- "We must put faith in ourselves, but instead, we look up to him, with big glassy eyes because we think he's invincible. It's my duty to dispel the world of that notion. And when he dies, they will finally wake up and see him for what he really was, a false god."
- —Lex Luthor to Lena Luthor[src]
Lex Luthor is a billionaire industrialist, inventor and scientist, as well as one of the most intelligent people in the world and the best friend-turned-archenemy of Clark Kent (under the guise of Superman) whom he views as an obstacle to his megalomaniacal plans and as a threat to the very existence of humanity. A charismatic and well-known, yet controversial public figure, Lex is the former CEO of Luthor Corp, who was succeeded by his half-sister Lena following his incarceration of 32 consecutive life sentences at Stryker's Island Penitentiary. He later managed to escape from prison to continue his war against the kryptonians.
Lex was born in Metropolis to his parents; billionaires Lionel and Lillian Luthor. He hails from one of the wealthiest and most prestigious families of the city and has proven to possess an extremely high intellect since early childhood, which made his mother greatly proud of him, often referring to him as a "genius" and being very close to him as he grow up. As a kid he had a dog named Ignatius, which he considered his closest companion, but when Lex was seven years old, the dog fell ill making it necessary for him to be cut down, depsite Lex wanting to be present at the procedure, his mother stated that he was too sentimental and forced him to go on a business trip with his father instead. There, they were accompained by a woman to which Lionel gave all of his attention. At first Lex swore to himself that he would have loathe that woman for taking his father from him when he needed him the most, but he couldn't keep his promise because of how kind she was to him. On the day they put down his dog, the woman embraced Lex and sang him a beautiful Irish song in order to comfort him. By the end of the trip, Lex wished that that woman was his mother. 
In 1997, after Lena (whom Lex always knew was secretly Lionel's illegitimate daughter with the woman of their business trip) was adopted into the Luthor family after her mother's death, Lex made her feel especially welcome and when they first met, he invited her to play a game of chess, that the four-year-old girl eventually won.
During their youth, he and Lena were very close, and Lex would always challenge Lena to succeed in her inventions, always being very hard to her, since he acknowledged the girl potential and considered that behavior the best way to ensure that she would keep getting better.
According to Lena, as a child Lex would build anthills for days in order to make ants believe they were coming back home before setting them on fire. Also, in their school days, both he and Lena had a latin tutor named Krinick, that every time Lex missquoted Salutati sent him in a corner and forced him to repeat "Ego me non placebo" ("I don't like myself") until his latin got perfect.
Lex's relationship with Mercy grew over time and eventually, she became his closest confidant, frequent dinner guest and it was strongly implied that there was some sort of a romantic connection between them.
Illegal business with Bruno Mannheim
At some point, Lex became partners-in-crime with Bruno Mannheim for illegal schemes related to Luthor Corp. With Lex's help, Mannheim laundered money through Luthor Corp, but he soon dumped Lex as his partner when the latter was investigated by the state. The center of the scheme were the parking lots, which Mannheim purchased through a subsidiary he bought from Lex. According to Lena, it was Lex's relationship with Mannheim that sent him down the wrong path in his life.
Dealings with Superman
Years later, Lex would somehow became best friends with the Kryptonian superhero Superman and the two initially tried to work together to repel the threat of alien invasions. However, Lex's methods were far crueler than Superman's, which set them at odds. Although the superhero tried hard to trust his friend, defending him against accusations of others and continuing to give him several chances to atone for his wrong deeds, Lex ultimately proved unable to forever deceive Superman, who eventually realized his true nature and this consequently resulted in a falling out between the pair. Shortly after this, Lex came to believe that Superman himself was the cause of alien terrorism since his presence attracted them and declared war on his former friend, becoming his greatest enemy. Lex's obsession of defeating Superman eventually destroyed his relationship with Mercy as she had grown frustrated with his hyper-focus on Superman instead of looking at the bigger picture, referring to the alien threats.
After he started targeting Superman, Lena grew concerned for his well being and tried to help him, but he ignored her and this caused their relationship to fracture as he proceeded with his plans to destroy Superman committing unspeakable crimes in Metropolis, one of which was triggering a fault line in California with an "earthquake machine", which was tended to by the Kryptonian. Another incident involved Lex creating and selling a series of battle armors he called Lexosuits, which Superman was not happy about. Lex would use the suit in order to even the playing field when facing the Kryptonian.
Over the years, Lex built many secret storage facilities around the world, where he keep various arsenals of weapons that he collected to defeat Superman once and for all. Lex also converted his own cloaked mansion's basement into a bunker facility designed to protect him from any threats. Lex only confided in Lena of the mansion's location.
After several years and various brutal encounters resulting in numerous fatalities, in early 2015, Lex and Superman had a final confrontation prior of which, Lex managed to turn Earth's yellow sun radiations into red ones in an attempt to depower the Kryptonian, consequently causing destruction on a global scale.
He took Lena captive into his office in Metropolis while observing the results of his work from various monitors, as she told him tearfully he don't have to do it, Lex, quoting a sentence from Epicurus, claimed he was doing it for the entire human race, then, taking her in front of the window to listen the citizens' cries of pain, he commented that they were already cheering. Lena angry told he he would kill millions of people as the world can't live under a red sun, to which Lex responded that not even Superman can. He explained that humans had gotten "soft, fat and stupid", and that they must put faith in themselves instead of looking up to Superman thinking that he was invincible, so he considered his duty to dispel the world of that notion since, by killing him, Lex would finally wake them up and show them what he really was, a false god. Shocked after seing him shoot down with a missile an helicopter Metropolis Police Department during his monologue, Lena comments in disgust that at least Superman was a good man, causing Lex to yell in anger that he wasn't and he should be the "Man of Tomorrow" instead. Lena then asked if then was all about his ego, to wich Lex answered it was for science as he wanted to see if the Kryptonian could bleed, since even gods can die. Then, a team of agents stormed into the room and Lex calmly allowed them to arrest him, telling his sister that one day everyone would thank him for what he had done. He was somehow able to escape from them, being subsequently recaptured at the Luthor Mansion after Superman managed to thwart his plans and finally defeat him. With the full extent of his crimes exposed to the public, Lex was incarcerated for 32 consecutive life terms in Stryker's Island Penitentiary. Mercy was a key witness in the trial against Lex, betraying him.
After Lena took over Luthor Corp, with plans to rename it to L-Corp and atone for Lex's crimes, he hired the assassin John Corben to assassinate her in National City. However, his plan was thwarted by Superman and Supergirl. Corben was nearly killed and later turned into the Kryptonite-powered cyborg known as Metallo by Project Cadmus, headed by Lillian.
While in prison, Lex planned his escape for years, however in 2019 he developed an inoperable cancer due to having peviously injected himself with Kryptonite and eventually suffered a stroke, so he contacted his half-sister Lena for assistance and she decided to help him. Knowing that Lena was working on the Harun-El in search of a cure for cancer, Lex "pulled some strings" obtaining for her to work with the D.E.O. and use their resources, despite Colonel Lauren Haley was oblivious he was behind it. Meanwhile he sent Otis Graves (thought to be dead) to shot James Olsen and use his signal watch to call Supergirl on the scene as part of a larger plan.
Illness and escape
Having obtained to serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest and was transported to his mansion on an helicopter escorted by a massive deployment of FBI agents. After he arrived Lena commented coldly his stroke asking if he wanted to see her so badly to which Lex sarcastically answered he missed her. After he was escorted inside and handcuffed to a wheelchair by the federal agents, Lex explained that they never let him out of their sight as if they feared he would escape like a dog without a leash, to wich Lena told him he would have done it, causing Lex to smile and told her he couldn't due to his condition, remainding her that he was dying. Lena replied sarcastically that she knew it, since in the past six weeks he only spoke about that, during their phonecalls. Then Lex told her that he was not accostumed to need help, telling he considered it "weak" and "pathetic", as well that he would be saved if she tested the Harun-El drug on human. After Lena firmly refused he asked her what was the meaning of all he had done to help her have better resources to her work then, asking if everything she really wanted was "a front row seat to watching him die", to which she replied that despite everything he was her brother and she wanted to save him. They were interrupted by Eve Teschmacher, who entered the room in panic to inform Lena about James, and was mocked by Lex who asked for a macchiato, telling her to call him "Lex" as it was easy to write.
Once Lena came back from the hospital, she asked him to help her work on the Harun-El in order to save James' life as well as his own, Lex commented on the irony on working together to save "Superman's Pal" wondering what would their mother had think, all while staring at a painting of her. While working at the Harun-El remembering the times they "worked together" as children, Lex felt sick and started coughing up blood, so Lena called a guard to bring him a glass of water but he made it fall to the floor saying he could lick it like a dog. Before Lena could react, Lex told her that he was used to it since "he wasn't very popular in prison". He then told her that he was proud of her and her accomplishments, right before saying to get back to work as those sentimentality would have killed him faster than his cancer. Lex was subsequently assaulted by an utterly indifferent government agent, and, while Lena helped him by telling the agent to gave her the keys to his handcuffs, Lex compared himself told his sister not to blame the man as "He knows not what he does". Later, while Lex and Lena were testing the Harun-El drug on tumorous hearts while remembering their childhood, they finally managed to shrink the tumor but, moments later, Lena received a phonecall from Alex Danvers and was informed that James was about to undergo a surgical operation with high risk of death. As she fell depressed stating she couldn't save James anymore, Lex told her that he always knew she was his half-sister and revealed her of the beautiful memory he had about her mother, stating that despite he was born from hate, she was born from love instead and even if the rest of their family lurke into darkness with pride, she would always fall into the light. Then he urged her to reach for James, telling her that he needed her.
After Lena left, Lex remotely cut off the backup power of the hospital during the power outage caused by Manchester Black forcing his sister to inject James with the Harun-El drug in order to save his life. However Lena realized what he had done and confronted him while he was having a cup of tea, he admitted immediately that he was responsible of it and also to have ordered to shot James in order to gave her the incentive and the subject (that was anyone but Lex) on which she could test the Harun-El drug to guarantee its safety tobe used as a healing agent. Disgusted, Lena replied that she would never gave him the cure and Lex, not being surprised at all, revealed that he already had someone adminisre to him. In that moment, the FBI agent in the room revealed to be Otis disguised by an image inducer, and bonded Lena to Lex's wheelchair while the latter stand and watched Eve shoting another federal agent revealing she had worked with him all along. Lex revealed he had no intention on killing Lena, and ordered Otis to chloroform her and Eve to "take care of her", then he left the mansion killing a handful of federals with security systems and another group of them with landmines hidden in the ground and prepared to flee by helicopter, being intercepted by Supergirl and declaring himself happy to finally meet her in person.
Lex's imprisonment is part of the motivation of Lillian's vendetta against aliens. She's determined to "protect" her children from the alien menace and believes that her son, a "real Superman", was behind bars simply because he tried to regain the power Superman was taking away from humanity due to his alien propaganda. During her anti-aliens crusade, Lillian also procured some weapons from Lex's mountain vault.
Due to Lex's actions, the Luthor family's name was tainted to the point where most individuals are unwilling to or at least have difficulty trusting anyone with the last name "Luthor". Lena especially struggles with this as she tries to restore the family name.
Lex is a human supremacist who truly believes his crusade against aliens to be a righteous one, as he committed unspeakable acts in his attempt to protect the planet Earth from alien invaders and alien manipulators, Lex is a narcissist, a sociopath and a psychopath, with a complete lack of conscience and empathy, no remorse for his actions and callousness towards the well-being of others as despite claiming he wants the best for humanity he displayed no qualms about murdering millions of people to accomplish his goals. He also considers himself the real "Man of Tomorrow", and is sure that at the end people will understand and thank him for his actions. His psychopathy stems back to childhood where he would frequently torture and murder animals, as well as constantly criticize Lena to push her further. He often presents himself as a calm, level-headed, patient and sarcastic man but is very prone to lose his temper and yell in an almost delusional manner. Also, his ego, arrogance and megalomaniac trends are so great that even while suffering a seizure under the watch of an utterly indifferent government agent, Lex can't help but compare himself to Jesus Christ, muttering "Don't blame him. He knows not what he does".
Lex was once best friends with Clark Kent (under the guise of Superman) as the two initially tried to work together to repel the threat of alien invasions, but Lex's methods were far crueler than Clark's, although, Clark tried hard to trust his friend, defending him against accusations of others and continuing to give him several chances to atone for his wrong deeds; however, once Clark realized Lex's true nature - this ultimately resulted in a falling out between the two.
Shortly after this fallout, Lex came to believe that Superman himself was the cause of alien terrorism, and so, becoming more insane than ever, he declared war on Superman and committed unspeakable crimes in Metropolis, to the point of setting off an earthquake in California, in an attempt to take down the superhero.
Lex is ruthless not only to aliens, but also towards his own blood relations as well, as he hired the assassin John Corben to kill his half-sister, Lena Luthor, who he once deeply loved, simply because she was going to rename the family company from Luthor Corp to L-Corp; a decision that did not sit well with Lex as he was proud of his family name. These negative traits of his are what eventually led to Lex's incarceration. Despite this, he prove to care for Lena as he does have a link he can’t break with her and, to some degree, he acknowledges that she is incredibly gifted as an intellect and a scientist, so he loves her in a twisted and narcissistic way due to finding them both "alike".
Despite having a difficult relationship with his father, Lionel Luthor and falling out with his half-sister, Lena, Lex remained fond of his mother, Lillian, since she seemed to agree with his views. Lex even kept a portrait of Lillian in his mansion, however, when he met Lena's mother he wished she was his.
Overall, Lex is a psychopath and a narcissist with a complete lack of empathy for those around him. Lex, despite acknowledging his sister's brilliance, does not actually care for her or anyone else, Lex is completely capable of committing horrible crimes, such as mass murder, without conscience or hesitation, and is shown to occasionally even be sadistic. Lex is the most evil and megalomaniacal villain in the show to date. He is shown to be 12 steps ahead of all the other characters, and has had a hand in the events of this entire season. Due to his profound psychopathy, Lex is unable to form any real attachments with those around him and will do anything to complete his goals.
Powers and abilities
- Lexosuit application: Lex is masterful in using his Lexosuit, a battle armor he created to suit his needs and protect himself against Kryptonian-level threats.
- Genius-level intellect/Great business acumen/Master tactician/Leader: Lex Luthor's intelligence is nearly unrivaled, even among the highly notorious Luthor Family. A nearly flawless planner, able to assess and account for the numerous variables and from this effectively manipulate the situation to unfold as he sees fit, Lex is also an exceptional tactician, leader and businessman, as in addition to being among the greatest CEOS of Luthor Corp, his intellect having been more than enough to successfully oversee for years it's daily activities and maintain it's status as a multibillion-dollar corporation, he successfully set up hideouts all around the world and led his minions in it to collect weapons successfully in secret to defeat Superman or any sort of aliens-related threat. His immense intelligence and strategical abilities were shown in his years-long war with the the tremendously powerful and notoriously smart Superman, as he was able to stalemate him with many complex plans, plots and attacks against him, although in the end Clark proved to be somewhat smarter and ultimately defeated and exposed his true nature to the public. He was also able to efficently and patiently program his escape from prison despite his failing health, infiltrating Eve Teschmacher at Lena's side to get her research, having himself placed under house arrest in his mansion, curing himself from his disease, effortlessly kill his handlers with the mansion's secret defenses and finally escaping by helicopter, catching his also extremely intelligent sister completely off-guard, proving he is smarter than her. He may be the second smartest person in his earth, with apparently only Superman being able to rival/surpass his intellect.
- Master deceiver/Manipulator: Lex is exceptionally talented in the art of deception, he is able to fool and convince many others of his agenda, even if they're even experts of seeing through deception and extremely intelligent, to the point that he was able to keep up the façade of being merely a normal person of extreme intelligence and a famous CEO of Luthor Corp while simultaneously fighting Superman to a long standstill, only being exposed as a criminal after Superman defeated and revealed his crimes to the public. His great proficiency as a deception was so great that even Superman, despite his exceptional perception, was fooled into trusting him for years, although Lex was still not flawless as Superman was eventually able to see through his true nature.
- Expert biologist: Lex is an extremely capable biologist and is considered among the greatest living experts on Kryptonians, having studied them intensively due to his obsession.
- Expert chemist: Lex has a great aptitude in the field of chemistry; for example, he was able to inject himself with Green Kryptonite and to understand Lena's research on the Harun-El with ease, despite it took her months to study it.
- Expert scientist/Engineer: Lex is a brilliant inventor, specializing in various scientific fields. An extremely talented engineer, he was able to create advanced devices such as an "earthquake machine" that triggered a fault line in California, a device to turn Earth's sunlight red, a warsuit to argument his physical abilities and many other weapons. Lena herself admits that Lex outshines her in some fields of engineering.
- Medical knowledge: Though he was never explicitly stated to have an M.D. or doctorate, Lex demonstrated satisfactory resourcefulness and remarkable knowledge in the medical field as he was able to made a correct diagnosis on his condition, as well as to cure himself.
- Computer specialist/Expert computer hacker: Lex was able to create a miniaturized computer into his watch and use it to take control of various complex devices such as Luthor Corp's and his mansion's security systems.
- Bilingualism: Lex is capable of fluently speaking English and Latin.
- Indomitable will: A driven and determined person, Lex is nearly fearless and almost never gives up, as proven by his lifelong feud with Superman.
- Expert combatant: Lex is very accomplished in close combat, as while wearing his battle armor, which gives him the necessary physical powers needed to combat a Kryptonian, he proved to be able to single-handedly compete against the highly proficient Kryptonian fighter Superman. Although despite being able to put up a fierce fight to the point of stalemating the superhero many times, he is (seemingly) ultimately slightly less skilled as his ex-best friend, as Superman was eventually able to best and incarcerate him in their final and presumably prolonged encounter.
- Network: Lex has a dense network of information throughout the world; despite being in a maximum security prison, he maintain enough influence and connections to hire the professional assassin John Corben, as well as to orchestrate the assassination attempt of James Olsen, manipulate the government to have his sister work with the D.E.O., and to organize his escape from house arrest.
- "Lex went insane."
- "Exactly. And if they could take the brightest mind on Earth and drive him crazy defending himself, imagine what they could do to you."
- —Lena and Lillian on Lex Luthor[src]
- Mental instability: Lex is extremely arrogant, erratic, cruel and unstable. Believing himself intellectually superior to the rest of the world and the real "Man of Tomorrow", he grew to resent Superman's popularity with the public and his animosity against him eventually corrupted all of his personal relationships collapsed, including that with his half-sister Lena and his then-girlfriend Mercy Graves. He even went so far as to inject himself with Kryptonite to keep his obsession at bay. He is also very overconfident abaut his schemes and takes no further caution beyond his initial plans, greatly losing his temper if something happen beyond his expectations. The fact that Lex had not learned from Clark's ability to defeat him not only in direct combat but also outsmart and reveal his crimes to the public also shows that he cannot learn from his mistakes, as he still proclaims confidently to be the smartest man in the world even though his former best-friend had proved to equal, if not outright exceed, his intellect.
- Failing health: After injecting himself with Green Kryptonite to keep Superman away from him, Lex has a stroke and developed inoperable cancer, however, he was able to cure his condition after hijacking his sister's research on the Harun-El.
- Lexosuit: Lex has created a high-tech battle suit, nicknamed "Lexosuit", which gave him enhanced strength, durability, flight, energy blasts and advanced weaponry, among other capabilities. He used it to better match Superman.
- Watch: Lex always carries with him a special watch of his own invention with whom he is able to remotely control various devices.
- In the show, it's strongly implied that Lex's baldness is an inherited trait which he gained from his father instead of something caused by an accident as generally represented.
- Lex and Superman once being best friends is likely a reference to the TV series Smallville, which started with Lex and Clark being best friends and the duo eventually developing the classic animosity between Superman and Lex Luthor.
- Interestingly enough, this is the first live action adaptation of Lex Luthor with facial hair.
- Lex having an inoperable cancer after injecting himself with Kryptonite is a reference from the original comics, where he discovered that Kryptonite radiation was deadly to humans (if not quite so fast-acting as it is with Kryptonians) after he began wearing a Kryptonite ring to keep Superman at bay and later developed cancer.
- In the flashback at the beginning of "", Lex turned Earth's sunlight red in a bid to depower Superman, this is a nod to the War of the Superman storyline of 2010, when he briefly turned the sun red to save Earth from an invasion of hostile Kryptonians.
- Having killed millions of people during his years of war against Superman, as well as dozens of FBI agents in his first physical appearance, Lex is arguably the main villain with the highest body count on the shared multiverse, alongside Vandal Savage.
Behind the scenes
- Lex Luthor first appeared in Action Comics #23 (April, 1940) and was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. He is considered to be the intelligent and ruthless archenemy of Superman. He usually appears as a brilliant scientist and sometimes corrupt billionaire industrialist, with a personal vendetta against the Man of Steel. Even though he has always been a controversial figure in the public eye, he has also maintained political popularity, once serving as the President of the United States.
- Lex's act of creating an earthquake in California is a reference to the original 1978 Superman film, where Luthor's master plan was to use the quake to sink the west coast and turn the near-worthless desert real estate he'd bought up into a valuable water-front property.
- Jon Cryer also portrayed Lex Luthor's nephew, Lenny Luthor, in the 1987 DC film, Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, which is widely regarded as the most disappointing Superman movie ever.
- According to Cryer himself stated that the film’s less than sterling reputation was half the reason he accepted the role, alongside his love of the first Superman movie and the comics, as he wanted the opportunity to do the Luthor name justice.