updated 01/31/2014 AT 2:00 PM ET
•originally published 01/31/2014 AT 3:15 PM ET
Jesse Eisenberg is ready to take flight as one of comics’ most iconic villains.
The Social Network star has been cast as Lex Luthor in the upcoming sequel to 2013’s Man of Steel, featuring the blockbuster-ready team-up of Superman and Batman.
Warner Bros. announced the casting news Friday and also revealed that The Borgias’s Jeremy Irons is set to play Batman’s trusted butler-confidant, Alfred.
The duo join a burgeoning, star-studded cast that already includes Henry Cavill as Superman, Ben Affleck as Batman, along with returning Man of Steel stars Amy Adams, Diane Lane and Laurence Fishburne.
The sequel will also feature newcomer Gal Gadot, who’ll take on the iconic role of Wonder Woman as the superhero makes her big-screen debut.
As Lex Luthor, Eisenberg will be stepping into some big shoes – Gene Hackman originated the role onscreen in the original 1978 Superman film, while Kevin Spacey snarled his way through 2006’s Superman Returns.
Expectations are running high for the as-yet-untitled Man of Steel sequel, given its predecessor’s $668 million global gross. It’s also widely believed that that film will serve a springboard for Warner Bros. to launch an all-star Justice League movie that’ll go cape-to-cape with Marvel’s record-smashing The Avengers franchise.
The Man of Steel sequel leaps into theaters on May 6, 2016.