[Potential SPOILERS for Justice League Part One ahead.]
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was burdened with the monumental task of setting up the larger DC Extended Universe going forward, a feat that it largely managed to accomplish - despite failing to surpass a desired $1 billion in ticket sales at the global box office and generating some ill-will among critics, general audiences, and possibly even one of its featured stars (allegedly, anyway). However, with the forthcoming Wonder Woman standalone feature having officially marked the end of filming, things are beginning to look up for the still-young comic book movie franchise.
Following director Patty Jenkins' take on the Amazonian superheroine Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) in Wonder Woman, all eyes are likely to be turned towards Batman V Superman director Zack Snyder once more when Justice League Part One sees theatrical release come November 2017. Ben Affleck is already set to star and execuitve produce the forthcoming DCEU cornerstone event - and the latest report on the film may have revealed who, exactly, will serve as the movie's central antagonist.
According to Birth. Movies. Death (a site that ultimately proved to be a reliable source of Batman V Superman details prior to the film's release), the central villain in the first Justice League film will not be Darkseid, as was heavily foreshadowed in Batman V Superman - nor, for that matter, will it be an "evil Superman," as some have speculated. Instead, the villain will apparently be none other than DC Comics super-villain Steppenwolf.
Steppenwolf, for those unfamiliar, is the uncle of Darkseid and the military leader of Apokolips. Some speculated that Steppenwolf was the character who only showed up in a deleted scene from Batman V Superman (see below), and according to BMD that guess is, in fact, correct. Steppenwolf will supposedly have a contentious history with his nephew in the first DCEU Justice League film, which just might lead to his impending invasion of Earth in the movie. Darkseid will in turn make an appearance at the end of Justice League Part One, however, and will return as a central presence in the second Justice League film installment (due to arrive in 2019).
Given the awesome power of Steppenwolf from the world of DC Comics, with his energy axe and hover bike close at hand (and quite possibly riding to war with his formidable Parademon hordes in tow), the first Justice League should prove to be an even bigger and far grander thematic spectacle than the four DCEU films that will immediately precede it (including Suicide Squad, which is due out this August). Only time will tell who else might yet make an appearance in the forthcoming DCEU film, but whoever it is may now have to contend with both Steppenwolf and (eventually) Darkseid.
There is still plenty of time for other developments to arise in the making of Justice League Part One, but for now Steppenwolf is the most heavily-rumored antagonist, with his nephew Darkseid slated to play second fiddle. Could Willem Dafoe's mystery role be that of portraying Steppenwolf himself, or another member of his Parademon hordes? Be sure to sound off in the comments with your take on this latest rumor.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is now playing in U.S. theaters. Suicide Squad will arrive on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two 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.
Source: Birth. Movies. Death.