Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is almost here, bringing the formation of the Justice League closer to big screen reality. Now that Warner Bros. is creating a shared DC universe (known as the DC Extended Universe, or the DCEU for short) to compete with Marvel, the Justice League will soon be a force to be reckoned with. Luckily, there are a plethora of amazing storylines for DC and WB to choose from.
We’ve picked out just 10 possible stories that could be adapted for the DCEU, but of course there are many more. These are just a few that we think have the most cinematic potential: storylines that would suit the big screen and actors that have been cast. There will be potential spoilers for these comic storylines, so proceed with caution.
With all of that said, here are Screen Rant’s 10 Justice League Stories That Should Appear In The DC Extended Universe.
11 Identity Crisis
We'll start off our list with perhaps one of the most humanizing Justice League stories. DC is often described as telling the stories of gods while Marvel tells the stories of regular people, but Identity Crisis is without a doubt one of the most personal comics in their oeuvre, and it presents these larger than life heroes as real people with real lives. Unfortunately for these heroes and even villains, these lives aren’t as glamorous and fun as they might seem to those looking in from the outside.
Identity Crisis follows several heroes as they try to solve a series of murders and assaults on the spouses and partners of other superheroes. As they go about their task, we see just how far our heroes are willing to go in order to protect not just the ones they love, but their secret identities. While the villains act as obstacles in the way of justice, but the heroes eventually figure out that it may not be one of the usual suspects committing these crimes.
Although there have been no announcements for the casting of Elongated Man, The Atom, Green Arrow, Dr. Light, or Zatanna, these characters could still be introduced into the DCEU down the road, or the story could be adapted to match the characters that will appear in Batman v Superman. However, it is the dark tone of the material that would hep this story fit within the DCEU. This would easily fit into the established tone of the universe, as established in Batman v Superman and Man of Steel. We would once again see our heroes as the layered and complicated characters they really are.
10 Crisis On Infinite Earths
Easily one of the most expansive stories ever told in comics, Crisis On Infinite Earths gives almost every hero in the pantheon of DC comics a little time to shine. We see the collapse of a huge amount of universes, and the deaths of dozens of heroes. With the Anti-Monitor as the primary villain of this huge story, he stands up to the countless heroes and even orchestrates the deaths of others. We are introduced to the many different versions of heroes and villains that we are familiar with and get to see them interact with one another in numerous ways.
While a direct adaptation of this story would be nearly impossible, a smaller scaled version of the story would be perfect for a feature film. Not only would there be the looming threat in the shadows, only to later reveal himself, but seeing alternate universes colliding with one another would only make this expansive universe feel even larger. While this storyline would be better served as an endgame for the DCEU, it is absolutely worth the enormous budget that it would require.
Not only would it be a proper send off to the actors and heroes we’ve grown to know and love, but it could also serve as a springboard that would launch the reboot of the DCEU, just like in the comics (in which the entire DC universe was relaunched in the New 52 timeline). We could even see the younger actors in the DCEU take over the respective mantles of the previously established heroes, solving an intrinsic casting problem.
9 JLA: Tower of Babel
This is a story that a lot of DC fans might be familiar with, thanks to the animated film Justice League: Doom. In JLA: Tower of Babel, Ra’s al Ghul uses Batman’s own contingency plans, created in case members of the Injustice League swapped bodies with the heroes on this earth, to take out each member of the Justice League. Not only are the heroes neutralized by Batman’s own brilliant plans, but the betrayal they feel is dramatically felt. The Justice League must deal with both Ra's and the threat he poses, as well as conflict within the league, especially between Superman and Batman.
Thanks to the internal nature of the story, this could be a Justice League film that doesn’t require a massive collection of disposable villains for the league to fight. Similar to Identity Crisis, JLA: Tower of Babel could help humanize these larger than life heroes by exposing their greatest weaknesses. Seeing as Batman is already addressing his weaknesses in Batman v Superman, it would be logical to think that he would look at the other Justice League members with a similar cynicism. Regardless of how he feels about creating the Justice League with Superman and Wonder Woman at the end of new movie, Ben Affleck’s Batman seems like he is wise (or foolish) enough to create the same type of contingencies we see in JLA: Tower of Babel.
8 Justice League: Darkseid War
Easily one of the most interesting story arcs of the entire Justice League New 52 run, Justice League: Darkseid War elevates the reintroduced heroes of this rebooted universe in new and interesting ways. Massive shakeups are made to the new origins of these heroes. Between Batman becoming a New God when he sits on the Mobius Chair, Superman becoming the New God of strength, Flash becoming the Black Racer, and Darkseid dying, there are many moments that would easily create memorable moments on film. No other superhero movie has even attempted such drastic changes to the central characters in their respective universes.
With many of the characters in Darkseid War set to appear on film in the near future, this story could potentially be adapted down the road. While we don’t yet know the end of Darkseid War, it could easily serve as inspiration for a Justice League film.
7 Final Crisis
One of Grant Morrison’s wackiest entries into the DC universe, Final Crisis gives us a unique look at both the core Justice League members as well as some of the recurring villains. In the story, Darkseid, along with other evil New Gods, controls the minds of Earth's citizens, including some superheroes. This story features such indelible images as Darkseid becoming a black hole that sucks all life into it, an army of Supermen coming together to save the universe, and Batman fighting Darkseid, only to be transported back in time.
While both complicated and dark, most of the film wouldn’t require large off-world adventures, but instead a more centralized story that takes place on earth. With its ending, it could even set-up further solo films for members of the team. Also, it would just be amazing to see Batman take on Darkseid and his inescapable Omega Beams.
6 Blackest Night And Brightest Day
While it's true that these are technically Green Lantern stories, the roster of characters in these two comics are so expansive, and include so many characters, that they definitely belong on this list.
Beginning with Blackest Night, we see the almost the entire DC universe turned into Black Lanterns, who are basically zombies, powered by the black power rings. Acting as minions to Nekron, these fallen heroes, villains, and regular people attack the living of the universe. Hal Jordan summons the rest of the Lantern Corps to unite and create the White Lantern Corps in order to defeat Nekron.
In Brightest Day, those "zombies" who were resurrected after the battle between the White and Black Lanterns must find out what they were brought back to life to accomplish. While this story deals more with repercussions than direct action, it could serve as a means to tease future stories and give us a bit more resolution as to why the Entity resurrected these specific people rather than any of the other Black Lanterns.
While these stories are huge, they could be great as a feature film. Not only are zombies immensely popular in pop culture, but a story that sees some of our favorite characters killed or used for evil would give us something we haven't seen before.
5 Infinite Crisis
Infinite Crisis plays off of the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths and sees the return of Alexander Luthor, Superboy Prime, and Earth-2’s Lois Lane. Unfortunately, they don’t all return to their previously heroic ways, as Alexander Luthor tries to merge earths in hopes of creating the perfect world.
Although this story wouldn’t work unless there were some sort of adaptation of Crisis on Infinite Earths to begin with, Infinite Crisis could still be a riveting story. With the tension between Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman, as well as the carnage created by Alexander Luthor and Superboy Prime, audiences would be given a great balance of drama and action. We also see our heroes pushed to their limits as we follow Superboy Prime’s sad rampage across the galaxy in order to end the universe. There may be a lot to cover, but it is a cinematic comic just waiting to be told.
4 JLA: A New World Order
JLA: A New World Order is a comic that introduces us to White Martians in the form of a group called the Hyperclan. This group poses as a group of heroes, but they are really there to turn the world against the Justice League and destroy them.
This story would work very well as an early Justice League film because, while the Hyperclan pose a serious threat to the Justice League, they aren’t quite as deadly as Darkseid or the Anti-Monitor. If this was adapted to film, it would work as a great way to establish the Justice League as a team, while showcasing each individual’s abilities. The idea of a hostile and manipulative alien race would also fit well into the established universe, considering the trailers for Batman v Superman, which reveal there is a huge divide in public opinion over the vigilante tactics of Superman.
3 JLA: Justice
Despite JLA: Justice being an Elseworld story, much of it could easily be adapted for a movie within the DCEU continuity. In the story, The Legion of Doom, a society of villains created by Lex Luthor, attempts to kill the members of the Justice League so that they may create world peace in their own way, giving readers an opportunity to see heroes and villains from across DC's roster of characters.
It is interesting to explore the idea that heroes could one day fail to save the world from annihilation, leavng villains as the only ones who could protect it. This idea not only leaves the door wide open for the DCEU to bring in dozens of villains, but it gives them a reason to all be in one film. As said in previous entries, this comic’s arc would fit into the established tone of the existing DCEU, in that it is reasonable to think Lex Luthor would create such a coalition in order to save the world, but on his own terms.
2 Kingdom Come
Finally, Kingdom Come is one the most widely beloved DC comics ever. Another Elseworld story, it could also be adapted to fit into the DCEU, despite centering around an aged Justice League. Kingdom Come sees our favorite heroes come out of retirement in order to reestablish order in a world long since abandoned by traditional heroes. Unfortunately, the factions created by Batman, Superman, Lex Luthor, and Magog only create more damage and death. This leads to civil war of sorts that sees heroes fighting each other, and chaos ensuing as each hero tries to save the world in his own way.
Kingdom Come is very unlikely to be adapted to film, but it could perhaps serve as an ending to the DCEU. Once the current actors age out of their roles, this could be a fitting way to send them off before rebooting the universe with a new cast.
There you have it! As always, there are surely comics that were left off of this list, but be sure to let us know which ones we missed. Hopefully you’re as excited as we are about the prospect of seeing at least some of these iconic stories adapted to the big screen in the coming years. Perhaps once we see Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice we will finally have a better idea of where WB is headed with the Justice League. Thanks for reading and be sure to let us know which on this list you’d love to see be adapted for the DCEU!
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will see theatrical release on March 25th, 2016, followed by Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23rd, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17th, 2017; The Flash on March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman on July 27th, 2018; Shazam on April 5th, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14th, 2019; Cyborg on April 3rd, 2020; and Green Lantern on June 19th, 2020. The Superman and Batman solo films have release dates TBD.