WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Warner Bros.’ Justice League, in theaters now.
Beginning with the appearance of Parademons and the Omega symbol in the "Knightmare" sequence of 2015's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it was clear the DC Extended Universe was heading toward the arrival of one of DC Comics' most iconic villains, Darkseid. Although that tease was more subtle than Thanos cameo at the conclusion of Marvel's The Avengers, it signaled that the hellish world of Apokolips would soon be at Earth's door, and that the Dark Knight would need more than the Man of Steel to confront that threat.
In the Batman v Superman deleted scene titled "Communion," the link to Darkseid was confirmed with Steppenwolf appearing to Lex Luthor, kickstarting his quest for the Mother Boxes as the plot driver of Justice League. All of that now combines to leave fans counting the days until Darkseid touches down on Earth. But while Zack Snyder's latest entry in the DCEU doesn't indicate exactly when the iron-fisted ruler of Apokolips will appear, it does hint at how and why he'll make a grand entrance.
Created by Jack Kirby in 1971 as part of the pantheon of New Gods, Darkseid leads Apokolips in its ambition to conquer not only its neighbors, New Genesis, but the entire galaxy. His forces, from the Parademons to his generals like Steppenwolf, Desaad, the Furies and Granny Goodness, use Boom Tube technology, courtesy of the Mother Boxes, to crisscross the universe.
However, in Justice League Steppenwolf demonstrates that he and his armies can teleport without the assistance of Mother Boxes. It's safe to say that if they can show up anywhere on Earth, whether it's to the hidden island of Themyscira or the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, then so can Darkseid. It's just a matter of when he chooses to show up, and for what reason.
The film provides a few motivating factors for when he'll arrive, beginning with Steppenwolf's failure. The general was responsible for terraforming planets using the Mother Boxes to make them similar to Apokolips, in the name of the Unity, which is the process whereby worlds are conquered and their inhabitants turned into Parademons. His actions were also carried out in the name of the Mother, which we can assume is the cult-like mentality Darkseid has embedded in his soldiers and perhaps the philosophy of those who believe in the Anti-Life Equation.
While Steppenwolf doesn't mention the Equation -- it's what Darkseid uses in the comics to enslave planets by breaking their will and having them submit to his rule -- by name, in his extremist disposition he does mutter the phrase "... for Darkseid," a direct reference to his leader and the war motto of Apokolips.
When Steppenwolf falls short in his mission, we witness his Parademons turning on him, only for them to be teleported away, most likely back to Apokolips to face judgment by Darkseid himself. Steppenwolf mentions that he was in exile for failing to break Earth's resistance of Amazons, Atlanteans, the DCEU's Green Lanterns and humans centuries earlier, so perhaps this invasion was his final chance to execute Darkseid's will. This failure could now be the catalyst for Darkseid come to Earth and finish the job himself.
Also, it's apparent that Earth now has challengers worthy of his time in the form of the Justice League. Steppenwolf indicated he smelled the blood of the Old Gods in Wonder Woman, so her presence, along with that of the Kryptonian Superman and their new allies could further entice Darkseid to come test his might and show the universe just what the New Gods are about.
This is something Darkseid has done numerous times over the years in DC comics, including in Geoff Johns and Jim Lee's relaunched Justice League and, more recently, the Darkseid War event. In the books, he also sired a daughter, Grail, with an Amazon (Myrina Black), so either way, whether future films play on this or the fact his forces were whipped into retreat yet again, Darkseid's pride would have been dented at the end of Justice League. That, in and of itself, is a huge reason for him to come crush Earth with his Omega Beams and further prove to the cosmos that Darkseid is ... unbeatable.
Now in theaters, Justice League stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Raymond Fisher as Cyborg, Willem Dafoe as Vulko, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta, Amber Heard as Mera and J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon.