Law & Order castoff Christopher Meloni (or Det. Elliot Stabler for faithful viewers of Special Victims Unit) joins Henry Cavill, Russell Crowe, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, and Julia Ormond as the latest star rounding out the cast of Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan’s Superman: Man of Steel.

Contrary to early rumors, he won’t be playing villain Lex Luthor — although we wouldn’t mind seeing him battle Superman (played by The Tudors’ Cavill) with kryptonite. Meloni tells New York Magazine’s Vulture Column that he’s playing a general, but the real-life ex-Marine is staying hush-hush on the finer details. The story’s most obvious military role — that of General Zod — can be ruled out as a possible fit for Meloni; Boardwalk Empire’s Michael Shannon nabbed that villainous role back in April. General Sam Lane (father of Lois Lane) or General Wade Eiling are other possibilities for the former Oz star.

After 12 seasons, Meloni, 50, departed his role as Det. Stabler on Law & Order: SVU last month due to a salary dispute with series producers.

Man of Steel is expected in theaters in Dec. 2012.

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