Hot on the heels of the highly successful Wonder Woman, it seems like the DC extended universe may finally be gaining some real momentum. If they can sustain it, Justice League would be a great place to prove that this universe is finally on a track that’s more popular with critics and audiences. Justice League has also been the subject of a great deal of speculation, in part because there’s quite a bit that’s still unknown about the project.
While we’ve gotten some information from trailers, and a sense of the film’s somewhat lighter tone, we still don’t know the film’s exact plot, and that’s led to a ton of speculation about what could happen in the film, which is reportedly quite long. There are some basics that we know, but for every scrap of information we receive, there are five things worth speculating about. Some of the theories are truly strange, while others feel fairly plausible.
Justice League is a hotly anticipated release, and it’s led to some passionate debate about what fans hope to see from it. Above all else, they want it to be a DC film worth praising, although they differ on exactly what that film might look like.
Here are the 15 Craziest Fan Theories About Justice League.
15 Superman Returns as a Villain
Although most fans of the DCEU suspect that Clark Kent won’t be in the ground for long, some have suggested that he may actually return to the world of the living as a villain.
This would certainly be a fascinating development, as it would force a team he helped inspire to fight against him. What’s more, it would help to explain why he’s been absent from so much of the promotional material, even though there seems to be a widespread acknowledgment that he won’t be dead for long.
Giving Superman this role in the film might also give the film some emotional resonance, as the other members of the Justice League would have to appeal to his humanity in order to redeem him. Although this redemption seems inevitable, it would still be harrowing to see Superman fighting against the Justice League in such an overt way, and it may also give DC an emotional undercurrent worth celebrating.
14 A Green Lantern Dies in the Movie
One theory related to the Green Lantern’s absence from this film suggests that Justice League will contain a version of the traditional Justice League member, but it won’t be Hal Jordan, the man who is usually in the suit. Instead, the version of the Green Lantern that we see will die in the film, and that’s how Hal Jordan will end up inside the suit.
The other Green Lantern likely wouldn’t have a huge role if this theory pans out, but it would be interesting to see him arrive and help the Justice League, if only for a moment.
This would also work nicely because it would sidestep the usual origin story, especially considering how terribly the last Green Lantern film did. Instead, we would get Hal Jordan’s origin story wrapped inside the Justice League, and we wouldn’t have to worry about hearing it again.
In an age when those stories feel incredibly familiar, fans may want a solo Green Lantern film to be free from all of the usual origin story baggage.
13 Batman Will Meet With Lex Luthor
Although Lex Luthor is not expected to have a huge role in Justice League, many fans expect he’ll make an appearance to have a conversation with Batman. The trailers suggest that it’s Batman who pulls the group together and unites them around a common cause, and if that’s the case, Batman will probably also need information. Batman v Superman made it clear that, even if he didn’t reveal it all, Lex Luthor knew what was coming.
The theory argues that Luthor’s only scene in the film will be with Batman, and Batman will use the opportunity to get information out of Lex that will prove valuable to him for the rest of the film. This scene would likely happen early on, as part of the table setting the film does to prepare us for Steppenwolf and the coming invasion.
While many were critical of Jesse Eisenberg’s performance as Luthor in Batman V. Superman, it could work very well if we’re only given a small dose of it.
12 Darkseid is Introduced in the Final Scene
We already know that the primary villain of Justice League is Steppenwolf, a servant of Darkseid. We also know that Darkseid is the villain that these DCEU films are moving toward, but there’s little indication of how rapidly Darkseid will enter the fray.
One fan theory suggests that Darkseid will be introduced to audiences in the film’s final scene, setting up the Justice League sequel without allowing the cloud of Darkseid to hang over the rest of the film.
This approach would be similar to the way Marvel introduced Thanos at the end of the first Avengers movie, warning fans about the greater threats still to come inside of the universe. It may be difficult to keep Darkseid hidden for the remainder of the film, in part because of Steppenwolf's close associations with Darkseid in the comics, ones which will presumably extend to his role in the DCEU. These associations might necessitate an earlier introduction to Darkseid in the film.
11 The Arrowverse and the DCEU Will Merge
Although everyone involved in both universes has claimed that DC’s TV and film universes will remain separate, one fan theory argues that’s not really the case. In fact, this theory also argues that Justice League will bring the two universes together, at least temporarily.
The idea involves a Crisis, a cataclysmic event that combines the worlds and allows Oliver Queen to interact with Bruce Wayne. It would be an excellent way to give fans more moments of sheer joy, although DC is already having some trouble with over-stuffing its film properties, so adding more characters to the line-up might not be the best idea.
It may not be the most likely theory, especially considering the success that the DC television universe, which consists of Arrow, Supergirl, and The Flash, seems to be having without the help of its film counterparts. Also, there’s the matter of two Flashes to deal with, but that’s a minor detail.
10 Deathstroke Will Meet Lex Luthor
Deathstroke is the DC villain set to do battle with Batman in Ben Affleck’s solo project, but some fans think he’s going to enter the universe in Justice League. The master of hand-to-hand combat, who will prove to be an excellent opponent for Batman when that solo film materializes, is also likely to make an appearance in Justice League, perhaps to set up their dynamic in The Batman.
Some have speculated, based largely on storyboards that Zack Snyder released of a scene involving Deathstroke in Justice League, that Deathstroke may have a conversation with someone besides Batman in the film. The storyboards suggest he speaks with a figure with a shaved head who looks remarkably like Lex Luthor, although no face is shown.
While it could be misguided speculation, there aren’t a ton of other bald figures in the DCEU. It leads us to wonder what the two could possibly be talking about.
9 Green Lantern is Possessed by Parallax
Traditionally, the Green Lantern is a part of the Justice League. He may not always seem like the most essential member, but he’s usually a feature. In this version of the team, Green Lantern is conspicuously absent, which has led many fans to come up with possible explanations for this absence. One such theory suggests that the Green Lantern isn’t in the movie because he’s already been possessed by Parallax.
The theory goes: in a move similar to a recent run of comics, Hal Jordan could not be part of the Justice League because he’s currently possessed by Parallax, or fear incarnate.
The theory suggests that this will be a major plot point in the upcoming Green Lantern Corps film, and it would also work to explain the rather conspicuous absence of Green Lantern from this film.
Of course, DC could also still be rebounding from the failure of Ryan Reynolds' Green Lantern film, which might be the reason they’re staying away from the character for now.
8 Lex Luthor Wants Them to Unite
Traditionally, Lex Luthor is a supervillain. He’s a normal human who’s frightened and upset by Superman’s superhuman abilities, and he tries to defeat the Kryptonian as he enacts his own sinister plots.
This Justice League fan theory suggests that Lex may really be trying to help, in his own twisted way. His actions in Batman v Superman may have been designed to bring about a battle between Batman and Superman - or they could have been designed to bring them together and help them form a team.
That would also explain why Lex has been tagging and tracking metahumans. The theory also explains that Luthor created Doomsday as a way to unite the heroes behind a common enemy, and you can’t deny its effectiveness.
This theory would also justify Jesse Eisenberg’s strange portrayal of the usual nefarious character. This version is trying to do some good for a change of pace.
7 The Superman Revival Theories
Although there’s a ton of speculation around Justice League, most fans are pretty sure that Superman will be resurrected at some point. After all, the final scene in Batman V. Superman pretty much tells us that much. There are a cornucopia of theories as to how Superman will come back in the film, and each one of them has definite potential.
One such theory suggests that Superman isn’t actually dead at the end of Batman v Superman, but is actually just hibernating. Another posits that The Flash will simply travel back in time to a point in the past where he was still very much alive. Yet another claims that the Justice League will travel to an alternate dimension, or cause a convergence that allows them to access a Superman who wasn’t killed in the fight with Doomsday.
The likelihood of Superman’s return hasn’t slowed fans down at all. In fact, it’s given them more room to speculate.
6 Darkseid Will Be in the Film's Prologue
Although there’s another theory on this list that suggests that Darkseid won’t appear in Justice League until its final moments, this fan theory suggests that he may actually be in one of the film’s very first scenes.
The theory argues that Justice League will likely have a prologue that introduces us to Steppenwolf and, by virtue of his association with Darkseid, we’ll meet Darkseid as well.
This idea is one that argues that viewers should understand the stakes of the story as they come in. We meet Steppenwolf, and understand what an imposing force he is, but we also meet Darkseid, who will be an even greater terror for the people of Earth.
The theory stems from Lord of the Rings, suggesting that Darkseid serves the same function as Sauron did in that story. While the story has other villains, the idea is that Darkseid is the ultimate force of evil that the Justice League will eventually have to face.
5 Cyborg Will be an Emotional Crux of the Story
Although we have yet to meet Cyborg, many fans believe he will emerge as one of the film’s emotional cruxes - perhaps even sacrificing himself before the film’s end.
The theory suggests that Cyborg is one of the mother boxes; living computers that Steppenwolf is almost definitely after in the film, which means that he will inevitably be captured or killed by Steppenwolf.
If this moment isn’t enough to move audiences, the theory suggests it’ll come after Cyborg spends the entire film trying to decide if he’s still more man than machine. The theory also claims that Cyborg will be recovering from the death of his father, which is another fan theory in and of itself.
As one of the major characters who’s still fairly mysterious, Cyborg could easily become a central part in the film, which is why he’s been mostly absent from the advertising. His story is certainly one of the most tragic in the film, and it’s also one of the least explored.
4 The Superman We Know is a Proto-Version
As strange as it may sound, one prominent fan theory suggests that the Superman we’ve met thus far in the DCEU is actually a proto-Superman, one who is overwhelmed by the responsibilities of being a hero. Henry Cavill teased that the resurrected Superman could be wearing a black suit, and this fan theory suggests that the suit will in fact be part of Superman’s regeneration into a more classic interpretation of the character.
When he’s exposed to the sun, his black suit will become the traditional red and blue suit of the comics, and this new version of the character will be stoic, but he’ll be less tortured about what it means to be a hero. This new version of the character would make sense, as he would also be part of a newly formed team of heroes.
Of course, the fan theory may involve some wishful thinking for fans who want to see a more traditional interpretation of the character, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
3 Superman Will Be Kidnapped by Steppenwolf
At the end of Batman v Superman, we see the ground around Superman’s grave begin to rumble, and it seems as though his absence from the world of the living won’t be particularly extended.
One fan theory suggests that this rumbling isn’t actually Superman being resurrected, but is instead Steppenwolf robbing Superman’s grave with the use of a boom tube. The theory suggests that Batman assembles the Justice League to get Superman back, and manages to travel to Apokolips with Cyborg’s help.
The fan theory suggests that after the Justice League defeats Steppenwolf and rescues Superman, they’ll run into Brutaal, Superman’s clone, and be picked off one by one. As they die, Batman will realize that he can use the boom tube to send The Flash back in time with a warning for Bruce. That warning is the one Bruce gets in Batman v Superman, which this theory suggests is how Justice League will end.
Whether this time loop actually happens, it’s undoubtedly an incredibly cool theory.
2 The Climactic Battle Will End at Daybreak
The DCEU has established a reputation for nighttime battle sequences. Some have complained that using night as a backdrop makes the sequence harder to comprehend, and is also muddy visually.
While this theory suggests the climactic will take place at night, it also suggests that it will end at daybreak, providing us with an iconic shot of every member of the Justice League lined up, as they are in much of the promotional material.
Although the night fight scene may be displeasing to some audience members, the idea of daybreak is certainly evocative, and not just because it will give Zack Snyder a chance to include a truly mesmerizing shot.
Daybreak suggests a new hope. It suggests the beginning of a new era, both for the DCEU and for the newly united Justice League. They’re finally one team, working together to take on the most dangerous forces in the universe.
It would be a moment of uplift at the end of what may be a harrowing film.
1 The Films Are Pointing Toward Injustice
If there’s one thing that almost everyone can say with confidence about the DCEU, it’s that these movies have an intentionally gritty tone. Unlike the Marvel films, they seem insistent upon treating every character seriously, and giving even their lighter figures a darker tone. Perhaps the most notable example of this is Superman, a figure who is supposed to stand for “truth, justice, and the American way,” and instead seems sort of angry all the time.
This would make sense if the film’s are following the Injustice timeline, one where Superman becomes a fascist dictator after The Joker tricks him into killing Lois Lane and their unborn child. In this universe, Superman and Batman oppose one another, and the world’s superheroes throw their support behind one or the other.
It may seem convoluted, but we get hints at this idea during Batman’s Knightmare sequence in Batman v Superman, specifically when The Flash suggests that it’s all about Lois.
Do you subscribe to any of these Justice League fan theories? Let us know in the comments!