When Warner Bros. were first putting together the DC Extended Universe, their interconnected movie franchise following the superhero characters they owned the rights to in response to Marvel’s success with their own cinematic universe, they jumped the gun a little bit. Rather than feel out all their characters with solo origin stories before teaming them up like Marvel did, they rushed into an ensemble movie that ended up being one of the biggest box office disappointments of all time.
At first, Warner Bros. expected Batman and Superman to be their most popular characters, so they burst onto the shared movie-verse scene with a Superman origin story, followed by Batman fighting Superman, followed by the whole Justice League team getting crammed together. As it turned out, the most popular characters in the franchise would be Wonder Woman and Aquaman, who have had the warmest reception from both fans and critics.
Moviegoers are happier with less connected, more standalone movies in the DC-verse. Marvel has us all on our toes, keeping up with all their movies’ connected tissue. We can’t hope to keep up with two. Unfortunately, as the DCEU has been fazing out its interconnectivity and all the characters the audiences didn’t love, a lot of story arcs and plotlines have been forgotten about or abandoned. So, here are DCEU: 20 Storylines They Completely Dropped (For Some Reason).
Batman v Superman was filled with sequences that supposedly set up future DCEU storylines, but the Knightmare scene was by far the most outlandish one. Now that Ben Affleck is out as Batman, the DCEU is moving away from interconnected storylines, and Matt Reeves is hoping to make a dark, noir-ish movie about the Caped Crusader with his upcoming film The Batman (which still doesn’t have a lead actor,) this will probably never be paid off. The future of the DCEU’s Batman seems to be gritty and serious, focusing on his life and times in the real world, leaving dream sequences like the Knightmare scene by the wayside.
At first, it seems that the Parademons attack people based on fear. They seem to be able to sense fear, and that’s what drives them. At the end of Justice League, they sense that Steppenwolf is scared of Superman and attack him. But they left the Flash alone, and his whole character arc in that movie was that he was always frightened. Whenever he was near any signs of danger, he got all timid and afraid and refused to go near. Yet, the Parademons didn’t even give him a passing glance. So, what really drives the Parademons? It seems as though the DCEU has given up on trying to explain them.
Near the end of Man of Steel, a female soldier says that Superman is hot. That soldier’s name turned out to be Carol Ferris – the love interest of the Hal Jordan incarnation of Green Lantern. She even returned in Batman v Superman. This will probably never get paid off, as the DCEU’s Green Lantern Corps movie is still a few years away, with no set release date or cast. And there’s no guarantee that Hal Jordan will even be the DCEU’s Green Lantern; they might go with John Stewart instead. Even if they do go with Hal Jordan, they’ll probably just recast the role. In the earlier DCEU movies, Carol was played by unknown actor Christina Wren. No offense to Wren, but the female lead in a DCEU blockbuster needs to be a big star like Amy Adams or Gal Gadot or Amber Heard.
Kal-El came crashing to Earth on a Kansas farm and was raised as a human boy named Clark by Jonathan and Martha Kent. But since he’s a Kryptonian alien and not a U.S. citizen, he doesn’t have a birth certificate or a passport or a social security number. So, how did he manage to get a job at a newspaper? He could’ve gotten some fake documentation, but that would need to be explored, and it seems as though it’s not going to be. It was quickly skipped over in Man of Steel and, despite the many flashback sequences involving Clark Kent and his adoptive Earth parents in later DCEU movies, we haven’t seen any elaboration on this yet – and probably never will.
In Batman v Superman, before Superman’s “passing,” Bruce Wayne watches a video clip of Cyborg in action. However, in Justice League, we find out his origin story involved one of the Mother Boxes, which didn’t light up until after Superman “passed away.” The Cyborg solo movie might not even happen, but if it does, it’ll probably eradicate the conflicting origin stories completely. They might offer us up a third version of events, which would be even more confusing, or throw in the Flash’s time travel storyline to tie everything together. However, that’s MCU thinking – the DCEU doesn’t think that far ahead. It plays it by ear, judging fan responses to decide their every move.
The underlying conflict of Deadshot’s character in Suicide Squad was that he was an assassin who also wanted to be a good father to his young daughter. However, that plot-line fell by the wayside in the movie and, now, Suicide Squad is getting a soft reboot from James Gunn (which Marvel will have to wait for before starting production on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, since they rehired him after initially firing him.) Idris Elba was initially reported to be replacing Will Smith as Deadshot, but actually, it turns out Deadshot is being written out completely and Elba is playing someone else, so this will probably never have any emotional resolution.
In the background of a shot in Man of Steel, Utopia Casino can be seen in the Metropolis skyline. In the comics, this is run by ruthless business mogul Tony Gallo, who Perry White grows suspicious of and sends Lois Lane to investigate. Eventually, Gallo gets a hold of a Kryptonite Ring, which gets him involved with Superman. This would be a great storyline for a solo Superman movie, but there doesn’t seem to be any of them on the horizon. At one point, Warner Bros. was committed to giving Man of Steel a sequel – even when Supes was thought to have perished between Batman v Superman and Justice League – but this may have been called off, since it seems like Henry Cavill is leaving the franchise and its focus is readjusting.
After Superman tore up Metropolis, resulting in a ton of civilian casualties, in Man of Steel, he was pretty much universally maligned in the world of the DCEU. He was protested and taken to court. But then after the events of Batman v Superman, when he perished at the hands of Doomsday, it was a global tragedy. He was mourned by the world. Everyone missed him. He was remembered as a hero. So, he was hated for destroying a city trying to eliminate one alien villain, but celebrated for destroying another city trying to eliminate another alien villain? The world’s attitude towards Superman needs to be explained further, but it probably won’t.
The Mother Boxes seem to be a MacGuffin copied from the MCU. The DCEU producers saw that they had a collection of indiscriminate plot devices to bring their characters together, the Infinity Stones, and so they invented their own, the Mother Boxes. But while the rules of the Infinity Stones have been pretty rigidly explained, the rules of the Mother Boxes remain pretty vague. They served their purpose in Justice League and then got swept under the rug. If there aren’t rules and origins outlined, then it cheapens the story – they’re just a bunch of powerful things that give the movie an inciting incident to kick off the action.
Many critics made unflattering comparisons between Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of Lex Luthor and Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker. But the thing is, Lex is nothing like the Joker. The Joker is an agent of chaos; Lex is cold and calculating. The problem with that is that the DCEU’s Lex’s motivations don’t make sense. He seems to want to rid the world of superheroes, because he thinks they’re a danger to the world – but he creates a super-powered monster to do that, and that’s way more dangerous to the world than any of the superheroes. We should get some big grand plan reveal, but it doesn’t seem like that’ll be happening any time soon.
There’s a short news segment in Justice League in which a woman claims her husband, who was a janitor working in the lab where the Cyborg experimentation was taking place, had been snatched away by aliens. As it turns out, this was Steppenwolf’s doing. But Batman didn’t connect the dots, Lois didn’t pursue the case, and Wonder Woman turned a blind eye to it. This poor woman’s missing husband was completely ignored by the Justice League – and by extension, the DCEU. It doesn’t seem like this was a setup for a future storyline or some grand payoff and was rather just an oversight, leading to a plot hole, but still, we never saw its conclusion.
Fans weren’t thrilled about Man of Steel as a whole, but they did respond giddily to the many hints and teases Snyder threw in. This was among the most exciting Easter eggs in the movie. While searching for information about his origins in Man of Steel, Superman finds an old Kryptonian ship containing some pods. There are no survivors on the ship, but one of the pods is open. In promotional materials, it was confirmed that Kara Zor-El was in this pod. However, with the CW’s Supergirl series becoming a hit and now heading into its fifth season, it seems as though the character will never join the DCEU and this will remain unresolved.
Justice League began to develop Barry Allen’s relationship with his imprisoned father, played by Billy Crudup, as he got a job at Gotham P.D. and worked to clear his dad’s name. However, with the Flash solo movie getting persistently delayed and Ezra Miller fighting to even keep the role by writing his own script for it, this probably won’t come off. Crudup, who worked with Zack Snyder before on his film adaptation of Watchmen, is a terrific actor and he was shown to have an interesting chemistry with Miller in their Justice League scenes. It’s a shame that we won’t see it paid off.
In the comics, when Superman is brought back to life, he has a black suit. In Zack Snyder’s original cut of Justice League, it’s reported that Superman wore his black suit after being resurrected. However, after a personal tragedy forced Snyder to leave the project and Joss Whedon was brought in to heed the studio’s demands, the black suit was scrapped and the classic suit came back. The black might have clashed with Batman, but it would’ve been cool. Fans have been clamoring to see Snyder’s cut of Justice League ever since the movie was released. Even Jason Momoa wants the cut to see the light of day. Unfortunately, Warner Bros. still have no plans to release it.
During one scene in Wonder Woman, we see the title character talking to a Native American smuggler named Chief Napi, played by Eugene Brave Rock. She speaks to him in his native language, since her training on Themyscira involved learning all world languages. While the scene isn’t subtitled, it’s since been revealed that he’s actually telling her that he’s the demigod Blackfoot. There don’t seem to be any plans to elaborate on this storyline in the future. The upcoming Wonder Woman sequel is set during the Cold War and focuses on the title character’s fight against Cheetah and Steve Trevor’s return. There doesn’t seem to be room to fit in Blackfoot as well.
Darkseid is a New God who rules their home world Apokolips and commands an army of Parademons. His introduction into the DCEU was teased when Batman visited Lex Luthor in prison and Lex told him, “He’s hungry,” and later in a deleted scene from Justice League in which Wonder Woman learns about the dangers of Darkseid. However, the character seems to have since been forgotten about. He’s one of the most formidable and iconic villains in the DC Comics universe, and it would be great to see him fully realized on the big screen. Sadly, with Zack Snyder’s vision quickly going out the window, we’ll probably never see this paid off.
The Gotham City as depicted in the DCEU is just about as crime-infested and dangerous and seedy as we’ve ever seen it. And yet, Batman is just left to clean up all the crime and corruption on his own. We’ve seen that Superman will jet over to the other side of the world just to stop a little gunfight. Why is he leaving his caped friend to take care of an entire city all on his own? It would be great to see Batman and Superman team up to fix Gotham, but it’s unlikely. At the moment, the DCEU doesn’t even have a Batman, let alone a team-up with Supes on the horizon.
In Batman v Superman, Bruce Wayne is taking a nap when the Flash appears to him from somewhere else in time and says, “Bruce, listen to me now! Lois – it’s Lois, Lois Lane, she’s the key. Am I too soon? I’m too soon. You were right about him, you’ve always been right about him. Fear him! Find us, Bruce. You have to find us!” It seems to set up some ominous, grave future situation. It’s one of a few future universe setups that stop BvS dead and, essentially, ruin it. This one feels particularly out of place, and we may never see what the Flash was on about.
At the end of Batman v Superman, we saw Lex Luthor have his head shaved and get locked away in a maximum-security prison. But then after the credits of Justice League, we saw him kicking back on a yacht. Somehow, he managed to escape by replacing himself with some bald guy. With guards constantly on the lookout and high-def cameras constantly filming every square inch of that prison, how on Earth did he manage to get out of his cell, get some other bald guy in, convince the guards that it was still him, and leave without a trace? It’ll probably never be explained as the DCEU focuses away from the characters everyone hates, and no one hates any DCEU character more than Jesse Eisenberg’s weird portrayal of Lex Luthor.
In Batman v Superman, Batman’s tragic past with the Joker was hinted at when he looked forlornly at a Robin costume with the words “HA HA HA Joke’s On You, Batman” painted on it. This seemed to set up a follow-up in which we see bright-eyed young Batman fighting alongside Robin as they take on the Joker, only for the Joker to eliminate Robin somehow, turning Batman into the grizzled cynic we see today. However, with Ben Affleck’s Batman out and Jared Leto’s Joker basically out, we’ll probably never see it. Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker seems to be taking the Clown Prince of Crime’s story arc in its own direction, separate from the established DCEU storylines.