2016 was a transformative year for the superhero genre. Deadpool proved that an R-rating can actually be profitable. Captain America: Civil War kicked the door down for the next age of Marvel movies. And not to be overlooked, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice kicked things off for DC’s own film universe, subsequently setting the stage for the next five years of planned releases from Warner Bros.
Unlike Marvel though, who waited four years before its first team-up movie, DC will be diving in headfirst, releasing Justice League on November 17, 2017. The only lead-in we’ll be getting comes in the form of Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman.
This calls for a fast build-up and introduction to all our various heroes, as DC rushes to catch up with their Marvel competitors. Rushing straight into Justice League is a move the studio really couldn’t afford not to make, especially when you take into account the fact that they’re upwards of eight years behind right now.
So what can we expect once Justice League hits theaters? Here’s what we know so far.
1. The roster
In terms of their Justice League roster, DC/Warner Bros. is leaning on known quantities to populate the team. We of course have Batman and Superman leading the charge, along with Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, and Cyborg. Notably absent will be Green Lantern, likely an attempt to further distance the studio from the disappointing standalone film they released back in 2011.
We saw teases at each of our main heroes in Batman v Superman, shown to us by a encrypted file Bruce Wayne stole from Lex Luthor’s servers. It was a quick and dirty way to flesh out each introduction, so here’s hoping we can get a little more depth into everyone’s story soon.
2. The villain
Strong hints in Batman v Superman pointed toward Darkseid as the big bad of Justice League. For those unfamiliar with him, Darkseid is actually the character Marvel originally based Thanos off of, in a not-so-veiled attempt to compete with Jack Kirby’s popular villain. His main motivations revolve around universal domination and killing everyone who gets in his way, and canonically, he’s the most powerful being in the DC universe. All this makes him a formidable adversary for the fledgling Justice League team, teased at by Batman’s “Knightmare” in Batman v Superman (pictured above).
However, a rumor reported by Birth. Movies. Death. claims that while Darkseid will be playing a large role, his uncle, Steppenwolf will be the main villain. In the comics, Steppenwolf is more of a minor character, giving director Zack Snyder plenty of creative license to tell a new story. Another report from Birth. Movies. Death. claimed that Darkseid won’t play as large of a role as originally thought, noting that while “Darkseid is a presence in the movie, and fully appears at the end of the film, don’t expect him to do much.”
To round things out, director Zack Snyder recently shared an image of himself that suggests Deathstroke — a villain who will appear in Ben Affleck’s Batman solo film — will make an appearance in Justice League. As noted by Collider, the storyboard Snyder is working on in the picture appears to show Deathstroke with his signature eyepatch.
3. The return of Superman
The ending of Batman v Superman looked pretty grim in terms of Superman’s fate, having been killed battling Doomsday. Of course, DC’s movie franchise can’t get far without its most iconic hero, so that’s far from permanent.
The most prevalent theories out there say that Superman is in some form of Kryptonian hibernation as he recovers from his injuries. What role he’ll play in the Justice League once resurrected, isn’t exactly clear though. Bruce Wayne’s “Knightmare” shows him at odds with the Man of Steel once again, with Superman teaming up with what appear to be Darkseid’s alien minions. All signs seem to point toward the death of Lois Lane pushing him over the edge, so let’s hope Batman keeps that Kryptonite-tipped spear handy.
Superman actor Henry Cavill shared an image that may hint at parallels with a comic book storyline that also featured the death of Superman. In “The Death and Return of Superman” story, Superman returns after seemingly dying in a battle against Doomsday. He later returns, sporting a black costume similar to the one teased at by Cavill.
4. Batman’s role
Everything we see in Batman v Superman indicates that Batman will be the one to gather all our heroes together. With access to Lex’s secret superhero files, he now has all the information he needs to track down Barry Allen, Aquaman, and Victor Stone (aka Cyborg). And, as we know, Wonder Woman is already in the mix as well. Bruce Wayne, having seen a vision of the future, and warned by the insane ramblings of Lex Luthor, now sees it as his responsibility to assemble a team capable of battling Darkseid. He knows what’s coming. Now it’s up to him to ensure the world is ready to fight it.
Batman isn’t alone though. J.K. Simmons revealed that he’s wrapped filming as Commissioner Gordon, noting how they “just kind of introduce him and see a little bit of his interactions with Batman and with most of the Justice League” in the film.
5. Yes, Zack Snyder will be directing
Zack Snyder has found himself the subject of a fair share of criticism following the release of Batman v Superman. While the movie was a financial success, a 27% Rotten Tomatoes score was evidence enough of just how unpopular it was with critics. That did little to instill doubt in Warner Bros. though, with Snyder remaining in charge of the DC movie-verse and is set to head up Justice League.
Though Snyder completed most of the filming, the director will be stepping back from the project as of May 2017, following the tragic death of his daughter. The filmmaker will hand over the reins to Joss Whedon for any additional scenes and the remainder of post-production.
6. A trailer dishes on tons of new details
While the Comic-Con sizzle reel provided us with a good look at all of our main heroes, it didn’t afford us much in the way of story details. That all changed with the release of the first full-length trailer.
In it, we see the Mother Box, a MacGuffin that our villain, Steppenwolf, is on a quest to make his own. There also seems to be some sort of connection between the Mother Box and Cyborg, but it’s not entirely clear what that is yet. Regardless, the trailer is packed full of exciting new details on what’s to come.
7. An initial controversy surrounding the title
This one is far from a confirmed certainty, but still, it’s juicy information all the same. The folks over at Heroic Hollywood claimed they’d been hearing rumors about potential titles for the first Justice League movie, with a shortlist that included Justice League: United, Justice League: Angels and Demons, Justice League: Gods Among Us, and Justice League: Gods Among Men. The latter two titles harken back to the Gods Among Us comic series, and if that had ended up being the final title, it would have come with a whole lot of implications concerning Superman’s potential turn to the dark side.
All that aside, the official movie website put a stop to those rumors once and for all, advertising the title to simply be Justice League.
Stay tuned for more information as it arrives!
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