Comic book fans have waited a long time to see the Justice League suit up on the big screen, but the wait is almost over.
This November, Justice League will arrive in theaters as the fifth film in the DC Extended Universe. The DCEU has gotten off to something of a rocky start, with the critical and fan reception being mixed for the first three films in the series: Man Of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. Hopes are high that Wonder Woman will reverse that trend when it arrives in June, and that Justice League will do the same.
With its release still months away, the film remains shrouded in mystery. At the present time, we have yet to see an official trailer (not counting the footage that was shown at San Diego Comic-Con last summer) and much of the plot remains a mystery. But with the movie now in post-production, we do have a few juicy tidbits to tide us over until the promotional campaign really kicks off.
Here is everything we currently know about Justice League. In the months to come, this list will be updated periodically whenever more big news hits, so check back often!
The long wait is finally over, as the first official trailer for Justice League has been released.
The trailer is action packed and full of indications as to what fans can expect from DC’s upcoming opus. It starts with Wonder Woman and Batman discussing the oncoming threat t0 Earth, and seeking out the teammates they’ll need to combat it.
The heroes making their debuts in the new film – The Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman – all get plenty of screen time. Aquaman in particular is a standout, with Jason Momoa bringing plenty of charm and wit to the part – “Dressed like a bat? I dig it.” – while also getting to show off just how capable he is with his trusty trident (with five prongs…).
There are a lot of little charming character moments sprinkled throughout the trailer too, from The Flash’s goofy grin in the League’s “heroic lineup” shot to Bruce Wayne’s deadpan “I’m rich” description of his superpowers.
19. Mechanical heart
Justice League will feature DC’s most iconic characters, like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Aquaman and The Flash are only slightly less well known than the “big three”. With those big names factored in, fans might be surprised to learn that the emotional heart of the movie resides somewhere else.
First appearing in 1980, Cyborg is a veritable pup compared to the other heroes in the movie, and he’ll certainly be the least familiar to casual fans. Perhaps in an attempt to ensure the character appeals to those fans, Cyborg’s part of the story will be the ‘heart’ of the film, according to director Zack Snyder.
It’s a role the character is ideally suited for. Unlike the other heroes in the Justice League, Cyborg’s powers came at an extreme personal cost. His human body was ruined and he was only saved by being completely mechanically augmented. He is simply unable to be a part of normal society in the way his fellow heroes can. The tragedy of his circumstances, and his journey to accepting them, will likely play a big part in the movie.
18. Superman Returns
We start things off with some big (if obvious) news: yes, Superman will return. Even though Batman v Superman ended with the Man Of Steel sacrificing himself in the battle against Doomsday, everyone knew he wouldn’t stay ‘dead’ for long.
What remains to be seen is exactly how Superman will return to life, what condition he will be in when he does, and how his resurrection will be received by his fellow heroes and the world at large.
When Superman died in the comics (well, he didn’t ‘technically’ die, he just needed a really long nap) his body was placed in a regeneration matrix which eventually restored him to health. It took a while for his powers to be fully restored, however. Will Justice League’s Superman be similarly weakened? Will he don the infamous black suit like his comics counterpart did? Will he automatically assume a leadership role in the Justice League, or will he hang back and let Batman and Wonder Woman give the orders for a while?
17. Batman and Superman: Super Friends?
It’s an understatement to say that Batman and Superman got off to a rough start in the DCEU. Thanks to the manipulation of Lex Luthor (with an assist from Bruce Wayne’s tunnel vision), Earth’s two greatest heroes spent a good portion of the movie being angry with each other before slugging it out in a brutal fight. Using a diverse array of gadgets and a nifty Kryptonite spear, Batman ultimately emerged victorious.
They were on friendlier terms after learning their mothers shared the same name, and Bruce Wayne came to regret his decision to wage war on the friendly alien. After Superman dies, Bruce is intent on gathering the Justice League and defending the Earth in order to pay tribute to his fallen friend (and perhaps make amends for his own actions).
But when the pair are reunited, will they be ‘super friends’ forever? That’s unlikely. Superman and Batman like and respect each other in the comics, and they will likely come to have a similar relationship in the DCEU, but they still have their differences. Henry Cavill has indicated that much.
16. Batman and Wonder Woman Lead The Way
At the end of Batman v Superman, Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince teamed up to seek out Earth’s heroes in order to defend the world from an uncertain threat. When Justice League begins, they will have begun that search in earnest: we learned that much from the Comic-Con footage.
It looks like Bruce is the one doing the introductions (we see him recruiting Aquaman and The Flash, at least). He does seem to fail in his first attempt to entice Aquaman to join up, so perhaps Wonder Woman is the one who ultimately persuades him?
In any case, we know that Batman and Wonder Woman are the founding members of the DCEU’s Justice League. We know that Diana emerged from a self-imposed exile to join the fight with Doomsday: we’ll presumably learn the reason for that exile in her own movie. Having once walked away from humanity, she is back in the fight completely in Justice League.
15. Ezra Miller as The Flash
We’ve known for a while that Ezra Miller would take on the role of the Scarlet Speedster in the DCEU. Some had hoped the role would go to Grant Gustin, given his success playing the role on television, but that was never in the cards as DC and Warner Brothers are committed to keeping their film and television universes separate. Gustin does make a terrific Flash, but early indications suggest that Miller is also well suited to the role. He’s certainly a capable actor, having earned strong reviews for films like We Need To Talk About Kevin, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and, most recently, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Like Cyborg and Aquaman, The Flash was briefly glimpsed in Batman v Superman, but unlike them, he also appeared in Suicide Squad. His brief role in that film (capturing Captain Boomerang in a flashback) was fun and bodes well for his first extended performance as Barry Allen.
Miller’s Flash was showcased in the Comic-Con footage, where he geeked out when meeting Bruce Wayne. It seems Barry Allen will be the ‘fanboy’ of the group, perhaps representing the audience as he meets iconic figures like Wonder Woman and Superman.
14. Ray Fisher as Cyborg
The relatively unknown Ray Fisher will inhabit the role of Victor Stone, aka Cyborg. With only six professional credits to his name (half of which are in the DCEU films), Fisher is by far the freshest face in Justice League’s impressive cast. From what little we’ve seen of his performance so far (both in Batman v Superman and the Justice League Comic-Con footage) he seems to be doing a good job as the mechanically enhanced hero.
We’ve seen a snippet of Cyborg’s DCEU origin, with his father using a Mother Box to restore his grievously wounded son to life. We know that the Mother Boxes are a big part of Justice League’s plot, and it’s a fair bet that the villain Steppenwolf will be hunting for the Apokoliptian devices. Presumably, that would place him and Cyborg on a collision course.
13. Jason Momoa as Aquaman
Aquaman has long been the butt of fanboy jokes, but he won’t be for much longer: not if Jason Momoa has anything to say about it. From what little we’ve seen so far, it’s already clear that his take on the character establishes Arthur Curry as a no-nonsense, tough as nails kind of guy, which makes sense: you would have to be a pretty tough guy to hold dominion over the Seven Seas!
Momoa has been preparing for this role for a long time. Plus, he’s had plenty of practice playing fearsome warriors, from Conan to Khal Drogo: experience that should serve him well as the King of Atlantis. His own film is currently in production, and fans are eager to see him make a splash (pun intended) in Justice League.
12. Old and New Faces
Justice League is going to be a very busy movie. Like The Avengers before it, the film will have to balance a number of heroes, villains and supporting characters. Hopefully Zack Snyder and crew are up to the challenge.
A number of supporting characters are confirmed to be appearing in the film. Amy Adams will return as Lois Lane, which makes sense: she will likely be the resurrected Superman’s first stop. Jesse Eisenberg will also return as Lex Luthor. We know that Lex is locked up tight in Arkham Asylum, so perhaps the heroes will visit him to find out what he knows about Steppenwolf? Of course, he could also escape from Arkham: everyone does eventually!
Bruce Wayne’s faithful servant Alfred will also appear, with Jeremy Irons once again playing the role. Elsewhere, Wonder Woman’s mother Hippolyta will also make an appearance, though the extent of her involvement will likely be limited.
Amber Heard will also debut as Aquaman’s wife Mera, before returning to the role for the hero’s solo film.
11. Ciaran Hinds as Steppenwolf
When Justice League was first announced, most fans assumed that Darkseid would be the grave threat that compelled Earth’s heroes to team up. The ruler of Apokolips will certainly turn up in the DCEU eventually (maybe in Justice League 2?) but he won’t be the first villain to menace the JLA. That honor will go to his uncle, Steppenwolf. Glimpsed briefly in a deleted scene (restored in the R-rated Ultimate Cut released on DVD) in Batman v Superman, Steppenwolf will presumably be hunting for the Mother Boxes at the behest of his nephew.
We know that Steppenwolf will be a CGI character once again in Justice League, and it was recently announced that Ciaran Hinds will provide his voice and motion-capture. That’s a solid choice, as Hinds is a great actor who can bring a lot of menace to a role: look to his role as Roarke in the (arguably) underrated Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance for proof of that.
10. J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon
With Gary Oldman having done such a terrific job as Commissioner Gordon in the Dark Knight films, we knew that the next actor to take on the role in a new Batman film would have his work cut out for him.
Casting J.K. Simmons for the role was a stroke of genius. For one thing, he’s simply a terrific actor (Whiplash, Oz, etc.) who is fully capable of nailing the complicated role of James Gordon: the fearless and uncompromising police commissioner who earns Batman’s respect as a peer.
It’s also a bit of geek dream casting. In Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, Simmons was absolutely perfect as the cigar chomping, Peter Parker berating J. Jonah Jameson. He was so good that a lot of fans want to see him return to the role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now that he is playing Commissoner Gordon in the DCEU, he joins the small list of actors who have played iconic roles for both Marvel and DC.
9. Deathstroke May Appear
We know that the assassin Deathstroke will serve as the primary villain in The Batman, Ben Affleck’s first solo outing as the Caped Crusader. Joe Manganiello will take on the role of Slade Wilson, and it’ll be interesting to see what conflict arises between Deathstroke and Batman.
We may not have to wait too much longer to get an idea of just what that conflict may be, as Zack Snyder has dropped hints that Deathstroke may make an appearance in Justice League.
We’ve already seen test footage of Deathstroke (though whether it was Manganiello under the iconic mask is unclear). Perhaps that material was from the upcoming hero team up? Of course, Snyder could just be teasing us. Justice League is going to be packed full of characters as it is, and unless Deathstroke has a meaningful role to play, it might be best to keep him on the sidelines. Then again, as an assassin with a code of honor, perhaps Slade Wilson ends up playing an unlikely role in aiding the team against Steppenwolf and his minions.
8. Lighter tone
The ‘dark’ tone of the DCEU films has become something of a running joke. Nobody accused Man Of Steel of being too bright and hopeful a film, and Batman v Superman was lambasted by many for its unrelenting darkness. Even Suicide Squad, though certainly the funniest of the films so far, received its share of tone-related criticism.
The powers that be at Warner Brothers have gone to great pains to assure fans that the films will get lighter in tone from here on out. Whether that was always the plan or simply a response to the considerable backlash, it’s music to the ears of many fans.
The Comic-Con Justice League footage certainly indicated a more lighthearted tone, with Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne (and even his Batman) cracking jokes and Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen bringing plenty of geeky whimsy. Wonder Woman also looks a lot brighter than the other DCEU films, both in tone and conception, with plenty of sun and color in the Themyscira scenes in particular.
7. A ‘Nicer’ Batman
With that more lighthearted tone in mind, it seems we will be seeing a friendlier side of Bruce Wayne and his Dark Knight persona, both in Justice League and his own solo film.
Bruce certainly had good reason to be angry in Batman v Superman: he had to watch an entire building full of his employees come crashing down in front of his eyes, after all. Plus, unbeknownst to him, Lex Luthor had devoted his considerable manipulative skills to stoking Bruce’s anger at (and fear of) Superman.
As Affleck himself says, Batman’s experience with Superman changes him profoundly. In Batman v Superman he was at the end of his superhero rope and was entering a potentially suicidal war with the most powerful being on Earth. After gaining a better understanding for who Superman was (and watching him sacrifice himself to save the world), he is newly inspired to serve as a guardian and find other heroes to do the same.
Plus, Superman’s inevitable return will probably go a long way to assuaging his guilt. He won’t be turning into LEGO Batman by any means, but at least he’ll crack the occasional smile.
6. Green Lantern Corps?
Green Lantern fans can probably be forgiven for feeling a little shortchanged. The character’s first solo film was a critical flop that delayed the launch of the DCEU another two years, and Hal Jordan (or any other Lantern) won’t get a chance to redeem himself until 2020 at the earliest.
Then again, perhaps we’ll be seeing a Lantern ring in the DCEU sooner than we think. An appearance by a Green Lantern (Jordan? John Stewart? Kyle Rayner?) in the upcoming film would make sense. Green Lantern was a founding member of the Justice League, after all, and has been included in many of the group’s greatest iterations.
It’s unlikely that a Green Lantern could be a key player in the movie, but a cameo is a possibility. The threat of Steppenwolf and Darkseid is certainly a far-reaching one, so it’d be interesting to see the Green Lantern Corps dealing with it elsewhere in the galaxy. Maybe in a post-credits sequence?
5. Junkie XL is composing
The first two installments in the DCEU had one of the best composers in Hollywood, Hans Zimmer, providing the score. His work on both Man Of Steel and Batman v Superman was terrific. Junkie XL (also known as Tom Holkenborg) worked in tandem with Zimmer on the latter film, penning Wonder Woman’s distinctive theme among other tracks.
With Zimmer bowing out of the superhero business (he also scored the Dark Knight trilogy), Junkie XL will take the musical reins for Justice League. With scoring work on films like Mad Max: Fury Road and Deadpool, he has proven himself quite capable of doing the job all by himself. The experience of working with Zimmer will also have undoubtedly paid off.
On that film, he already experienced the challenge of scoring a film that is filled with iconic characters. He probably won’t try to force musical signatures in for all of the new and returning characters, which would be for the best. As long as he provides a strong score and a memorable Justice League theme, fans will be happy.
4. Visiting Central City
We know that the action in Justice League won’t be confined to Gotham City and Metropolis. Steppenwolf is a global threat, and the race to stop him from collecting the Mother Boxes will likely take the team around the world.
So it’s not all that surprising that another iconic DC locale will make an appearance in the film. The home of The Flash, Central City, will turn up, and considering what we saw in the Comic-Con footage, that makes sense. Bruce Wayne breaks in to Barry Allen’s base of operations, and since The Flash operates in Central City, it’s safe to assume that’s where their meeting takes place.
We probably won’t see much of the city itself until The Flash gets his own movie. Of course, fans have seen plenty of the city on The CW’s Flash, but it will be interesting to see what the iconic city looks like when it makes its debut in the DCEU.
3. Not a two-part movie
Ever since Warner Brothers revealed the full extent of its DC movie slate in 2014, there has been some confusion over the relationship between the pair of Justice League movies it had scheduled.
Dubbing them Part 1 and Part 2 seemed to indicate that they would be shot in one block and serve as a two-part story, similar to films like The Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest/At World’s End, etc.
That’s no longer the case, if it ever was. During visits to the set of Justice League last year, Zack Snyder and his team were clear they were shooting only one film, and that it would be a self-contained story. There won’t be a cataclysmic cliffhanger that won’t be resolved until Part 2.
DC’s current schedule has The Flash, Aquaman, Shazam and maybe The Batman coming out before Justice League 2, so the DCEU could look a lot different by the time the JLA reunites.
The Mother Boxes have been on Earth for a long time. That much we know from the Comic-Con footage. As a Bruce Wayne voice over warns of an incoming threat to Earth, we see a group of medieval knights burying one of the Mother Boxes in the ground. Presumably the device caused some sort of calamity in the distant past, which we may or may not learn the full extent of. If nothing else, we know that someone will be digging up that particular Mother Box in the present day. Or perhaps someone already has…
Given that humanity had one of the three Mother Boxes (Atlantis and Themyscira had the other two) it seems safe to assume the one we see buried belongs to humanity. Connecting the dots, we might safely assume that the same Mother Box is used by Victor Stone’s father to save his life by turning him into Cyborg. In the ‘blink or you’ll miss it’ footage from Batman v Superman, it looked like the Mother Box actually grafted to Victor’s body, becoming a part of him.
1. It’s Zack Snyder’s last DCEU film
We finish off with what many critics and fans alike will consider great news. Justice League is Zack Snyder’s last DCEU film: at least for now.
The filmmaker has delivered two very divisive movies so far, and neither of them lived up to the studio’s expectations at the box office. That being the case, Snyder’s departure may be as much a Warner Brothers decision as it is his.
Still, as much as his films have been criticized, Snyder does have his fans. Some of them have even started a petition suggesting he take up the helm on The Batman now that Ben Affleck has relinquished the director’s chair. Snyder has a smaller project lined up (The Last Photograph) that he’s keen to work on, so he probably won’t return fast enough to helm The Batman. He could potentially return for Justice League 2, which he was originally slated to direct, or perhaps another Superman solo film. We’ll have to wait and see.
That’s what we know about Justice League so far, but with the first trailer presumably coming soon, it won’t be long before we learn more. If you want to stay up to date on the Justice League’s first cinematic outing, keep checking back for more news!