The new “Justice League” trailer showed what appears to be a shift in tone for director Zack Snyder. His visual style is still there (as per “Man of Steel” and “Batman vs. Superman”), but there’s a lot of humor now injected, especially (and surprisingly) from Ben Affleck’s Batman. In the wake of Superman’s death, Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince (Wonder Woman) realize that they need to start recruiting warriors to fight alongside them, and we got a big glimpse of what Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg are bringing to the table.
The November release looks like an epic blockbuster, with a lot of fight scenes against Darkseid’s parademons, and more so, the League actually look like they’re enjoying each other’s company while kicking ass. With that in mind, CBR decided to look at 15 things we’d love to see in the upcoming movie!
SPOILER WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for the DC Extended Universe movies!
15. APOKOLIPS UNCHAINED
In “BvS,” we already saw Lex Luthor hinting to Batman that Darkseid was coming, and we were also privy to an extended scene that showed a petrified Luthor actually conversing with what appeared to be Steppenwolf (Darkseid’s general) about the Mother Boxes (which are used for galactic transport) on Earth. With Steppenwolf as the main villain in this film, apart from just bringing parademons to the table, hopefully he brings other warriors with him, such as Kalibak, an unrelenting and unforgiving beast of a warrior who happens to be Darkseid’s son (and just as savage as his dad).
Other fighters we want include Darkseid’s Female Furies such as Lashina, Stompa, Granny Goodness (who usually gives them their directives), and Big Barda (who later on switched allegiance to the New Gods that opposed Darkseid). Kanto, recently seen in the “Darkseid War” comic event, is another great warrior that would be ideal for Aquaman to face, due to a similar bullish attitude. We need proper foes to face the League, showing them that it’s Apokolips now and truly, hell on Earth.
14. GO GREEN… LANTERNS!
Rumor has it that a Green Lantern (or a few) will appear in this movie. Fans are eager to see how Snyder shapes the Green Lantern Corps here, especially as this appearance will undoubtedly kickstart their own ensemble flick. We didn’t get a military space saga from Martin Campbell’s 2011 “Green Lantern” movie, and with such a packed cast here, the jury is out on how long the Lantern will appear and who it will be. Most of all, it needs to feel organic and not shoehorned in.
Hal Jordan is the obvious frontrunner, but John Stewart featured big in the “Justice League” cartoons. Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner are other options to show up to pledge assistance to the League. If they go the mini-origins route with Abin Sur crashing on Earth, then that will mean a new ring bearer will be chosen. Ideally though, we’d like to see an already-established Corps. They could arrive to warn the heroes that another Darkseid wave is coming, which they experienced for themselves. A wildcard could have them seeking refuge and a final stand after Darkseid’s army attacked Oa.
13. HEROIC CAMEOS
Cameos in these movies should feel organic and tie into the bigger picture, as opposed to being overly gratuitous. Kara Zor-El is out roaming somewhere and could appear as her pod was open in the Kryptonian ship in “MoS,” while the galactic signal on Earth could see the Martian Manhunter reveal himself as an ally against Darkseid’s cosmic conquest. Green Arrow, Black Canary and Wally West (as Iris West is already a confirmed cameo), are other ground-level faces that could show up to help Batman’s posse.
Even if it’s a few easter eggs littered here and there, the DC cineverse is bigger now, more than ever, and Snyder knows that he’ll need to rustle up a lot of heroes if they’re to fend off Darkseid’s massive armies. Captain Atom or Firestorm could be governmental responses, the Atom could be teased, and fan favorite, Blue Beetle, can also appear with his alien scarab making its way to Earth. Either way, let’s hope we see signs of an expanding Justice League at key junctions.
12. THE MYSTICAL REALM
The Mother Boxes will be crucial elements to Darkseid taking over Earth, and the galaxy. Cyborg is made from one, and the other two are still out there with rumors suggesting that this is where the Atlanteans and Amazons come into play. Speculation is that both may be safeguarding the other two, so it would be a big move to see some sort of mystical protection if they are. “Suicide Squad” already opened this dimension with the Enchantress so it’s not a far stretch.
A curveball could be that the final Mother Box may not be with either race, but under supernatural lockdown. The likes of John Constantine, Dr. Fate, Jason Blood, Shazam, even Zatanna, are all magical entities that could have been secretly guarding one using their powers, similar to how we saw the Eye of Agamotto under mystical security in Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange.” Such a move would smartly tie in the proposed “Dark Universe” movie in a manner that would please fans of “Justice League Dark,” putting the magical realm on a very high pedestal.
11. THE BAT-FAMILY
We got our first taste of Commissioner Jim Gordon as he poked fun of Batman playing nice with the League in the trailer. It was a lighthearted moment that showed their relationship may not be as dark as the one Christopher Nolan cultivated. Given the volume of parademons invading, if we see Gotham or Metropolis under attack, Gordon helping coordinate with Alfred and the Bat-family would be immense fan service, but also a logical retaliation against the aliens.
We’re not expecting Gordon to don a mecha-suit like he did in Scott Snyder’s books, but having him share information for the likes of Nightwing, Robin (Tim Drake), Oracle/Batgirl (his daughter, Barbara) or even Batwing (Lucius Fox’s son, Luke), would help give insight into the sandbox that director, Matt Reeves, is going to be playing in after taking over for the next Batman solo movie. When Batman is off on Justice League duty, Gotham needs superhero policing and this may well be our first peek behind that curtain.
10. THE DYNAMIC OF ATLANTIS
James Wan’s “Aquaman” is set to hit cinemas in 2018, but by then, fans will have gotten a taste of the Sea King (Jason Momoa) from “Justice League.” From what we saw so far, he’s badass, ready for a fight, and quite the joker! A surprise from the latest clip showed Queen Mera (played by Amber Heard) and Atlantean warriors with what appears to be a chest. Speculation is that this could be the Mother Box which Atlantis is guarding.
We’re certain to see more of Aquaman’s kingdom here, and hopefully, we get insight into his family dynamic. Nuidis Vulko (Willem Defoe’s character) will appear and as fans of the New 52 know, he was a scientist and adviser to Atlantis, who played a big part in the “Throne of Atlantis” comic event. That alone hints that we could see a lot more about Atlantis’ relationship, not just to the surface world, but inside their own confines. Orn (Ocean Master and Aquaman’s brother) and Black Manta would be key faces to preview when it comes to the underwater kingdom, setting up what’s to come with Wan.
9. THE NEW GODS
The New Gods belong to the warring twin planets of Apokolips and New Genesis. Darkseid struck a truce with New Genesis’ Highfather where they exchanged sons for peace. Darkseid sent Orion over, who became a stark opposer against his tyranny, while Scott Free became Mr. Miracle, an escape artist in the fiery pits and catacombs of Apokolips (who also married his fellow defector, Big Barda). Seeing all of these players, as well as the planets’ intricacies, would give great insight into Darkseid’s thirst for power, and the Anti-Life Equation which he wants everyone to submit to.
This particular war is what drives him to conquer the galaxy, with Metron (who monitors all these events) often warning him how his actions would affect the Source Wall and the overall balance of creation, life and death in the multiverse. It would surely be a spectacle watching Snyder paint these visuals like he did Krypton, but it’s how he will be refining the inhabitants of each planet that has us giddy. If the guilds of Krypton were any indication, then we’re pumped to see what he can do for the New Gods and their homes.
8. THE BATTLE FOR CYBORG’S SOUL
With Cyborg being created from a Mother Box to save his body after an accident, it’s obvious he’ll be the Justice League’s transporting mechanism when they want to wander off-planet. But that also makes him a risk because there’s the potential for him to be corrupted if the other two Boxes fall into Darkseid’s hands. Cyborg could be a walking time-bomb and a tool that Darkseid uses to infiltrate the League, if careful attention isn’t paid.
Having him fighting off this internal invasion would be a great arc because it would be yet another battle of him fighting for his soul, which he surely faces as man versus machine everyday. It could also be a big twist to have him turn on the League because he would have access to their secrets and weaknesses. If Cyborg isn’t safeguarding himself like he should, then we may well be looking at an enemy in the camp. Being a Mother Box is a huge asset to saving the galaxy, but not when Darkseid wants to use you.
7. INJUSTICE LEAGUE
The same way that Darkseid’s invasion can rally heroes to band together, it could also be a beacon for villains to join his crusade. That is, if they haven’t already. A welcome twist would be if we glimpse a galactic injustice gang working behind the scenes, helping Darkseid sweep through the galaxy. Sinestro (leader of the Yellow Lanterns) and Atrocitus (of the Red Lanterns) could be partners, which may be what drove the Green Lanterns back to Earth.
Mongol (with his Warworld assault satellite), Despero, Brainiac and Lobo (as a paid merc) are all powerful villains that could enlist with Darkseid in the same way that Ronan did with Thanos in the MCU. There’s strength in numbers and perhaps all these characters could be working different sectors for Darkseid as his agents, and once he conquers, he gives them dominion over their claim. It would be a big retcon by having him use these generals outside of Apokolips, but it would make sense if he wants his reach to extend throughout the cosmos.
6. THE SOUNDTRACK
In March 2016, Hans Zimmer, who composed the score for Snyder’s two previous DC movies, stated that he is officially retired from the “superhero business.” He was replaced by Junkie XL, who worked on “BvS,” and from what we’ve heard so far, it’s promising. The “Come Together” track on the last trailer hints at a rollicking affair. The Dutch composer worked on “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Inception” and “Deadpool,” so his resume is pretty stacked and his talents aren’t any big surprise.
When it comes to a superhero soundtrack though, it’s not just about action but about emotion. This was perfectly conveyed in “Logan,” so we hope to hear orchestral swells and symphonic crescendos telling us the stories of triumph. But we would also love a hard-rock flair a la the “Wonder Woman” theme song that reiterates how this film is for modern audiences who want a fun time at the cinema. Given that the League may be traversing different worlds, let’s hope the soundtrack comes alive like a character with a certain personality, similar to how “Luke Cage’s” music brought Harlem to life.
5. ATLANTEANS & AMAZONS
We saw the Atlanteans and Amazons go to war in the “Flashpoint” comic event, but here it’s rumored that both joined forces to defeat the invading Darkseid armies of old. This speculation is what drives the theory that each race is hiding a Mother Box. We already witnessed the Amazons taking on parademons in the trailer, but we’re not sure if it’s the past or present. Either way, we are craving that team-up with Atlantis to show the aliens what a 1-2 surface-water gut-punch feels like!
It would be amazing to see them synchronize in breathless action sequences, choreographed on land and in water, fighting for the planet as one. Scenes like this make the movies pop to life like true comic blockbusters and double-page comic splashes. There’s a lot of interest into how this camaraderie will play out, given that Amazons have that no-male and no-intruder policy intact. The exchanges between Wonder Woman and Aquaman are going to have us glued to our seats, especially if there’s a bridge to mend in the modern era between both clans.
4. DON’T OVERDO THE HUMOR
With the humor and comic relief flowing, fans believe that Snyder took a page from Marvel Studios and lightened up. Batman, Aquaman and Flash were all quippy in the clips thus far, but we’re hoping that while the tone has shifted to the warmer end of the spectrum, Snyder’s team hasn’t lost what made their gritty, dark movies work. A balance needs to be struck because his films have a distinct look and feel to them. Dialling things back isn’t bad, but changing up too much could be risky.
Snyder’s universe is all about war and high-stakes, with death very much a big part of it. Marvel Studios has been campy in the past, but its films are now a tad more aggressive due to Thanos’ impending arrival. DC is already at that point, and while it’s nice to show the League enjoying their ass-kicking, let’s not make it “Super Friends” either. Snyder’s sense of gravity and urgency differentiates DC’s movies, and gives them a signature flair and aesthetic, so hopefully he keeps the best parts of this essence as he calibrates and adjusts moving forward.
3. SUICIDE SQUAD
The post-credits of “Suicide Squad” showed Amanda Waller giving information to Bruce Wayne on superpowered individuals he wanted to recruit. In exchange, he offered her safety after the Enchantress debacle as the government was on her tail. However, he warned her to decommission this Task Force X, while she retorted that he should ease up on the Batman gig. It was a chilly exchange that sewed seeds for a potential “Justice League vs. Suicide Squad” clash later on.
The League may be over-powered but there’s always a chance Waller will recruit folks like Killer Frost to help even things up, as we saw in the comic event. There was a dark tension to their relationship, but another twist in Snyder’s movie could see Waller offering their services against the parademons. It’s unlikely Batman will take up that offer, but if Waller’s schemes appear here again, then expect fireworks — we all know neither she nor Bruce will back down from that collision course.
2. DARKSEID’S WRATH
Darkseid’s reveal needs to be the most intimidating we’ve seen from Snyder. Hopefully he makes an appearance at the end to set up the sequel, and we’re praying it’s one that resonates for a while. He should be appearing to the League after Steppenwolf’s raid, displaying his unabashed power. If that means beating down one of the heroes, then so be it. We’re not calling for a murder just yet as “BvS” already killed Superman. Some theorists think he’s also trying to revive Superman as a general of his, so seeing the Kryptonian controlled by him would be very chilling to cap the movie.
If the League wins and we end up with a glimpse of defeat back on Apokolips, then his debut could be killing one of his own for their failures, similar to something Darth Vader would do. No matter how he pops up, it has to be a power play, and not what we’ve seen from Thanos in the MCU as someone who barks orders with levity. Darkseid’s first impression should be a lasting one that strikes fear throughout the cosmos!
1. SUPERMAN RETURNS
Some fans may not have expected Superman to die at the hands of Doomsday, but at the end of “BvS” we witnessed hints that he may be alive with the dirt inside his grave levitating. However, a proper explanation is needed for his full-fledged return, not just something along the lines of “he was taking a super-nap!” It needs to fit the narrative of the invasion, which is why Darkseid coming for his body does hold credence, as we all know how powerful an unhinged and unrestrained Kryptonian can be if revived and mind-controlled.
In the trailer, we saw Lois Lane looking to the sky, so maybe Superman does return to help the League against Steppenwolf’s battalion. What matters is that it feels real and natural to the plot. Snyder could be doing what “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” did with Luke Skywalker, by holding out until the very end. However, that would be a big disservice to an audience who wants Superman front and centre with Batman and Wonder Woman, bringing DC’s superhero Trinity back with a bang!
Let us know in the comments what you’d love to see in “Justice League” this November!