We Uncovered Joaquin Phoenix’s Secret Superman Origin

Must watch clip of rumored Lex Luthor as 'Superboy' villain.

Though rumors that “Her” star Joaquin Phoenix may be in line to play villain Lex Luthor in “Batman vs. Superman” still firmly sit in the realm of rumor, there’s one piece of the puzzle you may not have known until now: Phoenix has starred as a Superman villain once already… In 1989.

From 1988-1992, the syndicated show “Superboy” was produced by MTV’s mothership Viacom, CBS, and Warner Brothers. It featured the adventures of a younger Superman in a half hour format, usually with a new guest star or villain every episode.

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On April 15, 1989, the show aired an episode titled “Little Hercules,” about a young boy named Billy Hercules who tries to impress a girl in his class by cracking the activation codes to a navy submarine. This instead activates the sub’s self-destruct sequence, which Superboy (along with an apologetic Hercules) eventually stop.

That young boy? Leaf Phoenix, who later decided to go by the name Joaquin Phoenix.

In the opening clip of the show, Phoenix daydreams that he has Superboy’s powers, using them to completely disintegrate one thug, and horribly maiming two others. Watching the scene now, it certainly could seem like the daydream of a young Lex Luthor, couldn’t it? A super-smart megalomaniac who desperately wants to be Superman, but in real life will never have his powers? Sounds about right to us.

What do you think? Should this amazing footage be used as the pre-credits sequence in “Batman vs. Superman?”

Writer/Editor at MTV News. You can follow him on Twitter, but not in real life because that would be weird.
@azalben