There are a lot of things riding on Warner Bros. and DC Comics' upcoming Justice League movie - and a lot of pieces to that puzzle still need to be fit together in just the right way to work for both longtime fans of the property, and the wider audience of moviegoers who need proper introduction to the hall of justice.
Beyond questions like whether or not to reboot Batman, what characters should be included in the league and what story should be told, there is the big question of who these DC superheroes should battle. Well, today we may have an answer - one that many of you (assuming you are eagerly digesting these words) - probably already guessed, and have long wished for.
[Warning!!! Potential Justice League SPOILER Below!!!]
Latino Review is reporting that they have it from close sources that iconic DC Comics arch-villain Darkseid is who the Justice League will fight in the 2015 blockbuster film - which is still without a confirmed cast or director. Screenwriter Will Beall (Gangster Squad) has been working on the Justice League script for some time (even before the release of Marvel's The Avengers, supposedly), so it'll be interesting to see how he incorporates so many superhero origins with arguably one of the most massive (and respected) villains in the DCU.
For those who don't know, Darkseid (one of the "New Gods") has an almost Shakespearean background: born to the royal family of the hellish world of Apokolips, Darkseid attempted to slay his own older brother and seized the "Omega Force," a power which transformed him into a stone-like man who mercilessly rules Apokolips and is one of the most powerful beings in the DCU. Darkseid is a schemer and conqueror on a cosmic scale, and throughout his 40-plus years in DC Comics, he has gone so far as to best Superman in combat (if only temporarily) and even seemingly killed Batman. Needless to say, when many fans think of a foe worthy enough to see Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and other DCU superheroes unite, Darkseid is at the top of the wish-list.
Of course, a lot of fans hold the villain in such high regard that they may not be satisfied with this rumor. By jumping into a superhero team-up film first, before launching each hero in solo films, DC/WB is already taking a risk: launching a shared universe without viewers already invested in each hero. Now they would in essence be doubling-down by also having to fit in a villain that many believe deserves a two-film buildup (at least!), and would best serve as the "big baddie" at the end of a trilogy.
Indeed, Darkseid is one of the richer DC villains, and it would be a monumental misstep if the Justice League movie didn't give him proper room to develop. It's hard to imagine one film being able to introduce several protagonists, develop a relationship dynamic between them, and still have time to delve into a fascinating villain - but it's not impossible. The Avengers balanced its heroes well enough, and Tom Hiddleston's Loki certainly got time to develop and stand out; but this inclusion of Darkseid in Justice League brings up another problem - one directly related to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Avengers 2 and Justice League both arrive in 2015, and both films are now strongly rumored to feature villains who may be too similar for the average viewer to distinguish. On the Marvel side, their "Phase Two" initiative is reportedly set to culminate in Avengers 2 with the team facing the cosmic threat of Thanos, the smiling purple villain revealed in the Avengers mid-credits scene. As comic fans will tell you, Thanos (a.k.a., Thanos of Titan) was actually created by writer-artist Jim Starlin, based on "the inspiration" of DC's New Gods. After coming up with something initially different, Starlin was advised to convert Thanos into more of a Darkseid-esque character, resulting in the stocky, muscled purple conqueror we know today. You see where this bit of history now leads to a bigger issue...
To the untrained moviegoer (read: non-comic geeks), Darkseid and Thanos could pretty much end up looking like the same bad guy; meaning these two major superhero team-up films could get accused of being "the same thing." Will that stop millions upon millions of people (and billions of box office dollars) from getting funneled into the respective studios' pockets? Certainly not. Will it spawn endless Internet chatter, arguments, "which one is better" debates, copycat accusations and the like? It's already happening.
Finally, will spring of 2015 be filled with endless promotional featurettes and specials from both Marvel and DC, telling us why their villain (and film) is unique from the competition's? We don't have a crystal ball handy to confirm... but if rumors about each film's villain turn out to be true... yes. Yes it will.
Do YOU want to see Darkseid in Justice League, or is introducing the villain now (while trying to introduce so many heroes at the same time) a waste of a good villain?
Justice League will be in theaters in 2015.
Source: Latino Review
Artwork is property of DC Comics (Thanos Image property of Marvel Comics)