2016 (Zack Snyder’s Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice ).
Supergirl airs Sundays at 8/7c on the CW.