Justice League 2 was long ago announced as part of Warner Bros.' grand plan for the DC Extended Universe, but the shared universe's polarizing reception - as well as Justice League's outright box office failure - has raised plenty of questions about what that movie could eventually look like. For one thing, it won't have its long-planned director; whatever way you want to parse the means, the end result of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice's underperformance and WB wanting a different direction for their shared superhero universe led to Zack Snyder being fired from the franchise he began with Man of Steel. There's essentially no chance Snyder will return for a Justice League sequel, and it's likely his plans will be abandoned.
We don't know exactly what Snyder had planned for Justice League 2, but we do know that the original vision was for the first and second films to be much more narratively connected, and would likely feature Darkseid as the main antagonist, a confrontation Snyder actually hinted at in Batman V Superman. That was all aborted when WB decided they wanted a lighter, standalone Justice League film, which resulted in the DC heroes taking on the deeply forgettable Steppenwolf, a blandly evil lieutenant of Darkseid.
So with Snyder's plans abandoned, and with the DCEU as a whole in a state of flux, what could a Justice League sequel potentially look like?
This Page: What Will A Post-Snyder Justice League 2 Look Like?
Who Will Be The Villain in Justice League 2?
It seems highly unlikely Justice League 2 would stick with Darkseid as its villain. It was never a particularly good idea - Darkseid is the literal embodiment of evil in the DC universe, a force of such utter destruction that there's essentially no topping him in the realm of comic book bad guys. He has some surface-level similarities to Thanos, who have Marvel have wisely set up as their end game villain nineteen films into their wildly successful superhero universe with Avengers: Infinity War. Introducing Darkseid five movies into the DCEU always seemed like rushing to a confrontation that hadn't really been earned yet.
Justice League's post-credits scene set up the most likely possibility for the sequel's antagonists - the infamous Legion of Doom. The newly freed Lex Luthor (played by the ever-divisive Jesse Eisenberg) discusses starting a team of his own with Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello). It makes a lot of sense; it's a way to showcase a cavalcade of different types of villains, perhaps ones that directly correlate to the heroes.
It seems likely there could be a refugee or two from Suicide Squad, particularly Jared Leto's Joker, who always adds an element of unpredictability to these sort of villain team-ups in comics and cartoons. It would also be a prime opportunity to bring in Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam, a Shazam villain everyone seems eager to have face off with Superman, for some reason. Kristen Wiig's recently announced Cheetah would likely be a better candidate for female membership than Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, who is lined up for multiple other potential DCEU films. Assuming he makes it out of James Wan's Aquaman film alive, Yahya Abdul-Mateen's Black Manta is another obvious candidate.
Traditional members like Captain Cold, Sinestro, and Gorilla Grodd haven't really been set up in the DCEU yet, but that could certainly change before another Justice League movie gets off the ground.
Who Should Join The Justice League?
The team felt a bit understaffed in the first Justice League film, with only Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg holding down the fort for most of the movie. Even with the resurrected Superman joining up, it still feels like the Justice League is a few members short of what it should be. It seems a certainty that more heroes would join the team in the sequel.
The most obvious candidate, and the most deeply felt omission in the first film, is Green Lantern. The emerald ring slinger is almost always a founding member of the team, and it's hard to figure out any reason why he wasn't in the first film other than the fact that the non-DCEU Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern film flopped in 2011. That's a failure Warner Bros. has to get over, as Green Lantern is not only an integral part of the Justice League, but is one of DC's richest characters who oversees an almost overwhelmingly cool corner of the DC universe that would be incredibly fertile ground for the right filmmaker. Most indications are that DC plans on introducing both Hal Jordan and John Stewart to the DCEU soon, with the former rumored to serve as a mentor to the latter.
Another obvious candidate for league membership is the one DCEU cinematic hero who's not actually in the league yet - Zachary Levi's Shazam. Assuming David F. Sandberg's Shazam! film is a success, having Shazam join the ranks of Superman and Batman has a lot of storytelling potential. Shazam is, of course, a twelve-year-old boy in an adult superhero's body, and the notion of seeing the Justice League through the eyes of Billy Batson is definitely a fun one.
Martian Manhunter is traditionally another founding member of the league, though he was pushed out of that role in DC's New 52 reboot, his spot taken by Cyborg. That's a shame, because J'onn J'onzz is one of the more soulful characters in DC's considerable arsenal, and the alien refugee's adjustment to life on Earth is always a rewarding journey. Green Lantern and Shazam likely take precedent for practical reasons, but Martian Manhunter deserves a seat at the table in the Hall of Justice.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019