Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has been in theater for a matter of hours, but it’s never too early to start diving deep into the story and exploring the Easter Eggs left behind. There had long been rumors that comic book character Jimmy Olsen would have a presence in the movie, with many speculating that Scoot McNairy could be playing this Daily Planet photographer, since his role was never confirmed during the production. Director Zack Snyder confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that Jimmy Olsen can be seen in the film, although you may not have noticed him at first. There will be big SPOILERS if you haven’t seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice yet, so read on at your own risk.
Back in February, a report from a French magazine claimed that Scoot McNairy is playing Jimmy Olsen, but that turned out to be false. The actor was actually playing an amputee who lost both of his legs during the Battle of Metropolis in 2013’s Man of Steel. Jimmy Olsen was actually played by Michael Cassidy, best known for his roles on The O.C. and as Daily Planet editor Grant Gabriel on Smallville. In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Jimmy accompanies Lois Lane (Amy Adams) on an assignment in Africa, but he is quickly outed as a CIA plant, and killed by a gunshot to the head, right in front of Lois. Here’s what Zack Snyder had to say about why Jimmy Olsen had such a small role.
“We just did it as this little aside because we had been tracking where we thought the movies were gonna go, and we don’t have room for Jimmy Olsen in our big pantheon of characters, but we can have fun with him, right?”
This character isn’t actually revealed as Jimmy Olsen right away, but fans will get to see a bit more of him later this year, when the Ultimate Edition is released. We first reported on the Ultimate Edition earlier this month, which will be R-rated, and will include an Easter Egg that will help set up Justice League Part 1. Here what the director had to say about Jimmy Olsen’s larger role that will be seen in the Extended Edition.
“He comes up to her and he goes, ‘Lois Lane, I’m Jimmy Olsen, photographer, obviously … You know, I’ve been assigned to you for this mission.’ But it turns out that Jimmy Olsen is a spook for the CIA.”
Ironically, Zack Snyder originally had a much different actor in mind to play Jimmy Olsen, but this particular actor ended up landing a much larger role instead: Lex Luthor. Before Michael Cassidy was cast, the director revealed he wanted Jesse Eisenberg to play Olsen, which would have made his sudden death a much bigger shock to fans. Here’s what the filmmaker had to say about why he originally wanted to cast Jesse Eisenberg as Jimmy Olsen, and his initial meeting with the actor.
“I thought, if it were Jesse Eisenberg and he got out and he goes, ‘I’m Jimmy Olsen,’ you’d be like, oh my God, we’re gonna have Jimmy Olsen in the whole movie, right?’ And then if he got shot, you’d just be like, ‘What!? You can’t do that.’ I said, ‘I want to do this misdirect and you’d be great. You’d be a great Jimmy Olsen.’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, that’s cool,’ and he was being very Jesse in the meeting. Introverted but constantly going, ‘Okay, I see, uh-huh. So it’s sort of a pop-culture redirect, you’re gonna do, because of the certain status of an actor.'”
The director held this meeting with his wife and producing partner Deborah Snyder, and after watching him throughout the meeting, they started envisioning him as Lex Luthor. At the time, they had been meeting with actors much older than the 32-year-old Jesse Eisenberg, but they decided to roll the dice and cast him as Lex. Here’s what the director had to say about how that meeting for Jimmy Olsen gave birth to their Lex Luthor.
“I was like, ‘Wow, that guy is crazy… Debbie, what about Jesse as Lex? We talked about the usual suspects that you would imagine; any actor who has been bald, probably. 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?”
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice took in $27.7 million last night, and it will likely take in more than $160 million during its opening weekend, although it could be much higher. What do you think about Jimmy Olsen’s brief appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? Would you have liked to see the photographer in a much larger role?