Is Zack Snyder’s Justice League Canon Thanks to Black Adam?

We have a theory that Black Adam secretly connects to the ending of Zack Snyder's Justice League.

Justice League Assembled
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

The official position of Warner Bros. when it comes to DCEU movie continuity (inasmuch as that is even actually a thing these days) is that the beleaguered theatrical version of Justice League is the one that is official canon. The extended (and holy moley, we do mean extended) director’s cut known as Zack Snyder’s Justice League that you can watch on HBO Max is basically just a courtesy to the filmmaker and fans (not to mention a way for them to drive HBO Max subscriptions at launch). That being said, even as someone who doesn’t consider himself much of a Snyder fan, this is by far the more coherent, richer, more ambitious Justice League film, and the one that did its damndest to expand the horizons of the DCEU at the time.

While the distant planet Apokolips and its denizens were key to both versions of the film, only one of them actually introduced audiences to the evil intergalactic despot, Darkseid, and made it clear that Darkseid and pals weren’t nearly finished with Earth in their quest for the Anti-Life Equation at the conclusion of the movie.

So wait, what does any of that have to do with Black Adam

Black Adam takes place almost entirely within the fictional nation of Kahndaq, which has been occupied and brutally oppressed by a well-organized, funded, and equipped group of mercenaries known as Intergang. Like Darkseid, Steppenwolf, the Parademons, and Apokolips, Intergang was created by Jack Kirby when he made the jump from Marvel to DC in the early 1970s. And while Intergang has in many ways functioned as the equivalent of the mafia in the pages of DC Comics, they wield high tech weapons of extraterrestrial origin, all of which are supplied by Darkseid’s armies of Apokolips in their ongoing quest to make life miserable for everyone in the galaxy, and presumably to weaken Earth’s superhumans and make them more susceptible to invasion.

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Now, to be clear, the words “Apokolips” or “Darkseid” are never spoken in Black Adam. It’s never even mentioned where Intergang gets their weapons from. But even by superhero movie cannon fodder standards (and with a protagonist like Black Adam, who has no qualms whatsoever about dispatching his foes, this is the rare superhero movie that does indeed need cannon fodder), these guys are playing with some toys that can only be extraterrestrial in origin. We haven’t seen goons in any other corner of the DCEU with weapons and vehicles like the ones Intergang is sporting, so it’s safe to connect the dots here and say that they got these from Apokolips.

the Intergang hoverbikes in DC's Black Adam

So what is there to suggest that Black Adam makes Zack Snyder’s Justice League canon rather than the theatrical version? Admittedly, we’re going by the very different ending between the two films. In the theatrical version, Darkseid’s existence is stated rather than shown, and it’s just kind of assumed that the defeat of Steppenwolf may or may not be the last we hear of the hordes of Apokolips. But in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Darkseid tells DeSaad: “Ready the armada, we’ll use the old ways.”

Is it reasonable to assume that stage one of “the old ways” involves outfitting earthly goons with extraterrestrial weapons to start softening us up for invasion? Sure it is. Their advance force just got their spiky asses handed to them by the Justice League, so it would make sense they try some other pressure points to get a better idea of what they’re getting into!

Now, does this mean that those absolutely bonkers Justice League sequels teased in the coda to that film are now back on the table? Absolutely not. But with Dwayne Johnson making it clear that he wants the DC movies going forward to make “listening to the fans” a priority, any little nods to the “Snyderverse” might help make that corner of fandom feel heard.

Black Adam is now playing in theaters.