When Marvel’s The Avengers first hit theaters in 2012, its arrival was an earth-shattering event that changed big budget cinema as we know it, leading to every studio out there trying to launch their own cinematic universe. Now, continuing the world established in Man of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, DC Comics (with Warner Bros. backing them) is trying to recapture lightning in a bottle. Justice League is coming in November of next year, finally uniting the forces of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman against a worldwide threat.
But fans of the comics and animated incarnations of the team know that this cinematic Justice League is a rather small lineup of characters. DC comics has a vast number of superheroes protecting its many fictitious cities, worlds, and extradimensional realms, and the team we’ll see in Justice League is only a small glimpse of a (potentially) much bigger picture. While many of these heroes won’t be appearing in Justice League, there’s a good chance that many of them will someday get their chance on the big screen.
Here are 15 DC Heroes You Won’t See In Justice League.
15. Green Arrow
Arrow, now getting ready for its fifth season, is one of the biggest superhero shows on television. Back before it was confirmed that DC’s TV and movie universes were being kept separate, there was a lot of speculation and hope that Stephen Amell’s popular depiction of Oliver Queen would get the chance to wield his bow alongside the Justice League. However, at this point, seeing Green Arrow on the big screen anytime soon seems unlikely.
Arrow is really the first time that the Green Arrow character has gained widespread awareness with the mainstream public, and unlike the Flash — who even before his new series had the benefit of the Justice League cartoon, an earlier series, and a distinctive red costume that most people on the street could have easily identified — Green Arrow is just starting to become a character who people know about. Putting a different version of the character in theaters, while Amell’s Queen is still so popular on TV, might confuse too many viewers, so it seems likely they’ll hold off on a cinematic version of their hood-wearing vigilante for a while longer.
14. The Atom
Another character who has lit up television sets in the last few years has been Dr. Ray Palmer, the Atom, played by former Superman actor Brandon Routh. Introduced in Arrow, the Atom has gone on to star in the quasi spin-off series, Legends of Tomorrow. The Atom was first introduced in 1961 and carved a unique niche for himself as a superhero that possesses the ability to shrink to a tiny size while maintaining his full density. Though the Atom has long been a regular member of the Justice League who has proven himself on many occasions, much of the drama surrounding him in the last decade has surrounded the psychosis of his wife, Jean Loring.
Either way, the newfound popularity of Marvel’s incredible shrinking hero, Ant-Man, will likely keep conversations of the Atom off the table for some time, in order to avoid too many comparisons. In addition, Palmer’s gaining prevalence on the small screen implies that he’s staying there, at least for now.
The sorceress known as Zatanna Zatara is the daughter of a stage magician father and a mother belonging to the Homo Magi, a race of humans that possess innate magical abilities. Zatanna herself became a stage illusionist prior to the discovery of her actual magical abilities. Her entry into the DC Universe began when her father mysteriously disappeared after her 18th birthday, and Zatanna went out in search of him. In fact, her father had actually come into conflict with an extra-dimensional being known as Allura, which had placed a curse on the man that would result in the death of any of his family members who came into contact with him.
Zatanna goes on to become a member of the Justice League, possessing a particular closeness to Batman (Zatanna’s father was a friend to Thomas Wayne, so she and Bruce have known each other from an early age). Considering that the first Justice League movie is already going to have its hands full integrating aliens, Amazons, Atlanteans, speedsters, and cyborgs, including a magic user would probably be too much. We shouldn’t rule out Zatanna entering the series at a later date, though, as she is one of the most unique members of DC’s pantheon of heroes.
12. Plastic Man
Plastic Man, the rubbery slapstick comedian of the Justice League, actually began his career as a criminal safecracker named Patrick “Eel” O’Brien, when exposure to strange chemicals renders his body malleable, stretchy, and able to change into any form or shape. Eel attempts to commit suicide, but is stopped by a former mental patient named Woozy Winks. As the two of them decide to work together to financially capitalize on Eel’s weird new powers, they aren’t sure whether to work as criminals or crime fighters, eventually deciding by the flip of a coin to open a detective agency in New York.
Plastic Man has been a favorite of many DC writers, and Eel has flirted with the notion of stretching his rubbery mug across theaters quite a few times. The Wachowskis wrote a script for the hero back in 1995, and after the Matrix movies were done, they bounced right back to the property, hoping to release a Plastic Man movie in 2009. Rumor is that they were considering Keanu Reeves, but Jim Carrey has circled around the role so many times that it’s almost hard to believe he’s never done it.
Another big TV character right now is Supergirl, Kal-El’s cousin Kara, also flung to Earth from the fringes of a dying world, where she follows the inspiration of Kal-El to become a hero. While the reveal that Superman will be appearing in the show’s second season shows that DC is showing less aversion to having characters feature in both its movie and TV properties, Supergirl is right now operating in a certain niche of her own. Her show is the closest thing to a Superman series on TV, and bringing a different version of Kara into the movies might undermine the hard work that the TV show has put in to establish itself.
In addition, it’s hard to see where Kara might fit into the narrative of Man of Steel without feeling like a stretch, and as far as Justice League goes, she wouldn’t bring anything power-wise that isn’t already provided by Superman and Wonder Woman, while her more lighthearted influence will probably be a role taken up by the Flash. While Supergirl is a popular enough character that we can’t entirely discount her from ever appearing in the DCEU, we wouldn’t get our hopes up.
The term “identity crisis” could have been created to describe Firestorm. An anti-nuclear environmental crusader and “fire elemental” that possesses the minds of multiple people integrated into one form, Firestorm is one of the most interesting DC characters out there.
When a high school student named Ronnie Raymond and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Martin Stein are caught in the same nuclear explosion, they are fused into a single entity known as Firestorm. As this new being, they possess unfathomable power, with the ability to rearrange the subatomic particles of inorganic matter, thereby being able to change any mass into any other form, or any shape, that Raymond and Stein can devise. And, unlike Green Lantern’s creations, Firestorm’s alterations are permanent unless he revises them.
Firestorm’s early adventures were punctuated by the frequent internal banter between Raymond and Stein. This duo would later become a trio when combined with the consciousness of Russian nuclear technician Mikhail Arkadin, resulting in even more identity confusion, until the death of Ronnie Raymond eventually transferred all of Firestorm’s powers onto a Detroit teenager named .
Firestorm has also featured on Legends of Tomorrow. So far, there have been no rumors of a cinematic debut.
Both the star of the 2005 Keanu Reeves movie and the more faithful 2014 NBC television series, John Constantine is the working class, chain smoking occult detective of the DC Universe, well known for his barbed sarcasm, his cynical outlook, and his self-destructive habits. Created by Alan Moore as a supporting character in his Swamp Thing comic, Constantine was a breakout success, earning his own series in 1988. Since then, Constantine has struggled to balance his humanist philosophies with the constant interference of Heaven and Hell in Earthly affairs, trying to help people in whatever little ways he can.
Since the Constantine series was cancelled (and since the character guest appeared in Arrow), the only word of a future appearance has been the ongoing development of a film that may, if it gets released, be titled Justice League Dark. This movie would feature the Hellblazer himself, along with Swamp-Thing, Etrigan the Demon, and DC’s other dark heroes.
The future of this film is currently unclear (it may now actually be being packaged as an animated film, but given the fact that multiple Constantine writers, including Alan Moore, Brian Azzarello, and Paul Jenkins have all reported mysteriously running into John Constantine in the real world (true story, no joke), it seems likely that Constantine will enter the DCEU if and when he feels like it.
8. The Spectre
Speaking of dark heroes, the Spectre is a character who has been around since the early days of comic books, and was first written by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel. An angel of death, the Spectre is the supernatural form taken by detective Jim Corrigan, after he is gruesomely murdered by criminals. Corrigan’s spirit is blocked from the gates of the afterlife, and sent back down to Earth as the Spectre, the agent of an entity called the Voice, tasked with the mission of wreaking vengeance on evil. The Voice grants the Spectre almost limitless powers, including manipulation over matter, control over time and space, and even the ability to wipe entire cognizant beings from existence.
The Spectre’s stories in the 1970s were especially controversial for the many violent — but bloodless — ways that the Spectre would deform his enemies. Eventually, Jim Corrigan’s soul was able to find peace in the afterlife, and the role of the Spectre was taken over by the restless spirit of former Green Lantern Hal Jordan, seeking redemption after his genocidal actions as Parallax.
The Spectre has yet to appear in live action, though Jim Corrigan played a role in the 2014 Constantine series, and he has been rumored to be involved in both a potential Justice League Dark film and season 5 of Arrow.
Comic book continuity, a timeline that stretches from WWII to today, is a tricky thing to figure out, and out of any company, DC has the most confusing timeline of all. Between Pre-Crisis, Post-Crisis, New 52, and now Rebirth, DC history is filled with universe-wide resets, and some characters have fluctuated back and forth between so many different origins and personalities that it’s hard to pinpoint who the “real” character is. However, the two characters who might have the most confusing history of all are Hawkman and Hawkgirl, who have been depicted as star-crossed ancient Egyptian lovers, alien police officers from the planet Thanagar, or some combination of the two, depending on the writer.
Out of the two, Hawkgirl has become the more popular hero. This is largely due to her major role in the animated Justice League cartoon, where she is depicted as a fiery-tempered agent of Thanagar. At the time, Hawkgirl’s inclusion over such characters as Aquaman and Black Canary was seen as an odd choice, but she ended up becoming one of the fan-favorite characters of the series. In recent years, both she and Hawkman have also appeared on Legends of Tomorrow.
A Fawcett Comics character who back in the 1940s rivaled Superman in terms of popularity, Captain Marvel — who has since become a mainstay in DC Comics — is the alter ego of Billy Batson, a young boy who gains the magical ability to transform into a super-powered adult when he says the word “Shazam.” Due to rights issues regarding the name “Captain Marvel,” the character’s alter-ego has since been renamed after his magical phrase, since, according to writer Geoff Jones, “everybody thinks he’s Shazam already, outside of comics.”
Either way, Shazam is already poised to make his big screen debut in 2019, with Dwayne Johnson cast as his arch-enemy, Black Adam. Producers have said that they’re aiming at a more fun, humorous tone than Batman V Superman, which is fitting, since Billy’s adventures have tended to be more lighthearted in nature. However, given that the Shazam movie is still at least three years off, he almost certainly won’t be making an appearance in Justice League.
5. Booster Gold and Blue Beetle
Booster Gold is an egotistical glory hound from the future, who uses his learned knowledge of historical events to stage massive heroic rescues with lots of publicity. Ted Kord is the second man to call himself the Blue Beetle: an inventor who, when unable to access the powers of a magical/alien artifact called the Scarab that the first Blue Beetle used to fight crime, improvises by instead relying upon his ingenuity and athleticism. Together, Booster Bold and Blue Beetle are two fo the more light-hearted members of the Justice League, as well as best friends.
So it’s no wonder that WB has been looking to develop both of these characters together in a sort of superhero buddy cop film. Arrowverse co-creator Greg Berlanti recently revealed that a Booster Gold film is indeed in development, though no word yet on how or even if Blue Beetle fits into things. When the pair does make their cinematic debut, it’s entirely possible that they might then make their way over to the Justice League movies…just not yet.
4. Wally West
Now that Barry Allen has been brought back as the public face of the Flash in the comics, cartoons, a live action series — and soon, will be played by Ezra Miller in the movies — it’s easy to forget that for an entire generation of fans, their Flash will always be Wally West. Barry’s former sidekick, Wally was one of the ultimate examples of a legacy character successfully taking over for his predecessor, as the younger hero went from aspiring newcomer to eventually being the most powerful incarnation of the Flash to date.
If Justice League were being made ten years ago (around when the animated series Justice League Unlimited was wrapping up), there’s no question that the movie’s Flash would have probably been Wally. But now that Barry’s been brought back to the forefront, it’ll probably be a while before Wally ever appears. That said, he’s a popular character, and if the solo Flash movie is successful, we wouldn’t rule him out from appearing in its sequel.
Richard Grayson was the first Robin, a young circus acrobat turned crimefighting sidekick, but he’s come a long way since then. After parting ways with Batman, Grayson goes on to become Nightwing, the vigilante hero of the city of Blüdhaven. Though Nightwing successfully carves out his own path in the world, proving himself to be far more mentally stable than the man who trained him, he is still loyal to Bruce, even taking over Batman’s identity during a point where Bruce was presumed dead.
The DCEU has a lot of history that hasn’t yet been revealed to us, and one of the mysteries hinted at in Batman V Superman is the role that Robin has played in this Batman’s life. The mutilated Robin costume shown in the movie has seemingly been confirmed as belonging to Jason Todd, the Robin whom the Joker infamously killed, and the future Red Hood. This implies that the Red Hood may play a role in the upcoming solo Batman movie, but it does leave a big question mark regarding Grayson’s future involvement. For the record, we’re hoping more than one member of the Bat family makes their way to the big screen in the Dark Knight’s solo outing — whenever the script is deemed up to snuff by star Ben Affleck — just don’t expect any more Gotham vigilantes to pop up in the war against Steppenwolf.
2. Green Lantern
In many ways, the surprising absence of Green Lantern from the Justice League lineup is probably just plain bad luck. Back in the days before Man of Steel launched the DCEU, Warner Brothers was hoping to use the Ryan Reynolds-starring Green Lantern as a vehicle to launch a new wave of DC properties off the back of, even going so far as to include a Superman cameo in the script. When Green Lantern bombed, it tainted the brand, and it seems that DC is still wary of putting a new Green Lantern out there. They’re very much taking their time on this one, it seems.
Though there were some excited rumors that the film would feature the John Stewart incarnation of the character, with actor Tyrese Gibson heavily campaigning for the role, this never materialized. Instead, it looks like we’ll have to wait until the Green Lantern Corps film in 2020 to see anyone wield the emerald ring again, in a movie that will likely feature both the John Stewart and Hal Jordan characters, as well as a few other potential Lanterns to go along with them.
1. Martian Manhunter
Really, perhaps the one character who leaves the biggest hole in the Justice League’s lineup, even moreso than Green Lantern, is J’onn J’onzz, an alien who on Earth adopts the name Martian Manhunter. The last surviving being of his race, J’onn possesses telepathic, telekinetic, and intangibility powers, along with having nine senses instead of the mere five that humans beings enjoy. He’s also a shapeshifter, as even the relatively humanoid form that J’onn employs as Martian Manhunter is merely a representation of what human beings think an alien should look like.
Martian Manhunter was a founding member of the Justice League in almost every incarnation of the team, up until the New 52 retconned his membership. It’s understandable why the movie might be less inclined to use him, considering that his role as the heavily-powered last survivor of an alien world might feel a bit too similar to Superman. Still, the character’s wisdom, insights, and unique voice will be missed from the lineup this time around.
Which of these characters could make surprising inclusions in Justice League come 2017? Sound off in the comments.