[Potential SPOILERS for the big screen Justice League ahead]
Stop us if you've heard this one before: a new report has surfaced online offering not only the identity of the villain set to debut in Zack Snyder's Justice League movie - the first of a two-part story - but a few details on exactly what kind of threat they will pose, and which classic DC Comics stories will be turned to for inspiration.
The rumors and online conversation and speculation won't stop until Warner Bros. or Zack Snyder personally confirm, explicitly, which villain will be standing against the likes of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and more when Justice League Part One hits theaters in 2017. But the old rumors refuse to die, teasing one of the biggest baddies in the DC Universe taking a bit of a shortcut to the movie universe.
At this point, we shouldn't have to warn fans to take the news with some skepticism, and the next rumor arriving in the next few days or weeks should prove the point all on its own. For example, word that Justice League will introduce Mera of Atlantis, that it will include Black Canary for a potential Birds of Prey spinoff, or something even more outlandish.
What we do know is this: you don't need to have an "inside source" at Warner Bros. or DC Entertainment to know two things: that Brainiac was originally planned as the next movie villain to take on Superman after Man of Steel, a fact Zack Snyder has personally confirmed. And second, that no villain has given the Justice League bigger headaches, more often, than the ruler of the planet Apokolips, Darkseid.
So it should come as no surprise that the film industry tracking website MyEntertainmentWorld has added a listing for Justice League Part One, with the following plot synopsis:
The world's greatest heroes are assembled to form the Justice League, to combat a threat beyond each individual's capabilities. The story involves Darkseid planning the destruction of Earth by blasting it with a ray that’ll move Apokolips into the Earth’s place.
Casual fans of Dc's budding universe may see that 'new' synopsis and think there is real smoke to this fire, but it actually stems from a rumor first published three years ago - before the same source later reported that it was Brainiac who would be the Justice League villain instead. At the time, a specific comic arc was pointed to for the basic outline of the story. The three-part comic arc culminated in the issue titled "Crisin on Apokolips" or "Darkseid Rising," in which the Justice League heroes teamed up to stop Darkseid from transporting his planet into the same "dimensional space" as Earth, destroying the existing planet in the process.
For obvious reasons, the story seemed like a strange one for Warner Bros. to adapt. Not only would Darkseid, Apokolips, and the race of New Gods and war between Apokolips and New Genesis (all pretty pivotal to the comic's story) all need to be introduced in a single film, but it would take a movie universe known for being grounded, human, and 'of our world' into the wildest corners of the cosmos. Not to mention it sounds like the same plot as an existing entry in the Transformers movie series.
It's entirely possible that the site has an inside source, possibly even one who has actually read the completed script. But if it's true, then confirmation that Darkseid will be the villain is fairly anticlimactic news on its own. Even if the studio came out and announced it, the flood of questions from fans would prove that it's not really a massive reveal on its own. Will we see the planet Apokolips? New Genesis? All of the New Gods? Will it be used to set up films and characters like Metron, Orion, Big Barda or Mister Miracle? Or will he merely appear to be thwarted by the League right here on Earth?
Those questions will only truly be answered when the movie hits theaters, if the past onslaught of rumors surrounding Man of Steel, Suicide Squad, and Batman V Superman are any indication. But with Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn criticizing fansites and outlets just looking to spoil movies, fans should probably ask themselves a serious question. Would you rather have these questions answered definitively, without any context, or actually wait to see them answered on the big screen by the people plotting the future?
But in the name of speculation and discussion among excited fans, the conversation has to focus in on which villain would be the most satisfying, the most promising for Zack Snyder's first Justice League blockbuster? Logic says that only a villain from another world could really test the team's limits, and there are plenty to choose from. Would Darkseid be your first choice?
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25th, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23rd, 2017; Justice League on November 17th, 2017; The Flash on March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman on July 27th, 2018; Shazam on April 5th, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14th, 2019; Cyborg on April 3rd, 2020; Green Lantern Corps on June 19th, 2020. Untitled Batman and Superman solo films will be coming at dates TBD.