This would be quite the doozy if WB could pull this one off...
We know Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige like to please their fans; Marvel and Feige even went and released the "All Hail The King" short as a result of negative fan reaction to the Mandarin in Iron Man 3.
Could WB do something similar with Lex Luthor?
Spoilers follow for Batman Vs. Superman Ultimate Edition.
Fan reaction was mixed (at best) to Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor. We know Eisenberg wasn't their first choice to play Lex. Actually, Eisenberg was set to play the role of Jimmy Olsen, who was killed off in the movie. Things changed and the script was rewritten to accommodate a younger Lex and the casting of Eisenberg.
So that means originally they were going with an older version of Lex Luthor, and I was told it was Bryan Cranston (who starred with Affleck in Argo). A friend who does work for WB filled me in that Bryan Cranston had been cast in Batman Vs. Superman. I knew the source personally and trusted the source completely -- so much so that I put my money where my mouth was (how many "scoopers" ever do that?). Obviously, my info didn't pan out (I was told Cranston changed his mind as he didn't want to do another big villain role following Breaking Bad), and I made a donation to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
Bryan Cranston as Lex Luthor On E! News:
My news of Bryan Cranston being cast as Lex Luthor hit all the major newspapers and television stations (how may "scoopers" get that?). In the months to follow, Cranston would deny any involvement in Batman Vs. Superman, and it was the right thing to do as it wouldn't have been professional to take the spotlight away from the actor that would be cast as Lex (Eisenberg).
"In the minds of fans, it's true. In the minds of the hierarchy of Warner Bros. it's not true," Cranston told Howard Stern. "No. I was not involved in any of that whatsoever."
However, following the release of Batman Vs. Superman, Zack Snyder revealed they did interview Bryan Cranston for the role, and Snyder's comments sound as if he wanted Cranston. Check it out (via EW):
At that point, they had were still interviewing actors about the Luthor role – most of them older, more imposing figures, such as Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston.
“We talked about the usual suspects that you would imagine; any actor who has been bald, probably,” Synder says. “Bryan Cranston would have been great, right? And by the way, he’s an amazing actor. Can you imagine how different the movie would be?”
"Can you imagine how different the movie would be?” -- Sounds like they really wanted Cranston, no?
Now on to the relevant info in the Batman Vs. Superman Ultimate Edition.
A new scene between Lex (Eisenberg) and Senator Finch seemingly reveals that Lex Sr. may be alive. That's right, Eisenberg is playing Lex Jr. in the movie.
“Maybe if I keep everything the same, Dad will come back," Lex Jr. tells Senator Finch.
A Tumblr fan who has seen the footage describes the scene as: "He talks about his Dad almost as if he’s not dead."
So does that mean Lex Sr. is not actually dead - that he can come back?
It was first thought that Lex Sr. was dead due to a joint promotion between WB and Fortune magazine. A promo "interview" with Lex Jr. revealed that Lex Sr. had "passed away unexpectedly in 2000." But does that mean Lex Sr. actually died? Or did he disappear and was presumed dead? We can even speculate that the promo interview may simply have nothing do with the movie as it's just a part of a viral marketing campaign (or even incorrect).
The good news is that if WB does decide to bring back Lex Sr., that quite possibly Bryan Cranston may want the role. Cranston changed his tune in regards to playing a villain as last October saw Cranston make mention he would like to play a "big superhero villain," though at the time he mentioned for a Marvel movie (as possibly he thought he dropped the ball in regards to DC's Lex?).
Now that we see there is a way for Lex Sr. to come back, what do you say Mr. Cranston? Will you make the Justice League say your name?