Given the wealth of recent announcements that are of interest to comic book fans – from Marvel’s cinematic Civil War to DC’s two-part Justice League movie – it’s a safe bet that the inclusion of Cyborg, set to receive his own solo movie in 2020, may have gone over some casual fans’ heads. The superhero may be known by name but little else to even veteran DC Comics readers, making the notion of a starring role in Warner Bros. planned Justice League universe seem truly suspect.
In the past, we’ve offered brief summaries of the reasons why DC heroes like Aquaman, Shazam, or The Flash all deserve shots at big screen success. And when Man of Steel star Henry Cavill first singled out Cyborg as a League member he’d love to see onscreen, we offered an explanation of how it could – and why it would – work. But now that his recurring role is guaranteed – and even a standalone film is in the cards – we thought it time to consider the 5 Reasons why Cyborg could be the next big DC superhero.
5. The Story
The basic tale of Victor Stone’s rise to the role of ‘Cyborg’ is not too dissimilar from most other young heroes (on the surface), but does call upon some less fantastic or ‘heightened’ themes. As the son of the brilliant Dr. Silas Stone – a top mind at S.T.A.R. Labs – Vic’s love of not just academia, but sports too, put a serious strain on the pair’s relationship. While Vic’s prowess at football (or track, or basketball) makes him a lock for a college scholarship and professional career, his consistently-absent genius father proves that the life of a star isn’t always what it seems.
But Vic’s future plans are blown apart when a horrific accident damages most of his body, leaving him just inches from death. Silas makes the decision that saving his son is all that matters, infusing his broken body with artificial limbs and all the experimental technology he can get a hold of. And thus, Cyborg is born.
Given the age of actor Ray Fisher, it seems likely that Vic Stone as a collegiate star preparing for a professional career is most likely to occur in Batman V Superman (backed up by reports of an extremely brief college football game appearing in the film). The exact cause of Vic’s injuries has varied, with the most recent reboot in DC’s New 52 tying the damage to Darkseid’s invasion of Earth; an event not likely to appear until a later Justice League movie.
But with plenty of destruction expected to take place in Batman V Superman and Justice League, there will be ample opportunity to link Vic’s origins to the larger story without much effort. How Vic struggles to accept his new abilities in a world of superhumans is the kind of internal conflict Snyder seems to be embracing for his universe, but where WB and DC could choose to take Vic in the future… well, that will be discussed a bit later.
4. The Trauma
It really can’t be overstated: the experience that turned Vic Stone into a full-fledged member of the Justice League is one that nobody should ever have to experience. In a world where comic book movie heroes take pleasure in their powers, a ‘hero’ who awakens to find himself transformed by his father’s hand and asks, “Why he didn’t he just let me die,” is something entirely new.
True, many superheroes are forged by tragedy; in fact, it’s usually what makes the best ones so memorable. Superman owes his mission to the death of his people, Batman to the murder of his parents, Spider-Man to the death of his uncle… you get the idea. But for those heroes, their powers come from something else entirely – it’s personal tragedy that helps define their mission. In Vic Stone’s case, he owes his ‘powers’ to the single worst event of his life.
Vic has his hopes and dreams for the future shattered, his body broken and reformed into something else (in his own words, “a monster”), by a father who ‘only cared about himself.’ To say Vic has some issues to deal with would be an understatement.
In Geoff Johns’ “Justice League” reboot, it was this trauma (and its origin) that placed Vic at the very heart of the League’s first victory, with his character eventually saving the day. Whether or not that story is adapted for film, the overall message was clear: in a group of truly scarred individuals, Cyborg embodied their past quite literally. Together or apart, Vic’s mastery of his new fate and mission proved the old saying that while some heroes are born great, some have greatness thrust upon them – and it’s not always a pretty sight.
3. The Action
The response to the excessive action of Man of Steel might hint that Snyder should spend less of his time on visual spectacle, but the opportunities opened up by Cyborg’s unique physiology are too promising to ignore. With his metallic body granting him superhuman strength, durability, and artificially heightened senses, he’s been described in the comics as “a literal and digital tank.” When not in combat, the cybernetic systems fused with his own body are capable of interfacing with any computer system, and acquiring the information contained within.
When in combat, Cyborg doesn’t need to rely on his strength or toughness alone, but a range of weaponry deployed (automatically, at times) to deal with any given situation. His signature weapon is a ‘sonic cannon,’ functioning as a crowd control/stun attack, or a concentrated blast (Vic’s no killer, after all). Yet the mind within the suit is every bit as effective as the tech surrounding it.
Just because Vic chose not to follow in his father’s footsteps doesn’t mean he couldn’t have. A veritable genius, the weapons and information at his disposal imply that even without the armor, Vic could prove a strong addition to any Justice League roster. It’s not often that a strike team’s muscle is also the one helping conceive and execute the master plan as well, and if Snyder steers away from portraying Ben Affleck’s Batman as the brilliant strategist he is in the comics, Vic could fill that role nicely (although we’d prefer a pairing of the two).
If that action isn’t promising enough, the New 52 origin also produced some unforeseen consequences. His link to an Apokoliptian Mother Box (teleporter) grants Vic the ability to teleport he and the team at will. But due to a glitch, every thousand jumps or so causes a short-circuit, sending he and his passengers back home to Darkseid’s realm. Unlikely for the movie version, but a sign of what potential is hidden inside of Cyborg’s mysterious enhancements.
2. The Science
As advancements in technology continue to blur the line between the machines and gadgets human beings enjoy, and those that are quite literally a part of our existence, more and more films will continue to picture the future that lies in store. Without exaggerating, it’s safe to say that as fusing human biology with technology becomes a reality, Cyborg is a living embodiment of the hopes – and warnings – of what is to come.
The recent RoboCop reboot tackled that issue head on, and its exploration of what actually makes up a human being (The brain? The heart? The body?) brought with it imagery that isn’t easily forgotten. That approach to the notion of an actual cyborg – weighing the benefits and the baggage – is the most likely direction a big screen Cyborg would take. But that doesn’t mean it sin’t without its lighter side, either.
Vic is still a student, meaning his sense of humor and demeanor is still that of a likeable college athlete. Batman is usually credited as the paranoid member of the League (with good reason), but with his intellect and abilities, Vic knows just about everything there is top know about Barry Allen, Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Hal Jordan, and anyone else he chooses. Or rather: he could know it.
Even if he decides to let individual privacy remain intact, it’s been established that the information is still there, processed along with all the other data he gathers. If that sounds eerily close to the modern notion of online privacy or surveillance, it should. Which means in the right writer’s hands, Cyborg is a walking opportunity to explore artificial augmentations, privacy in the modern age, and humanity’s relationship (both good and bad) with technology – not simply ‘superpowers’ – as a whole.
1. Broadening the Universe
The current “Justice League” series may have made Cyborg a founding member, but he owes his introduction to the Teen Titans, the younger generation of DC Comics’ superheroes. The current slate of Warner Bros. superhero films implies that they’ll be following the newest incarnation, but there’s every possibility that the standalone 2020 Cyborg film (apparently a surprise to even the actor starring in it) could be used to add even more characters to DC’s movie universe. Especially given how central a role he’s taken in the modern era of Teen Titans animated series.
Beyond his roots, recent story lines have shown that a character personally experienced in the question of ‘where machine ends, and humanity begins’ can shed new light on plenty of surrounding characters. The likes of Brainiac, Metallo, Cyborg Superman and The Metal Men are just a few, but in a world already populated by aliens and demigods, introducing the idea of artificial sentience is also a wise move.
We have already offered one theory of how Zack Snyder could slightly tweak Cyborg’s origin to better fit the established Man of Steel universe, but anything is possible. Whether Vic is the son of a brilliant S.T.A.R. Labs scientist or a military official, his addition to the League is one that broadens the themes at plays significantly.
As a human being (unlike Superman, Aquaman or Wonder Woman) who has risen above their past trauma instead of allowing it to define him (arguably, unlike Batman), Cyborg adds to the team one of the most intriguing reflections on ‘heroism’ yet. It’s for that reason that Henry Cavill wanted him added to the movie universe, and we wholeheartedly agree.
Those are just 5 reasons why we think Cyborg could be a groundbreaking character for DC’s shared universe, in both the short and long term. That’s just our opinion as to why this lesser-known hero could actually prove to be more compelling or relateable than the world famous heroes alongside him. Do you agree with our points, or is there a part of the story you think is being overlooked, or underestimated? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Below you’ll find more coverage of Warner Bros. and DC’s upcoming movie slate – CLICK any LINK for more info on that topic.
- Cyborg Actor Ray Fisher Talks Batman V Superman & Justice League
- Green Lantern Reboot & Cyborg Solo Movie Coming in 2020
- Will Green Lantern Bring Justice League Villain to Earth
- Zack Snyder Directing Justice League Part 1 in 2017, Part 2 in 2019
- Jason Momoa Confirms Batman V Superman Role, Talks Aquaman
Cyborg will appear in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice on May 6, 2016, and star in a solo film April 3, 2020.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce for updates on Cyborg as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.