Word has spread that Bryan Cranston will play Lex Luthor in the upcoming Man of Steel sequel, which officially has Ben Affleck aboard as Batman. But the reports should be treated as speculation.

Yesterday evening, Rolling Stone's Ryan Reed posted a story with the headline "Report: Bryan Cranston Cast as Lex Luthor in 'Man of Steel'" based on an item published on Cosmic Book News on Sunday. This morning BuzzFeed, Drudge Report, and The Daily Beast all tweeted the Reed's story, which takes McGloin's report at face value. (McGloin also purports to reveal other juicy details, including a supposed "13-appearance deal" for Affleck, and that interest on the part of DC to cast Matt Damon as Aquaman or Martian Manhunter.)

Of course, "news" about Cranston doesn't come totally out of the blue. Earlier this month, the rumor mill—which is particularly deafening in the geek sector of the entertainment industry—was whipped into a frenzy over speculation that Cranston and Mark Strong, currently of AMC's flailing Low Winter Sun, were up for the part. The rumors seemed to gain steam on August 7, when El Mayimbe of the fan site Latino Review, which has had some success with comic book movie scoops in the past, tweeted: "FANBOY BLIND ITEM: Which superhot actor finishing final season of hit TV show who also was in 2 films for WB is up for juicy badguy part? :)" Soon afterwards, Strong himself gave a cryptic statement to Digital Spy regarding his involvement.

That said, El Mayimbe—real name: Umberto González—wasn't buying what news organizations were selling today. "I can't believe how many legitimate outlets got suckered by that BS @cosmicbooknews story. Wow," he tweeted. He was not the only one to throw cold water on Cosmic Book News' report. Mark "RorMachine" Cassidy at Comic Book News wrote: "A certain fansite (which we still won't name or link to, any search for Cranston/Luthor will unearth it) routinely posts...well, complete horseshit for hits. Sometimes -- as in this case -- they expand on an existing rumor, and others it's incredibly outlandish garbage, plucked from thin air -- Matt Damon being in talks for Aquaman etc." 

It makes sense that this particular rumor would have such potency: Cranston, whose final episodes of Breaking Bad are currently airing on AMC, is hotter than ever, and his award-winning depiction of Walter White proves that he does bald-headed baddie well. Perhaps his fans believe that such wishful thinking might make his casting a reality: Borys Kit—a writer for The Hollywood Reporter who oversees the geek blog Heat Vision—pointed out this afternoon that "even the fanmade trailer for Batman/Superman making the rounds today has Cranston as Lex.