Batman V Superman: where does it leave the Justice League?

We have a look at what Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice means for the Justice League films and the wider DC Extended Universe…

Contains spoilers for Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice was a movie with two jobs, both of which were present in the title itself with a handy colon to divide them. The ‘who would win between Bats and Supes?’ part was wrapped up tidily with a bow/Kryptonite spear on top, but the ‘setting up the Justice League’ half was a little less clear-cut in its execution.

There are a few steps still to go before The Justice League Of America are fully formed and operational in the DC Extended Universe, but Batman V Superman laid a lot of the groundwork for their upcoming two-part team-up movie. Mr Zack Snyder achieved this not only through Lex Luthor’s handy colour-coded files about Metahumans, but also in other little moments throughout the movie. 

Without further ado, then, here’s everything that Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice seems to seed about the Justice League… 

NB: If we’ve missed a nod or a tease that you spotted, please do pop it in the comments.

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Batman’s Matrix Moment

At one point in the movie, Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne awakes from a dream twice in quick succession. As with the memorable dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream sequence at the start of The Matrix, it’s left unclear to the viewer – for now, at least – whether Bats just has an overactive imagination or if there’s something more sinister at play here.

The first dream, where Batman is fighting against soldiers clad in Superman logos in a sandy dystopian environment, seems most likely to just be a creation of Batman’s sleepy and paranoid mind. To me, this sequence looks like the kind of wacko fantasy Batman would dream up, especially if he’d eaten a huge block cheese and fallen asleep while binge-watching a Mad Max box-set. I certainly wasn’t under the impression that this was meant to be a genuine premonition of things to come in The Justice League, but I could be wrong.

I’ve read articles – like this one, from The Telegraph – that read a little bit more into this sequence. The flying creatures that support Superman’s army look rather a lot like Parademons, a comic book species that traditionally answer to Darkseid. There’s also a big shape on the floor at one stage in the dream that resembles the Omega sign, a recurrent logo for Darkseid in the comics.

Could this whole sequence be intended as a premonition of classic Justice League villain Darkseid’s eventual arrival in the DCEU? Possibly. We’ll come back to that in a bit. But first, let’s talk about the dream that Bruce found himself in after this sandy monstrosity…

Bruce awoke from the sandy dream, only to find a hole in the fabric of reality right there in his workplace. A masked character tried to tell him something. It seemed to regard Lois Lane, but the unnamed chap was too frantic to properly get the message across. I think I heard him say something about it being ‘too soon’, before Bruce suddenly woke up again and found the room empty.

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This second dream, I think, wasn’t a dream at all. I think this unnamed character has travelled from the future, or possibly an alternate dimension, in a bid to alert Bruce to something important and avert some terrible disaster. 

It seems that this mystery man’s attempted warning has been botched in some way, causing Bruce to pass it off as just another barmy dream. Maybe he’ll tell Alfred to reduce the dairy in his diet, but beyond that it doesn’t seem like this dream will have much of an immediate impression on Gotham’s Dark Knight. Perhaps he’ll remember it later, at a crucial point in the plot of a future film.

For now, us audience members are left to speculate. It seems that Lois Lane will be tied to a chain of world-threatening events at some point in the future, and that things will get so bad that an attempt is made by the Justice League to send a message back in time in a bid to set things right.

As for the identity of that chap trying to deliver the warning: I think it was Ezra Miller’s new take on The Flash. His name popped up in the end credits a fair distance before Ray Fisher’s Cyborg, suggesting that Miller was in the movie at some other point before his more obvious cameo in the shop CCTV footage from Lex Luthor’s laptop.

So – in a future Justice League or The Flash film, I think Ezra Miller’s character will be sent back in time to try and warn Batman about something involving Lois Lane. He’ll arrive ‘too soon’, though, and meet a Bruce who has no idea who this masked nutter is and dismisses the entire encounter as a weird dream.

The Metahuman Thesis

Right at the start of Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor and Holly Hunter’s Senator Finch allude briefly to ‘The Metahuman Thesis’. Anyone who watches The Flash would have heard this term and guessed immediately that Lex has been compiling research on humans with extraordinary abilities. Krypton isn’t the only planet capable of producing super-beings, after all.

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Later, Bruce Wayne hacks into Lex’s computer system and uncovers said research. Surprise surprise; Lex has been keeping a keen eye on Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg, who just happen to all be members of the impending cinematic Justice League as well as having their own solo movies in the Warner Bros pipeline.

Lex had a picture of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman dated 1918, alongside Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor and a few other chaps. One of them was wearing a hat. We’ll get to see these World War I adventures in the June 2017 Wonder Woman film, which Patty Jenkins has directed. The first footage of the movie – which will surely establish Wonder Woman as an Amazonian princess, just like the comics – is already online.

There was also some candid footage of Jason Momoa’s Aquaman. He emerged from underwater carrying his trident, and promptly walloped the camera. This tells us that Momoa’s King of Atlantis isn’t too keen on being located by ground-dwelling folk, which is bound to be elaborated upon in the July 2018 Aquaman picture.

Some CCTV footage also gave taught us some important facts about Ezra Miller’s incoming take on The Flash. This version of Barry Allen likes milk, justice, and running really fast. Tune in to his March 2018 solo movie to find out more.

Also: we got to see the making of Ray Fisher’s Cyborg, whose real name is Victor Stone. In the comics, this fella’s parents experimented on him and turned him into a man/machine hybrid, all to try and save his life. It looks like this psychical transformation has already happened in the movie universe, but Cyborg’s April 2020 solo movie could well fill in a few extra details.

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The interesting thing about this medley of superhero teases is that all these origin stories are already well underway within the continuity of this shared universe. The Flash, Cyborg, Wonder Woman and Aquaman may not be big public heroes in the vein of Batman and Superman just yet, but they’ve all already got their powers. This’ll save time when the first Justice League movie rolls around in November 2017.

But who’ll they be fighting? Hmm…

“The bell has been rung”

Right at the end of Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, Lex Luthor has been locked up and Batman pays him a grumpy visit. It’s not explicitly stated why Lex has been put in prison, but creating a huge monster and sending him straight into a major city centre is probably among the things on his rap sheet.

I’m going to have to see the film again to be 100% sure on what Lex said to Batman in this scene, but it definitely included “the bell” having been rung and a warning that “he’s coming”. It seems Lex is aware that his actions in this movie will attract an even higher class of criminal.

From here, Snyder cuts to that painting in Lex’s mansion, which has now been turned upside-down just like he suggested earlier on. The devil isn’t coming from the earth below, but from the sky. The camera lingers on a winged demon in the picture.

This visually recalls the flying creatures from Batman’s sandy dream, which again draws to mind the Parademons of the comics – the monstrous alien army that traditionally answer to Darkseid. Nobody actually says the work ‘Darkseid’, but it seems pretty obvious that this is what DC, Warner Bros and Snyder are trying to tease.

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Who is Darkseid? He’s a powerful alien supervillain who presides over the planet Apokalips in the comic book source material. His ultimate goal is to wipe out free-will and bend the universe to his bidding, and he uses flying Parademons to keep the populous of Apokalips in check.

His powers include flight, shape shifting, telepathy, telekinesis, teleportation, immortality and invulnerability. He can also project Omega Beams, a very powerful force which is capable of disintegrating stuff. Put simply: he’s big trouble, especially for the superheroes of the DC movie universe who have barely begun to make friends.

I’d expect Darkseid to be confirmed as the villain of the upcoming Justice League movies pretty soon, in all honesty. Unless I’m reading the teases wrong, it seems likely that Lex’s powerful alien experiments from Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice will lure Darkseid to Earth and set in motion a cataclysmic chain of events which will cause the Justice League to form and take him down.

This still leaves the mystery dangling about the aforementioned warning scene. What was that guy in the portal trying to tell Bruce about Lois Lane? Is Darkseid going to corrupt her or use her in some way? Time will tell.

“Just a feeling”

And finally, we see Batman and Wonder Woman – in their civvies as Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince – stood sombrely at Superman’s funeral. Bruce tells Diana that they need to start finding the other people like her, because they’ll be needed in an upcoming fight. Bruce isn’t sure why he thinks this. It’s “just a feeling”.

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By “the others like you”, I assume Bruce means Metahumans (as opposed to Amazonians). I read this scene as a tease that Bruce and Diana will now function as the Nick Fury equivalents of the DC Extended Universe and bring a team of powerful goodies together. Cyborg, Aquaman and The Flash are rather blatantly on their to-be-recruited list.

Assuming that Suicide Squad (which arrives in UK cinemas in August 2016) won’t want to waste much of its running time teeing up The Justice League, it’ll fall to the Wonder Woman film (June 2017) to place any further pieces in place before the first big Justice League crossover movie arrives in November 2017.

It’ll be interesting to see when Snyder and co. decide to bring back Henry Cavill’s Superman. Obviously, he was never going to stay deceased, but it could take a while for him to fully regenerate from that comics-echoing stabbing at the hands of Doomsday. I can’t imagine him not being back in action by the time that The Justice League Part One rolls around, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.