At this point it may seem premature to discuss the Justice League movie – what with Batman V Superman still so far off from its 2016 release – but since BvS is in fact subtitled Dawn of Justice, we can pretty much rest assured that a Justice League movie is indeed happening.

As far back as the late ’00s, when Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller almost got a Justice League film off the ground, fans have been eager to see just what threat brings DC’s greatest superheroes together. The very same question still looms large over the Justice League movie that will exist in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel and Dawn of Justice universe – but lately the answer has been less clear than many would’ve originally thought.

Here are our breakdowns of what villain(s) could appear in a Justice League movie – and why they would be worthy adversaries for The League. This is all pure speculation, so if you are the type who likes to wait for concrete info, this post is NOT for you.

Darkseid

Had you asked most DC Comics Fans who the villain of Justice League would be, most of them would’ve likely said Darkseid. Lord of the hellish planet Apokolips, Darkseid has had several origins – all of which revolve around an ambitious man seizing hold of a power called the Omega Force, which transformed him into a rock-like creature. As one of the New Gods, Darkseid is among the most powerful and dangerous foes in all of the DC Universe.

The New 52 relaunch of the Justice League comic featured an origin story about the League members coming together to repel Darkseid’s invasion of earth; that same story was then adapted into the Justice League: War animated feature, so fans naturally assumed a Justice League movie would follow suit. According to Badass Digesthowever, this is not the case:

…My sources tell me not to expect Darkseid in the DC movieverse until Justice League 2…

Say what?! That rumor is an upset to pretty much THE popular theory of what Justice League will be – but it’s not without merit. Darkseid shares a lot in common with Marvel’s Thanos (Thanos is actually a confirmed Darkseid knock-off); and as Thanos is to Marvel fans, Darkseid is the sort of “big bad” that many do NOT want to see wasted on a half-cooked movie portrayal. They want his appearance to be worthwhile when it does finally happen.

In a bit of irony, the DC New 52 Justice League comic – as well as the War animated adaptation – has been accused of cheapening Darkseid into a generic (mostly mute) powerhouse villain. If Badass is right, hopefully the cinematic universe makes better use of him, and develops Darkseid over time, in full respect of the character.

Lex Luthor

There should really be an asterisk in front of this one, as Lex Luthor being the “villain” in Justice League could mean any number of things. Lex could be a hands-off mastermind of some larger threat (Doomsday); he could suit up in armor (or use some chemical compound he designed) and be a physical threat himself; he could even be the controlling hand in a group of villains. When it comes to Luthor, all of those scenarios are possible… even at once.

The obvious downside to this theory is that Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) will already be in Batman V Superman, so using him again for a Justice League movie immediately thereafter could be overexposure. Then again; right now (at the time of writing this), we still don’t know just how much Lex figures into Dawn of Justice; a majority of that film could very well be about the conflict between the two titular superheroes.

If Luthor is only a tangential or background player in Dawn of Justice, then Justice League could be the film where one of DC’s most iconic archvillains finally takes center stage.

Brainiac

One would think that Braniac is a character best saved for something like Man of Steel 2 – but he doesn’t have to be. The events of Man of Steel and Batman V Superman are ample enough time for Krypton’s sentient artificial intelligence to have learned of Kal-El’s existence on Earth, and like Zod, begun machinations in order to acquire him for collection.

Like so many Superman villains, Brainiac has been through revisions in both origin and design – but in the modern “New 52″ continuity, he first makes contact with Superman by way of Lex Luthor and Luthor’s henchman, Metallo. Metallo (aka John Corben) has long been floated as a possible henchman-style villain for Luthor in Dawn of Justice – so maybe a three-tiered system of villainy (Brainiac behind Lex who is behind Metallo) isn’t so crazy to envision.

Brainiac at home at LexCorp

The other thing about Brainiac is that his A.I. identity and penchant for collection of organisms from across the cosmos makes him the kind of “Big Bad” who has many types of enemy forces at his disposal (machinery, alien soldiers, beasts, etc.). Brainiac’s power struggles with Luthor have also provided good villain-on-villain drama throughout the years, and would add an interesting twist on the standard two villain super hero movie formula.

It would be stepping on Marvel’s heels a bit (Age of Ultron much?), but all is fair in love and superhero movie making, and Brainiac is a piece that fits snug into the Justice League puzzle for a variety of reasons.

NEXT: 5 More Potential Justice League Villains…

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