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Jesse Eisenberg nearly played Jimmy Olsen in Batman v Superman

Major spoilers ahead for Batman v Superman!

There's a lot of cameos in Batman v Superman (opens in new tab). Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg are the big three, but there's another iconic character who had hardly any screentime at all. The Daily Planet photographer Jimmy Olsen. Don't worry if you didn't catch his brief turn, he's barely mentioned before he gets killed.

Where was he then? Prior to Superman's first big scene, the action is centred around Lois Lane who's out in Africa covering a Big Story. Moments later her photographer is brutally killed after a bunch of goons disable his camera and discover he's working for the CIA. That was Olsen. So why give him the short shrift? Here's what Zack Snyder told EW (opens in new tab):

“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?

Of all the decisions Snyder made for the movie, it's a ballsy one to take a beloved character and make him all darkside. It's a shame that he won't appear in any future DCEU movies, but Snyder reveals that there's an extended version of the scene in the R-rated Ultimate Edition (opens in new tab) where we get to hear him introduce himself as Jimmy Olsen.

It's a shocking moment regardless, and would have been even moreso if Snyder had gone with his original idea. Early in production, he planned to pull a slasher move and kill a major actor in that opening sequence:

“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?’” Snyder says. “And then if he got shot, you’d just be like, ‘What!? You can’t do that.’” Had Eisenberg taken the role of Olsen, Snyder mentions a list of "the usual suspects" who were in contention for the part of Lex Luthor. That list happens to include Bryan Cranston. Oh, what could have been...

Directed by Zack Snyder and starring Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Diane Lane, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Laurence Fishburne, and Amy Adams, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is in theaters now.

Images: Warner Bros.

Gem Seddon is GamesRadar+'s west coast Entertainment News Reporter, working to keep all of you updated on all of the latest and greatest movies and shows on streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Outside of entertainment journalism, Gem can frequently be found writing about the alternative health and wellness industry, and obsessing over all things Aliens and Terminator on Twitter.