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I've watched Batman vs Superman a few times now and maybe I missed it, but how does Lex Luther know Superman's identity? I'm assuming he does since he also knows Superman's mother, who he proceeds to have kidnapped.

So how does Lex know who Superman's (earth) mother is?

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    Not an answer because it's a guess based on one watch; but when he activates the ship he downloads a bunch of knowledge from it; which could include the knowledge of Superman's identity. – GendoIkari May 21 '17 at 15:47
  • Hm, I don't know. The reason I say this is because that ship was Zod's, right? When Zod and co came to earth they were looking for Superman. They didn't know who he 'was' or anything about him. So I would think that it would NOT contain those sorts of details about Superman. – Phlegon_of_Tralles May 22 '17 at 11:57
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    Identity theft/phishing. While endowed with superhuman physical abilities, choosing "ManOfSteel" as his use-all internet password was probably a mistake. – PoloHoleSet May 24 '17 at 15:18
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    Finally found the relevant question on SFF: How does Lex Luthor know Superman's identity? – Gallifreyan May 25 '17 at 11:17
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+50

Superman is always saving, talking to or even kissing Lois - Superman is being very sloppy, not just in his superhero role of being vigilant and saving people, but also in protecting his identity with any measure of anonymity.

enter image description here Lois Lane and Superman share a very public, intimate moment in Man of Steel

If Luthor investigates Lois – which he could have done after any of the many times Superman is seen with her, but to put forth a concrete example, Superman saves Lois in the African desert compound and bails out of there without a flicker of a second thought – he would discover that she lives in an apartment in Metropolis with Clark Kent, who happens to look identical.

One of the character arcs for Superman in the Zac Snyder universe is that he is incompetent, sloppy and unsure of himself due to a lack of a grounded identity - he is still figuring out who or what he is supposed to be, and so one of the ways the sloppiness manifests itself as an actual obstacle and consequence for his character to climb over is that his identity was very quickly discovered by one of the smartest and most maniacal figures in that world, Lex Luthor.

  • This is good and provides the connection - although not explicitly stated in the film. That is: Superman -> Lois -> shares apartment with Clark ->Clark's grandma. – Phlegon_of_Tralles May 24 '17 at 18:28
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    Luthor basically confirms this in BvS, when he pushes Lois off his building to summon Superman. – Gallifreyan May 24 '17 at 18:35
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    @Phlegon_of_Tralles If we're talking explicit, for sure, it's not stated. In fact, we can only make assumptions based on implicit information about questions like these, but it's a fairly safe bet that Luthor discovered Superman's identity during his endeavour to find all the other meta-humans' identities. His acquisition of knowledge as a way to even his odds against "gods" is explicitly stated in his party speech. Before Superman's arriva; (the metropolis attack) he was one of the most powerful people on Earth. Clearly that change damaged his ego into going full research mode. – Ghoti and Chips May 24 '17 at 21:42
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As it's not specifically stated in the movie, we can only guess.

My best guess:

Lois figured out Superman's identity by following the bread crumbs back to their source in Man of Steel. One could surmise that Lex did the same thing, either on his own or by using his wealth to hire the talent to do so.

The same most likely goes for how he knew Batman's identity. His character is portrayed as being extremely smart. He'd have researched the "toys" left behind from Batman as well as any available information and footage of the Batmobile itself to determine that it would have taken a spectacular amount of money to obtain these items. From there, it's a simple matter of figuring out who, in Gotham City, has the wealth to accomplish this as well as the physique that best matches any known photos of the Batman.

  • Why are you assuming that Lex knows who Batman actually is? – Phlegon_of_Tralles May 24 '17 at 17:29
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    It's indirectly implied. Why go through the time and effort taunting Bruce Wayne in hopes of pitting Batman against Superman if you didn't believe Bruce Wayne WAS Batman? – WizardKnight May 24 '17 at 19:03
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I dont know if this is good enough, but Lex has a good research on pretty much everybody including Diana prince and Barry allen. So it could be the way how he finds about superman, and also about his mother which he knew the weakness of superman( in this case, Clark kent's ).

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There was a digital comic sponsored by Dr. Pepper that explains this. Lex had hired criminals to do crime so he could watch Batman in action deducing his identity.He tracks Superman's flight patterns or something like that and knows he always saves Lois.

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