Lex Luthor and Deathstroke Form The Injustice League
The post-credits scene is where the real future-teasing meat is. We open on Arkham Asylum in the middle of a riot with inmates being evacuated. A guard goes to get an uncooperative Lex Luthor from his cell, only to discover it's a double. We cut to boat in a bay with the clear silhouette of Deathstroke. He gets off onto a yacht and walks up towards the real Lex, bald and now in his classic suited getup, who offers "Mr. Wilson" some champagne to sarcastically celebrate God's return. Slade removes his mask, revealing shock-white hair and beard, and asks the escaped criminal mastermind what he wants. Lex responds that he's got wind of the Justice League's formation and thinks it's only right for them to have "a League of our own".
There's a lot to unpack. First up, Jesse Eisenberg's Luthor is back and more like his comic counterpart than in Batman v Superman; we still have the hyperactive millennial manner, but it's paired with a more calculated, measured exterior and a genuine sense of threat. It's been a major topic of discussion whether Eisenberg would be back after Dawn of Justice, with it rumored his scenes in this film had been completely cut, but this shows Lex's true menace is just beginning.
Bigger, though, is the first official appearance of Deathstroke in the DCEU. Joe Manganiello's merc was first teased by Zack Snyder back in September 2016, although whether he'd be in Justice League itself or was being saved for The Batman was never made clear, a situation further complicated by the Dark Knight standalone changing directors and, with it, stories. Then, a month before Justice League, word broke Deathstroke was getting his own film. Now, we've got to see him in proper live-action and it's incredibly comic accurate; the costume is a striking recreation of what fans know, and while the white hair is surprising, it works. Mangianello really does look the part.
But we're not just seeing villains together - we're getting the seeds for a whole new film. So, what is it? Obviously what Luthor's alluding to is the Legion of Doom/Injustice League (depending on your preference), both iconic anti-Justice Leagues made up of DC villains, which could be used in many ways. Given DC Films' gung-ho attitude to green-lighting villain standalones, they could be getting their own, hitherto unrumored movie. Or, the Deathstroke film could actually be more of a Doom ensemble piece, with him simply taking a leading role. On the flipside, this may be establishing them as a more typically antagonistic threat, either in Justice League 2 or across the team-focused solo films of the DCEU.
If it is their own film, then there's an air of familiarity here. Just last year we got villain team-up Suicide Squad, which has a sequel in early development, and David Ayer is reportedly still working on Gotham City Sirens. This means any Legion movie won't have the same fresh uniqueness it would previously, something of a shame and a potential flaw in the DC Films momentum; a bad guy picture makes more sense in contrast to a pre-existing superhero team-up.
Whatever it's setting up, we get the impression this was on the cards for quite some time. Whereas the Flash/Supes scene is a clear result of reshoots, this feels like it may date from the Snyder period. At the very least, we know he conceptualized it from an image of his working on the storyboard, and as Lex and Deathstroke were both linked to the film during principal photography it makes sense for this to have been that explanation.
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019