We are three movies into Warner Bros.’ burgeoning DC Extended Universe — Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad — with over a dozen more movies on the way. So far, with a handful of box office records under its belt, the DC Extended Universe has amassed a worldwide gross exceeding $2 billion, an accomplishment that shouldn’t be cheapened.
The fact is, never has something of this magnitude been attempted before with DC Comics’ characters and stories. Having characters such as Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman in the same universe presents limitless possibilities, but including The Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg, Harley Quinn, Shazam, and the Joker, amongst others, only amplifies that potential.
With the studio having total ownership over DC Comics, they can take inspiration from a seemingly endless supply of top-tier stories and graphic novels, which makes anything possible — and that is why countless fan theories are making the rounds on the internet. Of them all, here are the 15 Craziest DC Extended Universe Movie Fan Theories.
15. Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition acts as a 4-issue comic series
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, like many Batman movies before it (including Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises) was heavily influenced by Frank Miller’s seminal work The Dark Knight Returns, which sees Bruce Wayne return as Batman after an extended retirement. The story takes place across four comic book issues, and since Batman v Superman is inspired by the story in many ways, one fan theorizes that the ultimate edition of the movie itself acts as a four-part story.
With each Act being approximately 45 minutes long, the first “issue” (or Act) of the movie accounts for the opening credits as well as character introductions, ending with Lex Luthor’s encounter with Senator Finch. The Second Act revolves around Batman and Superman’s mothers (as well as Batman’s nightmares), beginning with Bruce’s bleeding-coffin dream and ending with Clark talking to his mother at the Kent farm.
Most of the pieces start to fall in line in the Third Act, beginning with Luthor’s conspiracy and ending with Batman and Superman coming face-to-face. The fourth and final Act of the movie is where all the action takes place — from Batman fighting Superman to DC’s Trinity taking on Doomsday, ultimately leading up to Superman’s untimely demise. It’s unclear, though, whether this was Zack Snyder’s intention all along.
14. Harley Quinn latches onto Deadshot after Joker’s “death”
One of the things Suicide Squad got right was the relationship between Deadshot and Harley Quinn, played by Will Smith and Margot Robbie, respectively. Not only have the two actors worked together previously, but the characters in the comics have grown increasingly closer. We see that play out in Suicide Squad, but the question is, with Harley fixated on reuniting with the Joker, why would she develop an affectionate bond with her other Task Force X members, namely Deadshot?
In the movie’s final battle, Harley is offered a chance at being with her puddin’, but she instead takes the opportunity to strike Enchantress and remove her heart, all because the witch “messed with her friends.” While the moment was fortuitous for the Suicide Squad, the action was out-of-character for Harley. One fan believes it’s because after she saw the Joker”die,” she immediately latched on to the next obvious person: Deadshot. There is ample amount of evidence supporting this theory, and it makes Harley’s actions appear sensible and — more importantly — in character.
13. Bruce Wayne’s nightmares are a result of prolonged exposure to Scarecrow’s fear gas
When we’re introduced to Bruce Wayne in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it’s clear that he has led a lengthy, rough life, thanks in no small part to his 20+ years of fighting crime as the Dark Knight in Gotham City. Throughout those years, he undoubtedly had his fair share of gruesome encounters, including one with the Joker in which the Clown Prince of Crime and Harley Quinn murdered the second Robin, Jason Todd (whose suit we can see on display in the Batcave).
It stands to reason that Batman has faced other enemies from his iconic rogues’ gallery over the years as well, including the fear-inducing Dr. Jonathan Crane aka Scarecrow. With a substantial background in psychiatry, Scarecrow is known for utilizing a variety of drugs and toxins to intensify a victim’s sense of fear (as demonstrated in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins). If Batman has fought Scarecrow before, then what if Bruce’s nightmares throughout Batman v Superman are a result of prolonged exposure to Scarecrow’s fear toxin?
12. The lead character of Neil Gaimen’s Sandman is behind all of the DCEU’s dream sequences
As previously mentioned, Bruce Wayne tends to have quite a few nightmares in Batman v Superman, which (according to fan theories) could be caused by prolonged exposure to Scarecrow’s fear toxin. Another possible explanation behind all the dream sequences (since Superman has had a few of his own) could be that they’ve been induced by the famed character Dream/Morpheus. Note that this theory revolves around Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, not the Sandman from the traditional DC Universe. Although, since the Vertigo and Wildstorm imprints were integrated into the canonical DC Universe as a result of the New 52 reboot, Gaiman’s Sandman comics are now very much in-universe.
Hollywood has been trying to get a Sandman movie off the ground for well over a decade, but as of 2016, the movie is still stuck in development hell. With Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who was once tapped to direct the movie, having dropped the project, who knows if or when the movie will release. However, if it does, it has been rumored that the movie will be loosely connected to the DC Extended Universe. If this were to occur, at least one fan believes that Bruce’s nightmares could be explained by a connection to the inconceivably powerful Dream, who is allowing Bruce to glimpse into the future.
11. The DCEU is following the Injustice timeline
It’s no secret that the first three installments in Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe have been divisive, with many people disapproving of how the characters have been adapted. While many of them are based on various story arcs (some perhaps not as extensively known to casual moviegoers) one fan believes that the reason behind the darker and edgier characters — especially ones that contradict general perception of how they are supposed to act, like Superman — is that the studio is following the Injustice timeline.
Based on the video game series of the same name, the Injustice: Gods Among Us comic series takes place in an alternate reality in which the Joker tricks Superman into killing Lois Lane and their unborn child, which consequently drives him to kill the Joker and become a fascist dictator, establishing a new world order. This is what prompts Earth’s heroes to divide and follow either Batman (who leads a resistance force) or Superman. While it’s improbable, we do see hints of this timeline in Batman v Superman, specifically in Batman’s Knightmare sequence and the subsequent message from the Flash.
10. The Superman that died in BvS was a prototype Superman
In the final battle of Batman v Superman, the Man of Steel stabs Doomsday with Batman’s Kryptonian spear, thus killing the abomination, though the Last Son of Krypton is killed in the process . It’s a poignant part of the movie and a momentous act by Superman in convincing Batman of his humanity, thus indirectly encouraging the Dark Knight to form the Justice League, as to not fail Clark Kent in death as he had in life. But we all know Superman won’t be gone forever; in fact, we’ll see him again in Justice League next year.
In the comics, when Superman returns following his death by Doomsday, he returns with an all-black suit, something Henry Cavill has teased on Instagram in recent weeks. However, one fan theorizes that Warner Bros. will take this opportunity to have Cavill come back as the “real” Superman, thus indicating that the one that died was, in fact, a faux-Superman (or, perhaps, a prototype Superman). The black suit would be used to regenerate the classic red-and-blue suit everyone knows and loves, and with it, the version of the Man of Steel fans have been clamoring for.
9. The real reason Perry White doesn’t want Clark reporting on Batman
In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it’s obvious that intrepid, mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent doesn’t like reporting on sports and celebrity-packed charity events. Instead, he wants to cover the Bat vigilante terrorizing the citizens of Gotham.
Unfortunately, Daily Planet Editor-in-Chief Perry White doesn’t think anyone is interested in seeing Clark Kent take on the Batman. After all, crime in Gotham is nothing new, something Perry equates to headline news about water being wet. However, what if there was another reason why Perry didn’t want Clark reporting on Batman?
One fan thinks some an accord had been reached between the police and the media, in which the media actively avoid investigating Batman, which would allow the police to allow the Dark Knight to continue fighting crime while also keeping the fear and mystery alive. Furthermore, it would give the police some leeway in deciding whether to go after Batman or not, and their reputation would remain intact in any scenario.
8. Amanda Waller created Task Force X as a precursor to the New 52’s Justice League of America
In Suicide Squad, Amanda Waller states that the government was lucky Superman shared their ideals; but what if the next all-powerful metahuman doesn’t? Who would be able to stop them from ripping off the roof of the White House and taking the president right out of the Oval Office? No one — which is why Waller requested the government to approve the formation of her precious Task Force X, a team consisting of the worst of the worst supervillains in the DC Universe.
Amanda Waller is a calculated person, someone who knows her endgame before the match even begins, and she is unparalleled in manipulating people. But what if Task Force X is only the beginning, and her plan for safeguarding the country from metahuman threats lies in the formation of another team? One fan theorizes that Task Force X is the precursor to Waller forming the New 52’s version of the Justice League of America, which is a government-run team consisting of characters such as Steve Trevor, Green Arrow, Katana, etc. Could the Suicide Squad only be the first phase of a master plan?
7. Green Lantern isn’t in the Justice League movie because he’s currently possessed by Parallax
Zack Snyder’s upcoming Justice League movie is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated movies of 2017, but the thing is, as far as we know, there will only be six League members: Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Cyborg, and Superman…eventually. Longtime DC Comics fans have been curious as to why Green Lantern — a founding member of the Justice League — will not be included in the movie, despite having been confirmed to exist in the same universe.
While there are countless reasons Warner Bros. and Snyder could use to explain away Green Lantern’s absence, one fan believes it’s because Green Lantern (who he is presuming will be Hal Jordan, the Silver Age Lantern) is currently possessed by the fear incarnate Parallax. To spur new sales in their Green Lantern series, DC Comics made Hal Jordan a villain and had him destroy the incredibly powerful Green Lantern Corps. It was later revealed that Jordan wasn’t at fault, because he was possessed by Parallax. Perhaps we’ll see something similar happen in the planned Green Lantern Corps movie?
6. The “real reason” Batman didn’t kill Superman in Batman v Superman
One of the most criticized scenes in Batman v Superman is the “Martha” scene, in which Batman ceases his endeavor to kill the Man of Steel after hearing Clark beg him to save his mother, Martha (which is also Bruce’s mother’s name). The reason for why Batman chose not to kill Superman has been interpreted in many ways by many fans, but one fan, in particular, has a rather compelling take on the scene. According to their theory, there was a lot more going on in that moment than audiences realized.
In the Knightmare sequence, we see Superman telling Batman, “She was my world, and you took her from me.” We don’t exactly know who “her” is, but with the following Flash scene, people assumed “her” was referring to Lois Lane, who Flash expressly mentions in his Spped Force-enabled message. However, what if Superman was talking about his mother? Perhaps when Superman begs Batman in the “Martha” scene, the Caped Crusader realizes that if he kills Superman, and doesn’t save Martha Kent, then Superman could potentially return as the man he encountered his nightmare. If any character could possibly have this much foresight, it’s Batman, whose ability to think 10 steps ahead of his opponents is well documented.
5. The DCEU is a part of an even larger cinematic multiverse
Following the conclusion of the Golden Age of Comics, DC Comics opted to create new stories and characters of famed superheroes (e.g. The Flash, Green Lantern) — but in order to preserve what came before, the publisher adopted the concept of the Multiverse. Put simply, the Multiverse consists of infinite alternate realities which have been designated Earth-Prime, Earth-One, Earth-Two, and so forth. This allowed DC Comics to continue to tell new stories while also maintaining previous ones.
If the Multiverse works for the comic book industry, there’s no reason it couldn’t be adapted to the big screen. In fact, one fan chooses to believe that all of the DC Comics films ever released all exist as part of one concurrent multiverse. This means that Michael Keaton’s Batman, Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman, Christopher Reeve’s Superman, and Christian Bale’s Batman, among others, all exist in one multiverse — and Keanu Reeve’s Constantine ties them all together.
4. A Crisis on Infinite Earths movie will merge the TV and movie universes
Ever since Warner Bros.’ announced they were moving forward with the DC Extended Universe and bringing the Justice League to the big screen, fans of The CW’s Arrowverse have hoped to see their favorite actors, such as Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin (who play Green Arrow and The Flash, respectively), appear in the movies. Unfortunately, DC Entertainment has been adamant about keeping their movie and TV universes separate, something Marvel Studios has taken an opposing approach to (to a degree).
However, just because the DCEU has its own Justice League, that doesn’t mean we can’t one day see Amell, Gustin, and other superhero actors from the Arrowverse appear alongside Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck. All Warner Bros. has to do is make a movie based on the iconic Crisis on Infinite Earths story arc, in which all of the Earths in the multiverse were merged into one universe. Such an event has already been teased on The Flash, so it’s not inconceivable to see something like this happen in a future Justice League film.
3. There is no Green Arrow in the DCEU, but there is an Oliver Queen
While there is potential for a Crisis on Infinite Earths adaptation to merge the movie and TV DC Comics universes, until such an event transpires, both universes will remain separate. Moreover, possibly to avoid confusion, it’s apparent that many characters from the TV universe do not exist in the movie universe, and vice versa.
For instance, we know from promotional material that Queen Industries — the family company of Oliver Queen — exists in the DC Extended Universe, yet Oliver’s superhero identity, Green Arrow, does not. Furthermore, based on what we’ve seen on The Flash, Wayne Enterprises — Bruce Wayne’s company — exists in the Arrowverse, yet Batman does not. Yet.
One fan believes that while characters like Oliver Queen and Bruce Wayne exist in both universes, the reason for them not being Green Arrow and Batman in both realities is that they have either not yet undergone their origins or their superhero alter-egos simply do not exist yet in those realities.
2. Lex Luthor sacrifices himself as the villain for the greater good
In Batman v Superman, it’s clear that the world wasn’t ready to face an extraterrestrial threat like Doomsday. Only thanks to the intervention of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman was defeating the abomination even remotely possible. Metropolis scarcely withstood the attack by General Zod and his zealots, so who’s to say humans will be able to persevere following an attack from someone like Steppenwolf or Darkseid? Perhaps this is something Lex Luthor foresaw, which is why he went to great lengths to ensure the long term survival of the planet.
In a rather extensive and convoluted theory, one fan posits that Lex Luthor’s motives for encouraging the fight between Batman and Superman, and their subsequent union in fighting Doomsday, is because he wanted to sacrifice himself as the villain so that Earth’s superheroes could come together and prepare to face an imminent alien threat. This theory would explain why Luthor had files on Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, and Cyborg, which Bruce Wayne uses to form the Justice League. Why else would he not recruit other metahumans?
1. Lois Lane is a telepathic metahuman
One of the biggest questions people had after watching Batman v Superman, which was partially answered in the Ultimate Edition of the movie, was how exactly Superman knew Lois Lane was in danger in the desert. Or how did he know she was thrown off LexCorp’s tower? Sure, we see that Superman can hear her struggling to not drown during their fight with Doomsday, but that’s not exactly a bulletproof explanation of his ability to track her down when she’s in trouble. What if Superman is able to find Lois, even in the most remote corners of the world, because she is secretly telepathic?
One fan believes that Lois Lane is a metahuman who is capable of telepathically contacting Superman when she is in mortal danger, which is why he is always there to save her, no matter the situation. She may not even know she has this ability, so it’s a plausible explanation as to why we don’t see her exhibit such powers in other scenes. It could even be the reason why future Flash declares her “the key” when he visits Bruce post-Knightmare.
Of course, this theory could just be trying to justify residual plot holes from the Ultimate Edition of the movie (as could several other entries on our list). Still, it would be an awful lot of fun to see Lois not being thrust into the “Damsel in Distress” stereotype for once, as these powers could translate into a far more complex role in the DCEU adventures to come.
What’s the craziest DCEU fan theory you’ve ever heard? Which of the ones listed above do you think will turn out to be true? Let us know in the comments.
Suicide Squad is now playing in theaters. Wonder Woman opens in theaters on June 2, 2017, followed by Justice League on November 17, 2017; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020. The Flash, The Batman solo movie, Dark Universe and Man of Steel 2 are currently without a release dates.
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