Regardless of its performance, Justice League is guaranteed to affect what the DCEU is going to do with the following films in the franchise. Aquaman is set to release in December 2018 (unfortunately, we will have to wait another year to see those green tights), with Shazam! and Wonder Woman 2 to follow in 2019. As usual, those who have seen Justice League have begun to speculate what hints were given and how it’s all going to be connected. While the MCU has done this masterfully, DCEU fans are hoping that DC can keep up, or at least right the ship of the franchise’s overall lukewarm critical reception. Here at CBR, we’re looking into 15 post-Justice League theories for the DCEU.
SPOILER WARNING: Major spoilers for Justice League ahead!
Ezra Miller’s Flash first appeared in the DCEU as a time traveling warning to Bruce Wayne about Lois being “the key” to everything. This has certainly played out in Justice League with Lois coaxing a newly resurrected Superman to stop beating up his friends, but there are bound to be more implications of the Flash’s time traveling powers.
The Flash standalone film has been announced as Flashpoint, and if it follows a similar story as the comics, that means we’ll see an alternate universe where Bruce was killed with his mother in the famous Wayne family murder. In this alternate universe, Thomas Wayne, Bruce’s father, takes the Batman mantle. The Flash meets Lois Lane in this timeline as well, along with the Marvel (Shazam) family. This would be a cool way to connect to the Shazam!, which will premiere before Flashpoint.
14 CLARK KENT’S FUTURE
The world was in mourning when Superman died, but there was also a funeral for Clark Kent, which his family and friends attended. Now that Superman has been resurrected, will Clark Kent receive the same treatment? Kal-El needs his Clark Kent life, not just because practically it makes sense (he needs to make money and weddings are expensive), but it’s a core part of his identity.
Bringing Clark back to life can be done through Bruce Wayne’s connections. Bruce Wayne is the type of person to have connections to high ranking government officials who could explain this away with needing Clark for a top secret undercover mission. Another option is Clark could return to a low-key farm life, but chances are that idyllic retirement idea won’t last long.
13 THE POST CREDIT LEAGUE
Justice League had two post credit scenes. One was a scene a DC fan’s dream come true with Superman and the Flash racing. The other featured the escape of Lex Luthor and his plot to assemble a “league,” starting with Deathstroke. We have to assume that this is going to be the start of the Injustice League or the Legion of Doom.
The Legion of Doom predates the Injustice League, but the idea is similar: a group of supervillains are assembled to take down their respective heroes and take over the world. The Legion of Doom has a headquarters like the Justice League called the Hall of Doom, which would be enormously entertaining to see in any DCEU film. The Injustice League appeared in the New 52 reboot, however, so it’s likely that’s how the DCEU will brand it.
12 BATMAN’S REPLACEMENT
In Justice League, Ben Affleck’s Batman has an “I’m getting too old for this” moment. Combined with rumors of Affleck’s exit from the franchise, we have begun to speculate how replacing Ben Affleck would work at this point. The first, and simplest, route would be to recast the character. There’s a precedent for this already with the Hulk in the MCU, and rumors are already spreading that Matt Reeves, the director of the solo Batman film, is starting to think of actors.
Another option would be to have the Batman solo films be prequels that focus on Batman’s 20 years of crime fighting before forming the Justice League, thereby using a younger actor. The last option would be to retcon Batman, and likely several other characters, using Flashpoint.
11 SHAZAM WILL JOIN THE LEAGUE
The New 52 Justice League comics started featuring Shazam!, which included an origin story for Billy Batson. With Geoff Johns being involved in both the DCEU films and this comic, the DCEU could take inspiration from it, and Shazam can be inducted into the Justice League. Shazam! has the potential to be the Guardians of the Galaxy of the DCEU.
Its story being more rooted in fantasy can lend itself to more humor, especially with Zachary Levi in the lead role. The DCEU has been criticized for being too dark, and Shazam! can infuse the franchise with a lighter tone whose story will still have consequences. In the New 52, Shazam ends up under Cyborg’s wing as a Justice League newbie, which would be fun to see on-screen.
10 INCOMING DARKSEID
Steppenwolf, the villain of Justice League, is traditionally a precursor to Darkseid, and Steppenwolf certainly made his arrival in the film with the full-force of Apokolips. Though he ultimately failed in his plan to conquer Earth and was killed, Steppenwolf’s presence was serious enough for Bruce Wayne and the rest of the team to resurrect Superman. In comparison to Steppenwolf, Darkseid is a villain on an entirely different level.
The sequel to Justice League will likely involve Darkseid’s invasion of Earth in response to Steppenwolf’s failure. In the character’s history, Darkseid has been known to be a supervillain: his Omega Beams have the ability to render even Superman incapacitated. In order to stop him, the Justice League will have to anticipate his strength as well as intelligence.
9 MERA & AQUAMAN’S BACKSTORY
Justice League introduced the audience to Mera for the first time, who is traditionally Aquaman’s love interest. At this point in the DCEU version, they have only just met, though Mera has knowledge of Aquaman’s past that he’d rather not discuss. Aquaman is reluctant to be a ruler and doesn’t deal with these feelings before joining the Justice League.
Aquaman comments on Mera’s fighting ability in the film, and we see that she also has the ability to create air bubbles to surround people so they can talk underwater. With Aquaman coming up next, fans have been wondering how dialogue would be addressed, whether through subtitles, telepathy, or keeping most of the conversations on land. This conversation between Mera and Aquaman not only gives hints to Arthur Curry’s backstory, but it has shown us other ways that the Atlanteans can converse.
8 LOIS & CLARK’S WEDDING
With so much time spent on Lois’s engagement ring in the trailers and the films, there has to be a wedding. In the past, this was a cross-platform event with the comic and the Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman television episode having their weddings at the same time. With the formation of the Injustice League and the incoming Darkseid, however, there may not be time to plan for a wedding until a Man of Steel sequel.
If and when this wedding happens, it’s going to be a prime target for villains. The guests at this wedding are going to be a bunch of superheroes and journalists -- of course they’re going to be attacked! In the 1996 comic, the wedding occurs during a time when Superman doesn’t have his powers. If this is taken as an inspiration, the heroes will be down one major player (and we saw how well that went with Steppenwolf).
7 LITTLE RUSSIAN HERO?
A lot of attention was given to the little Russian girl whose family we saw escape from Steppenwolf’s destruction with the Flash’s help. We see her grab bug spray, meaning she was already forming a plan of attack at a young age. Could it be that we have another future hero in our midst?
This is pure speculation, but it would be interesting if this girl became a Teen Titan. Terra comes to mind, since she doesn’t have an origin story and she can move earth with her powers -- thematically, this would connect with the destruction she witnessed. Another (albeit farfetched) option is this little girl is Kara Zor-El, who will become Supergirl. However, her age is off, and the only connection to the comics would be to DC Bombshells, where Kara does land in Russia, but it happened about 100 years ago.
6 CYBORG, UPGRADED
What was consistent about the Cyborg character in Justice League is that Vic Stone was constantly discovering and testing his abilities. The culmination of this is when he and Superman are able to separate the Mother Boxes. Towards the end of the film, we see a shot of Cyborg with the glowing “C” on his chest, similar to Iron Man’s arc reactor. He didn’t have this previously in the film, which shows that his body is advancing as well.
As Cyborg keeps upgrading, we can start reminding ourselves of his abilities in previous iterations. One interesting one to note is at some point in the comics, he gets cybernetic lungs so he can breathe underwater. This could potentially be an interesting crossover into the Aquaman solo film.
Wonder Woman had difficulty coming back to be a hero for man’s world, but by the end of Justice League, she’s officially back, as seen by her foiling a museum burglary and greeting a group of children. In the background of the scene, you see a wealthy looking brunette woman being led away by authorities, and the child directly in front of Wonder Woman has black cat ears on. This could be a hint that Catwoman is coming.
Catwoman is known for stealing valuable items, and a museum heist is totally up her alley. While this may not be an official Catwoman easter egg, we know that Gotham City Sirens film is in development. Gotham City Sirens features three most popular lady villains of Gotham: Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman.
4 VILLAIN RECRUITMENTS TO CONTINUE
The build-up to the Injustice League will have to happen slowly, as there are a number of films between now and any Justice League sequel. We do not yet know if the sequel will have Darkseid, the Injustice League, or both, but with all these villains in the mix, we will have to be introduced to them gradually so as not to overwhelm the audience with a bunch of new characters at once.
The DCEU could accomplish this by doing the opposite of what the MCU did in their post credits scenes. What can unify the DCEU films is utilizing post credits scenes to introduce the villains to come: instead of Thor’s hammer, we see the next villain to be recruited. Deathstroke was the first, and with the Aquaman film coming up next, maybe Black Manta will be the next recruit.
3 THE NEW GODS
The New Gods was a comic created by Jack Kirby in the early '70s about two warring twin planets. This comic featured characters like Highfather, Orion, and Darkseid. CBR has discussed previously that the DCEU could easily turn this story into a Star Wars type saga if Darkseid and his warriors begin to search the cosmos for something more powerful than relics.
Fans have already begun to criticize that Steppenwolf’s line about the Old Gods was a throwaway. To flesh out this story, the DCEU would have to juggle the New Gods with the Injustice League, which is a lot to handle. A benefit of having a New Gods storyline, though, is that it could create a problem of such magnitude that the Green Lantern Corps will get involved.
2 THE HALL OF JUSTICE
Towards the end of Justice League, Bruce revisits the old Wayne Manor and decides it’s time for renovations. His idea so far involves a round table, an allusion to King Arthur. DC fans can take this to mean that Wayne Manor will be turned into The Hall of Justice.
The Hall of Justice will be to the Justice League as Avengers Tower is to the Avengers. This is meant to be the headquarters where they will meet and be alerted to crimes that need their assistance. It made its first appearance in Super Friends in the '70s and has changed throughout comics history -- sometimes it’s in Gotham City, sometimes it’s in space. It looks as though in the DCEU, it will be Gotham City.
1 GREEN LANTERN’S ARRIVAL
DCEU fans are hungry for Green Lantern to be done well. Many were hoping for a Green Lantern post-credits scene, but instead, we got a flashback of the Green Lantern Corps siding with the Amazons and Atlanteans to protect the Mother Boxes. The Green Lantern is sure to be included in the DCEU soon, as the DC title sequence ends with him.
In Justice League, the war over the Mother Boxes was said to have happened thousands of years ago, so it’s pure speculation so far as to who the bearer of the Sector 2814 ring is now. Whoever gets the ring, whether it’s Hal Jordan or not, his ring will probably have memories of fighting The New Gods, which would be useful in the Justice League sequels. Where do you hope the DCEU goes after Justice League? Let us know in the comments!