[WARNING: This article contains potential SPOILERS for Justice League]
Their arrival back in Batman V Superman came as a total shock to DC Comics fans, but make no mistake: the entire world is about to know the mystery and menace of the Parademons of Apokolips. The newest Justice League trailer shows the Parademons will be playing a major role going forward - and if a close reading reveals what it seems to, director Zack Snyder may even be adapting one of the more modern, supremely twisted methods by which the footsoldiers of Apokolips are actually created.
Seasoned comic bo0k fans may have learned that looking too closely at the nameless, faceless hordes of a superhero blockbuster is pointless, since the heroes will only care about defeating, not understanding them. That's most definitely true of the Apokoliptian Parademons - their sheer number and expendability is what makes them so terrifying - but eagle-eyed viewers were able to pick out dozens of Justice League hints from the trailer. Among them: we may be dealing with two distinct versions of Parademons in the DCEU's first official team-up.
The Parademon Predicament
It's surprising to remember back to Batman V Superman and realize that Warner Bros., DC Films, and Zack Snyder made no attempt to keep the future of their film universe a secret. In the 'Knightmare' glimpse of Earth's future (viewed through Batman's eyes) no punches were pulled: Darkseid had taken over Earth and turned its landscape into that of the fire-spewing Apokolips, marked it with Omega sigil, and even dispatched Parademons - easily recognizable for comic fans - to handle the population. And with Justice League's trailer, we see just how close to that design the Parademons remain.
They may have once been living, breathing souls, but years of torture and cruelty reduced the Parademons into the bloodthirst, insect-like swarm of Darkseid. Their design reflects it, too: metallic armor showing their power and strength, nothing but glowing red eyes to remove any sign of sentience, and a disgusting, lipless, toothy grin driving home the perversion of life that is basically Darkseid's calling card. The Parademon who punched Batman out in BvS has the face and grin of an alien soldier, but those same red eyes are first seen creeping up behind Dr. Silas Stone in the Justice League trailer.
We've previously explained his importance to the story, and the Apokoliptian Mother Box in his possession. So it makes sense that Darkseid's general Steppenwolf (the villain of Justice League) would send troops to either interrogate or kidnap him. But if you were watching the trailer closely, you would notice that not all these Parademons look alike...
Throughout the trailer variations of Parademons can be seen glowing with a yellow light, and not a red one. For clarity's sake, we're referring here to the bigger, thicker of the Apokoliptian soldiers from that Knightmare vision (which appear to be the true Parademons, as opposed to the smaller, more alien-looking soldiers clutching enemies with their feet). And while most of those shown in the Justice League trailer from the presumed first half of the film glow dimly red, other sections of the story seem to include primarily yellow Parademons.
Those already scanning the faces of the different Parademons may see where we're going with this, but their placement may be key. The Parademon glowing behind Silas Stone is almost certainly one of Steppenwolf's scouts, and the Parademons defeated by The Flash and Batman's 'Nightcrawler' tank are the first hive attacked by the budding League. All glow red along with Cyborg, which makes sense, since he was constructed out of Apokoliptian technology thanks to a Mother Box back in Batman V Superman.
As for the Parademons defending the Apokoliptian tower that seems to be the focal point of the bigger battle... they glow a much more vibrant yellow. And when the trailer gives the best shot of them atop the Batmobile (a moment away from being hammered by Wonder Woman), it's hard to miss the color change... or the fact that their faces appear to be most distinctly human. Still discolored and scarred as if from experimentation, but more human than their red brethren.
So, is Justice League suggesting that Darkseid and Steppenwolf have bolstered their Parademon ranks through a uniquely human experiment? If so, the comic books have already shown how it's done.
Making Parademons From Human Beings?
For the record, the idea that the Parademons are more than a race of soldiers to be dispatched at Darkseid's whim is a fairly modern idea. In DC Comics' New 52 reboot that mythology was expanded, with Cyborg's Apokoliptian tech - the same kind that spared his life, as is the case in the DCEU - granting him the knowledge of Apokolips itself. Specifically, how the planet fills its Parademon ranks by conquering worlds, harvesting the sentient life, and... transforming them into the Parademons we all know and love. And hey, wouldn't you know it, that added detail came straight from writer Geoff Johns (currently playing a "big" role in the DCEU's formation).
That twist led to its ultimately predictable and grotesque conclusion in Earth-2: World's End #2 (2014). In that story, Earth-2 was attacked by a former Apokoliptian fury named K'li whose plan included reanimating human corpses as Parademons. The result was what she called 'Parademon Berserkers,' more powerful and unique from the others in her army. It created a new challenge for the heroes to overcome, and drove home the point: all creation, all life is but a toy for Darkseid to play with. And in the DCEU, that message would help create the specter of Darkseid long before he actually appears in the movie as a main villain.
Could these yellow, more humanoid Parademons be a similar version, and a second plan hatched by Steppenwolf to pervert the heroes' sense of justice and protecting the innocent? We learned during our visit to the set of Justice League that the Parademons will be kidnapping Earth's scientists before the League can put it to a stop, so perhaps it isn't just their knowledge Steppenwolf is after.
That's only our theory, and it's speculation we welcome others to sound off on. Did you notice the color difference, but arrive at a different explanation? Or do you think that, in this one instance, Zack Snyder and his team of DCEU storytellers aren't focusing attention on details fans are sure to pick out? Let us know in the comments.
- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017