WARNING: This article contains potential SPOILERS for Justice League
The Justice League movie will return the Amazons to the spotlight of DC's movie universe - and from the trailers, it may mean the ancient race, or their home, will be wiped off the planet. That's based on our speculation from what's being shown in the new promos, TV spots, and other marketing ahead of the movie's release. Which means fans can keep on hoping that Wonder Woman's role in Justice League will be as rich and expansive as her home of Themyscira. But that may mean ignoring some key shots from the film showing a truly bad day for Paradise Island.
It's already been revealed that Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright will be reprising their Wonder Woman roles, appearing to lead the Amazons against Steppenwolf's first attempted invasion of Earth in the planet's distant history. In fact, a recent promo gave our first look at young Antiope in battle against Apokolips. The other trailers have teased a more devastating, perhaps even deadly attack on Themyscira in the modern day, and according to a few new shots... Justice League may reveal the last days of the Amazons.
The version made famous in Wonder Woman, at least. Allow us to explain.
Steppenwolf Strikes The Amazons First?
After spending months keeping the villain of Justice League under wraps - confirming it was Steppenwolf, Darkseid's uncle and general, but refusing to show his design - the reveal was unexpected. Fans had imagined getting to see the ominous moment that Steppenwolf first arrived on planet Earth, but didn't expect to see him make landfall in the heart of Themyscira, surrounded by Amazons. As Hippolyta and a small army of Amazon warriors watch with stunned faces, Steppenwolf appeared to be 'beamed' into the room, massive axe in hand. Presumably, to retrieve the Mother Box protected by the warrior women (one of three in total) and escape. The more recent shots of Amazons riding across the island pursued by Parademons implied they were fleeing to keep the Apokoliptian device from the villain, while footage of Steppenwolf knocking a rider off horseback in the same sun-washed fields of Themyscira showed their efforts may be for naught.
Which leads us to the image above. Our reading of it suggests the sequence of events just mentioned: Hippolyta's women flee with the Mother Box, are pursued, and ultimately cut off by Steppenwolf (thanks to another bit of 'beaming,' perhaps). He defeats the Amazons and claims the device, just as the entire horde of Amazons descend upon him. This shot pairs with that of a cavalry charge closing on Steppenwolf as he sends a beam of light into the sky. Typically, one might look at the stacked odds and assume Steppenwolf is retreating. But in the world of DC Comics, the 'Boom Tubes' used by New Gods (which these appear to be in movie form) are a two-way street.
The light may be Steppenwolf's way out of the fight... but it could be his army's way in, as well (dropping the veil concealing the island from outside forces, perhaps?). Which means we may have been interpreting the previous shots of an Apokoliptian invasion all wrong...
Apokolips Comes To Paradise Island
By now, most Justice League fans will have the few images of Steppenwolf, his axe, and the nightmare that precedes the invasion of Apokoliptian war ships seared into their memory. Since the filmmakers were open about the massive battle in Justice League's prologue scenes, any shot or sequence seen in marketing that appeared to connect to that prologue was - immediately. But when observing the above shot - the lush green fields of Themyscira, the serene waters off its coast appearing just as they did in Wonder Woman, all infected by the fiery arrival of Apokoliptian ships - another answer begins to form. Consider that the shots of Steppenwolf turning an Earth landscape into black ash and glowing alien runes are set on Themyscira, and Wonder Woman's uttering of the word "invasion..." becomes far more chilling.
There's still hope for the optimists out there, including those who concede that these shots do in fact show the invasion of Paradise Island. If any army on Earth is able to take a beating and give one to the Parademons of Apokolips, it's the Amazons. They may not be able to stand against Steppenwolf himself as well as Diana (blessed with the strength and power of Zeus), but en masse, Hippolyta, Menalippe, Artemis, and the rest of the Amazons could make it out of the battle alive. But they won't be able to take their home with them into the outside world.
What strategic purpose is served by Steppenwolf burning Themyscira to a cinder is unclear - perhaps it's just revenge for defeating him in battle thousands of years ago. In which case, Atlantis and the rest of the planet is in trouble, too. The real question fans should be asking, now that the burning of Themyscira has been revealed, is what comes next? Do the women pass into memory, and accept the emotional defeat? Do they seek out Diana to show them a way into Man's World?
Or, most hopelessly, will they realize their time on Earth as passed, giving way to a new age of Heroes? Share your own predictions and hopes in the comments.
- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017