Zack Snyder may not be a part of Warner Bros.' DC Extended Universe anymore, but it's hard to dispute he had a big vision for it. Things got off to a wobbly start with Man of Steel, with Snyder quickly throwing the Dark Knight and Diana of Themyscira into the mix in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. This, of course, was designed as a prelude to Justice League, which was originally envisioned as a two-part story rather than a single film.
However, following the latter's commercial and critical failure, the DCEU has been undergoing quite a bit of course-correcting via films like Aquaman, Shazam! and Wonder Woman. Snyder, though, often teases what could have been, sharing photos, deleted scenes and other snippets on social media, repeatedly stoking the fires of those who want the #SnyderCut. Now, with the revelation an iconic Justice League-inspired Tree of Life, he might have actually given away more than ever before.
This artwork was created for a t-shirt, the proceeds from which are going to suicide prevention, a charity close to Snyder's heart due to the unfortunate event of his own daughter's suicide.
The artwork acts as a map of sorts, indicating how he wanted to lay out the DCEU. At the bottom is the most human hero, Batman, set up as the base from which everything else springs, a reference to him having operated for years before Superman made his presence known. The "onward" branch and Hermes' wings point to Flash and Barry Allen's momentum as a hero. The Mother Box points to Cyborg's transformation from Vic Stone, with "inward" speaking to his humanity within.
Above them, the DNA strand hints to Wonder Woman's godhood and her Amazonian people being an ancient race, while the building, gears and moon on Aquaman's side references how Snyder wanted to paint them as an advanced civilization meant to inspire man, a theme James Wan touched on in his film. Most of all, they're in the upper echelon as gods, with the ultimate god above them all: Superman. This is the hierarchy Snyder set up, with heroes viewing each other as men looking up at gods.
THE SUPERMAN BRANCH
This is a telling piece of iconography as we see a sword running down from the House of El symbol. It has the Hebrew word "kataphileo" attached to it, which means "kiss," and this could be a metaphor for Superman's love for mankind and his belief in them, while also referencing his creators' Jewish faith. This runs through the globe, which has the letter "A" on it, indicating that Superman's "S" could be a scarlet letter, a target which made him an outcast.
The sword runs through the Omega symbol, along with six other knives, a possible reference to the "unite the seven" teaser that was part of Justice League's original marketing campaign, setting them up to take down Darkseid, his Omega Sanction and the Anti-Life Equation. However, this is still up in the air, as fans are still torn over whether Snyder meant a seventh hero or was referencing Atlantis' Seven Kingdoms. Whatever the case there, the sword pierces a coffin, a reference to the Superman death we saw in BvS, or Batman's potential sacrifice fighting the lord of Apokolips a la DC's Final Crisis.
THE GIFT OF LIFE
The baby at the bottom of the visual is the one fans are speculating most about. Initially, some theorized it represented a pure human, ergo it's positioning next to Batman. But there's another theory; if Batman's death was tied to the coffin, then his sacrifice at Darkseid's hands might have been to save Lois and her unborn baby.
What if Snyder did have Lois getting pregnant when Clark Kent was resurrected in the first part of Justice League, and to save her in battle, Bruce Wayne sacrificed himself? It would truly bring things full-circle with Man of Steel being about birth, BvS... death, and Justice League part one being rebirth only for the second part to be about death again -- thus creating a vicious circle of life. Atop the entire image, we see "aequitas" which is Latin for symmetry and balance, which could mean the best of both worlds, aka Superman and Lois' kid. It also means justice and fairness, ultimately describing the League as a whole.
It appears Snyder wanted to bridge the world between these gods and the men beneath, brining balance to the universe by having these heroes take out Darkseid. While collateral damage may have occurred along the way, Snyder's endgame appears to have been to ignite the birth of new heroes -- whether it be a half-human/half-Kryptonian or via Batman's mantle passing down to his fellow man.