March 25, 2017 saw the release of the highly anticipated first full trailer for Zack Snyder's upcoming Justice League movie. And like all things DCEU related, reaction from comic fans went from elated, to mixed, to fingers-crossed and hope-for-the-best. Overall, though, despite consternation over Snyder's patented muted color scheme, excitement (largely thanks to Jason Mamoa's well-received take on Aquaman) abounds. We're pumped.
While we anxiously await the film's release date of November 17, 2017, we thought it would be fun to add our wish list for DC characters we hope might pop up in the superhero film--from safe bets to long shots. We realize a film featuring five superheroes and an obscure new supervillain can already feel overstuffed, so these fall into the brief cameo and Easter Egg category; characters that could be introduced to help plant the seeds for a cinematic universe that's still finding its footing.
Without further ado, here are 15 characters that we're hoping make an appearance in Justice League.
Despite Superman's death in Batman v Superman, we know The Man of Steel is a sure thing for Justice League. We glimpsed Amy Adams as Lois Lane in the trailer, and we've seen actor Henry Cavill in several on-set photos, as well as several pieces of promotional work. Plus, the actor teased a pic of his all-black resurrection super-suit via Twitter. So the debate relates to how and when we'll see him back in action.
Snyder is well aware that a Justice League movie without Superman as a founding member feels strange, saying "It was always a super-intriguing concept to me to have this opportunity to have him make that sacrifice but also have him be this, in a weird sort of way, the why of Justice League: What do you do now with him? What does the team think? What does the world need? All that comes into play. It’s fun for us but it’ll be interesting for audiences what we do with him.”
Our prediction is that Superman (as prophesied in Bruce Wayne's Knightmare sequence in BvS) will be co-opted by main villain Steppenwolf as a threat to the team, but not for too long. Eventually, he'll snap out of it and save the day. We assume.
14 Reverse Flash
One of the most surprising moments from the Justice League trailer was a quick clip of Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) visiting his father (played by Billy Crudup) in prison. This will be of particular interest to anyone who's familiar with the 2009 Flash Rebirth storyline (as well as the CW series The Flash). In both stories, Allen's father is falsely accused of killing Barry's mother.
So who really was behind the murder of Allen's mother? That would be Flash's arch-villain Professor Zoom, aka The Reverse Flash, and it sure seems like he'll be getting a mention in the film, and hopefully even an onscreen cameo, which makes total sense. With a solo Flash film in the cards, the yellow-suited speedster seems the ideal choice for his adversary, and Justice League could help set up this premise with a wee bit of screen-time. The big question is--who will play the evil speedster? And will we get a look at his yellow suit?
We're flying a little blind here by introducing a major Wonder Woman villain, simply because we don't know even know for sure which foes she's going to face off against in her upcoming solo film (besides Ares, that is). Even so, we can't not speculate that Justice League may introduce an additional big bad for Diana Prince, and Circe is a likely choice for her next combatant.
The character, based off of the Greek mythological figure of the same name, is an immortal blessed with omnipotent sorcery skills, making her one of Diana's most dangerous foes. Perhaps she fights on the side of the Amazons in the film's opening prologue (which sees an epic ancient battle of Darkseid's army attacking Earth), or has a modern-day run-in with Wonder Woman. We really don't care how they do it, but the two need a cinematic showdown at some point, so why not set the wheels in motion? We wouldn't mind seeing an appearance from Wonder Woman's arch-villain Cheetah as well, but let's not get too greedy here.
12 Black Manta
We already know that Arthur Curry (Jason Mamoa) will be facing off against arch-villain Black Manta (to be played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) in James Wan's upcoming 2018 Aquaman film. So why not give fans a little tease of their contentious relationship?
It's certainly not out of the realm of possibility. We've already seen a brief taste of Atlantis in the teaser, with a shot of Amber Heard as Curry's wife Mera. And we know Mamoa and Affleck will have a drunken brawl at a seaside tavern. Either scene could feature a brief appearance from the Atlantean king's best-known foe. The question of how would he be introduced, and what iteration of the character will Abdul-Mateen be playing, is a whole other question
Black Manta (who first appeared in Aquaman #35 in 1967) has had several character variations over the years. But what's remained consistent is his hatred for Aquaman, and the ruthless ways he seeks to harm him (one of which involved killing his infant son; yep, they went there). So no matter his incarnation, we're dying to get a peek.
Since we're talking Aquaman and Black Manta, we need to toss Aqualad's hat in the ring as well. Aquaman's sidekick has enjoyed sizable uptick in popularity with DC Comics fans, thanks in no small part to his tenure in the Teen Titans as well as his starring role in the recently revived DC Animated Series, Young Justice.
Our suspicion is that the character, if included in the DCEU, will closely mirror his Young Justice incarnation (alias Kaldur'ahm), simply because of the narrative possibilities his presence would provide. Kaldur'ahm is the biological son of Black Manta, but the heroic protegé of Aquaman. This makes him a young man dealing with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Having two diametrically opposed father figures offers a character full of compelling moral conflict.
Now, it would be terrible to shoehorn all of that into Justice League, but a brief mention would add an element of intrigue that would hook audiences to dive into what's shaping up to be DC's most ambitious solo film.
10 Martian Manhunter
Always an underrated character, it was no major surprise that Martian Manhunter wasn't named a founding member of Zack Snyder's Justice League. That doesn't make his exclusion any less of a bummer, though. The green-skinned, multi-powered extraterrestrial (real name J'onn J'onzz) is a beloved fan favorite, one who is in many ways the moral center of the comic book incarnation of the team.
It seems this role has been abdicated to Cyborg in the DCEU, however, with Snyder saying that Vic Stone's story is the "heart of the movie." That's all well and good, but we're hoping that Martian Manhunter gets a spot on their roster in a future sequel. So why not offer some foreshadowing in that regard?
This could be the easiest cameo of the bunch: J'onzz can assume human form, and his secret identity is detective John Jones. Just make him a member of the Gotham police force, have Commissioner Gordon (J.K. Simmons) yell his name out in passing, and we're off to the races.
9 Granny Goodness
So we already know the big baddie in Justice League will be Steppenwolf, aided by his army of Parademons. We have to wonder, however: this is a Zack Snyder film, and he enjoys featuring multiple villains, be it General Zod and his followers in Man of Steel, or Lex Luthor and Doomsday in BvS. And isn't one evil conqueror and his faceless armada of evil minions a little too similar to The Avengers?
The good news is that there's a ton of great baddies that also hail from Steppenwolf's planet of Apokolips. In addition to Darkseid, the biggest villain of them all (don't worry, we'll get to him), there's everyone from Mantis and Kalibak to Metron and Granny Goodness. And the latter has to be considered the most intriguing of the bunch in a cinematic sense.
Goodness is a sadistic character, charged with torturing and brainwashing innocent children into becoming ruthless soldiers that serve Darkseid. Now we realize her character might be a hard sell due to the comedic moniker (fun fact: she was based off of late comedian Phyllis Diller) and the casting challenges the role would provide. But if done correctly, she could leave a lasting impression.
8 (Any) Green Lantern
If the absence of Superman from the Justice League poster feels like a glaring omission, a missing Green Lantern is a close second. Not that we should be surprised. DC/WB's 2011 film Green Lantern was a critical and commercial flop, one which stalled Ryan Reynolds career until Deadpool came along. DC is not going to rush the Emerald Crusaders back before they're ready.
The irony, of course, is that that film could very well have been the starting point for the DCEU, had it been remotely successful in any sense. As it stands now, WB wants to give that the property a few years to breathe, with a Green Lantern Corps film aimed for 2020. While that's all well and good, the Justice League ain't the Justice League without GL, so how about a quick cameo from one of the Corp's members? We don't care if it's Hal Jordan (possibly played by Armie Hammer), Sinestro before he turns bad, Kilowog, John Stewart, Guy Gardner or Kyle Rayner. Any would do just fine. Just throws us a bone. A quick reference to any/all would be sweet. Steppenwolf is a galactic threat after all, so why not get a space police force to offer an assist in the final act?
Okay, we realize an appearance from Dick Grayson in Justice League is a longshot. A solo Nightwing film (to be directed by LEGO Batman director Chris McKay) was just announced in February, and Justice League wrapped shooting last October. The role hasn't even been cast. But hey, fans can still dream, can't they?
Why do we want to see a Nightwing cameo in Justice League? Well, for starters, we're dying to know anything about Bruce Wayne's former sidekick after that grim Easter Egg of Jason Todd's suit in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The suit, spray painted with graffiti that implied that he had been killed by The Joker, was a clear nod to DC's A Death in the Family storyline. Dick Grayson was the first Robin, however, and we want to see his onscreen relationship with his former mentor. So at best, we get a quick reference, maybe in a conversation between Bruce Wayne and Alfred, or with Jim Gordon. We'll take what we can get when it comes to the Bat Family.
6 Black Adam
The upcoming Shazam! film is one of the longest-in-development comic book movies in the history of the genre, but anticipation remains high. The film, which is currently slated for a 2019 release (and will reportedly be directed by Lights Out filmmaker David F. Sandberg), is hinting at offering a lighthearted tale that will offer balance to the previously dour DCEU. Regardless, the title character has yet to be cast.
His nemesis Black Adam, however, already has an actor lined up for the part: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Given that character will be given a solo film of his own, why not feature the antihero in Justice League? Since Black Adam has existed since the days of ancient Egypt, he could appear in the aforementioned opening prologue battle between Earth and Apokolips. Even just a quick shot of the antihero surveying the emergence of a team of mythic heroes he will likely face off with in the future would be awesome.
5 Big Barda
We can't talk about all the villains from Apokolips without discussing the planet's notable superheroes as well. And one of the most memorable do-gooders from Jack Kirby's New Gods saga is Big Barda. The powerful warrior was originally groomed by Granny Goodness for her Female Fury Battalion, until she left after falling in love with super-powered escape artist (and Darkseid's adoptive son) Mister Miracle, deciding to fight against the Lord of Apokolips' evil, oppressive regime.
Having Big Barda in the film would help provide a balance of genders for the Justice League roster, while introducing a compelling and empowering character largely be unknown to mass audiences. Plus, the character has aided Justice League in several comic book tales, so this isn't an unprecedented partnership. Besides, The New Gods storyline is the Star Wars of DC Comics, and we wouldn't mind seeing an eventual proper film adaptation, with Barda and Mister Miracle as major power players.
4 Justice League Dark
It was an undeniable bummer when Guillermo del Toro bowed out of directorial duties for DC's upcoming live-action Justice League Dark film, but we're still excited by the possibility that his script could still be used to some extent. Our hopes are high that director Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow, The Bourne Identity) can bring the supernatural super team to (undead) life.
So why not give the group a shout out in Justice League as well? Finding the right moment might be tricky in a film full of so many characters; plus, Dark Universe -- what the film is actually being called -- will (hopefully) have elements of a horror film, and that doesn't necessarily mesh with the fantasy driven Justice League. Even so, the magically powered Zatanna has worked in both teams, so it's not unheard of. Or an appearance from Etrigan The Demon, another Jack Kirby creation, might be a nice touch (perhaps alter-ego Jason Blood could pop up somewhere), as would a John Constantine reference or cameo.
Even to just get a hint of this unearthly collective would be sweet.
So we know that Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke The Terminator is going to be the villain du jour in director Matt Reeves' upcoming film The Batman (assuming the director isn't planning on following through on that rumored page one rewrite). And we think the fan favorite villain will likely make an appearance in Justice League. Why else would Affleck have teased a screen-test of the character (who will be played by actor Joe Manganiello) during the filming of Justice League? Between Affleck bowing out as director, and the script for The Batman still being in the works, a cameo from Deathstroke seems a bit less likely than it once did, but it's still a distinct possibility.
Maybe the character will have an opening fight with the Dark Knight that will serve as an appetizer before the main event with Steppenwolf. Or perhaps he'll serve another narrative role, but the evil tactician was surely announced this far in advance for a reason. And we can't wait to see how DC's preeminent intellectually superior assassin makes his killer onscreen debut.
2 Suicide Squad
Love it or hate it, Suicide Squad was one of 2016's biggest box office hits. And while some characters were better received than others (we're not going to go there; fight it out amongst yourselves), we feel it's a no-brainer for the group to get a nod and a mention in Justice League. Perhaps it will serve as an intro to the upcoming Gotham City Sirens project (featuring Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy, among others.) Or it could help set-up the rumored Deadshot solo film.
The most logical and least intrusive way to make a Suicide Squad connection would echo the after-credits sequence in Suicide Squad: a second meeting between Bruce Wayne and Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). Perhaps the League requires the services of a Squad member for a uniquely specific purpose. Jamming the whole crew of anti-hero black ops agents onto the JL scene would be beyond overkill, but showing even a minimal amount of cinematic connective tissue between the two supergroups would be satisfying.
Next to Superman, an appearance from the despotic ruler of Apokolips feels like the most inevitable cameo in Justice League. Steppenwolf is a member of Darkseid's Elite. He's the military leader of Apokolips, primed to use his Parademon army to help Darkseid (who's actually his nephew) take over Earth. The film is all about setting up the seeker of the Anti-Life Equation as the DCEU's main villain--so he's got to show up somewhere, right?
But how and when will he be introduced? Well. as we previously mentioned, we know the film's prologue will show an epic ancient battle from Darkseid's first attempt to conquer Earth, so we expect he might pop up there. The other option is that he'll be saved for an after-credits sequence a la Thanos in The Avengers (though that wouldn't be the most original choice). And just as Marvel uses the Infinity Stones to bridge films, the ruler of Apokolips will use his Mother Box devices in the same manner. We're just counting the days until his big reveal.
That wraps up our list of characters we want to see in Justice League! Which characters do you want to see in the film? Tell us in the comments