In the process, the more than four minutes of footage provides the most comprehensive, and most compelling, look at the DC Cinematic Universe — one populated by super-powered humans, undersea civilizations, invading aliens and, yes, Green Lanterns. It’s a hint at what’s to come (and we don’t mean Steppenwolf and the forces of Apokolips).
CBR breaks down some of the key moments, and the biggest questions, from the new Justice League trailer below.
A World Without Superman
The trailer quickly establishes a world still in mourning following the death of the Man of Steel in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. “World Without Hope,” blares the front page of the Daily Planet as news reports paint a picture of crime waves, trouble at Arkham Asylum and, most interesting of all, an absent Batman.
It would seem that Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne was affected so deeply by the sacrifice of Superman that he’s gone into seclusion, either to mourn in his own way or plot his next move, which we can safely presume involves assembling the Justice League.
All Our Hopes Are Pinned Upon You
Batman may be a “no-show,” but it appears Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman remains in the thick of the action after the events of Batman v Superman, taking out a group of gunmen and bringing a swift end to a hostage situation. But asked by her co-worker what she did over the weekend, Diana responds, “Me? Nothing very interesting …”
Wonder Woman plays a prominent role throughout the trailer, as you might expect from both her place in DC Comics lore and the blockbuster status of her solo film. She’s positioned as both a formidable warrior and an inspirational figure.
Boom Goes the … Boom Tube
We’re transported back to Themyscira after the events of Wonder Woman, where we see a Mother Box — one of the “living computers” from Apokolips so central to Justice League — in possession of the Amazons. Connie Nielsen’s Queen Hippolyta, in full armor, leads her warriors to where the Mother Box is kept, just in time for a Boom Tube to open, to earth-shaking effect.
A fixture of DC Comics lore since its introduction by Jack Kirby in 1971’s The Forever People #1, a Boom Tube is an extra-dimensional portal activated by a Mother Box, allowing travel from one point to another — typically with Apokolips or New Genesis on one end. It opens with a BOOM, hence the name.
Now THAT’S An Entrance
We can safely assume Apokolips is on the other end of the Boom Tube, as that’s Justice League‘s primary antagonist Steppenwolf dropping into Themyscira without an invitation. Voiced in Justice League by Ciarán Hinds (Game of Thrones, Harry Potter), he’s the uncle of Apokolips and commander of the Parademons — the shock troops of Apokolips — charged with finding the three Mother Boxes on Earth.
Who has those Mother Boxes? Well, as we see, the Amazons have one; another is in the possession of Atlantis. And the third? It was used to create the cyborg body of Ray Fisher’s Victor Stone. Yes, Cyborg is a Mother Box.
Although the dialogue has nothing to do with the image, we hear Hinds’ Steppenwolf say in voiceover, “No protectors here … no Lanterns … no Kryptonian,” implying Earth is ripe for the picking. He’s wrong, of course, but the key word here is “Lanterns,” marking the first reference to the Green Lantern Corps in the DC Extended Universe.
The nod makes perfect sense of course, as Steppenwolf would be aware of the Green Lantern Corps, who are expected to star in their own film in 2020. However, his comment raises a big question: Why isn’t there a Green Lantern assigned to Earth in the DCEU?
We’re probably meant to believe that, between the fluttering cape and the “Kryptonian” reference, Bruce Wayne is staring at a holographic representation of Superman. But as we pointed out elsewhere, that doesn’t look like the Man of Steel’s leg or his costume. Is it possible we’re glimpsing another Kryptonian — say, Superman’s cousin?
That’s a longshot theory, sure, but an enticing one.
Jeremy Irons as the delightfully droll Alfred Pennyworth may have the trailer’s best lines, here coolly delivering a nod to Batman’s rogues gallery even as the world crumbles around them: “One misses the days when one’s biggest concerns were exploding wind-up penguins.”
While Irons, who reprises his role from Batman v Superman, previously joked that as Bruce Wayne’s butler, “it’s clear I will not be dominating” Justice League, he has three scenes in this trailer, signaling there may be hope still.
Assemble the Shock Troops
It’s difficult to tell whether this is Apokolips, the planet ruled with an iron fist by Darkseid, or one of its massive spaceships, but we’re going with the former. At the center Steppenwolf strides toward a glowing object that’s likely a Mother Box opening a Boom Tube — possibly even the one to Themyscira seen earlier in the trailer.
He’s of course surrounded by Parademons, the winged shock troops introduced into the DCEU in Batman v Superman, during Bruce Wayne’s vision of a post-apocalyptic Earth that resembles — you guessed it! — Apokolips.
The Hero in Training
As in the first trailer, here Ezra Miller’s The Flash provides much of the comic relief, portraying a novice hero who feels, well, out of his league. “It’s really cool you guys seem ready to do battle and stuff,” he confides to Batman, “but I’ve never done battle. I’ve just pushed some people and run away.”
He gets another funny moment toward the end of the trailer, with J.K. Simmons’ Commissioner Gordon — but lest you think he’s only there for laughs, he shines in the slow-motion action sequences too.
‘Relax, Alfred, I’ll Take It From Here’
Although Ray Fisher’s Cyborg spends much of the footage standing around looking cool in his gleaming metal body, he gets a moment to shine — and demonstrate some of his abilities — when he takes control of Batman’s new vehicle the Nightcrawler.
Exuding a confidence that escapes Miller’s Barry Allen, he tells Batman’s Butler over the com link, “Relax, Alfred, I’ll take it from here.” While it’s clear Victor knows who Alfred is, the reverse doesn’t appear to true, perhaps indicating that Cyborg is a force to be reckoned with, able to hack Batman’s systems.
Themyscira Vs. Apokolips
We saw a confrontation between the forces of Themyscira and Apokolips in the first trailer, but here we’re thrown into the thick of the battle. There’s still some question as to whether the scenes involving the Amazons are set in the present day or in the distant past, in no small part because Robin Wright is reprising her role as General Antiope from Wonder Woman.
It’s certainly possible that Themyscira and Atlantis fought invaders from Apokolips centuries ago, which might explain how they came into possession of two of the Mother Boxes.
Parademons All the Way Down, Bro
Remember how the Lord of the Rings films tied a little too hard (OK, a lot too hard) to make Legolas cool, using bad CG to turn him into a Middle-earth skater boy who can glide down the trunk of a dying Mûmakil? Well, Justice League appears to deftly sidestep that trap with Jason Momoa’s hard-living, hard-fighting Aquaman.
Although Atlantis’ favorite surfer bro has relatively limited screen time in this trailer, he makes the most of it, cracking wise — “Mostly, I think we’re all gonna die” — and dispatching a Parademon with a stab of his trident, then riding the body crashing to the ground (and through a building). With a hearty “Wa-hoo!,” no less.
‘He Said You’d Come’
The trailer’s final moment goes to Jeremy Irons’ Alfred Pennyworth, a brief homage to Jurassic Park involving a glass of Scotch, and the off-camera arrival of whom we’re meant to believe is Henry Cavill’s Superman. It probably would’ve been more powerful had the scene ended with a shot of his earnest face, but that omission leaves open the possibility that it’s not the Man of Steel, but instead another Kryptonian. Or maybe a Green Lantern.
(It’s probably Superman, though.)
Arriving Nov. 17, 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, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Willem Dafoe as Vulko, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta and J. K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon.
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