As the release of Justice League approaches, more and more rumors have arrived regarding which surprise characters will turn up in the film. Like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice before it, there’s a good chance Zack Snyder will use next month’s big team-up to further expand the DC cinematic universe. And while the requisite Easter eggs and nods to other characters are all but guaranteed, it seems likely Justice League will actually introduce some new heroes and villains beyond those already confirmed.
Last week, the full track listing for the Justice League soundtrack was released, and it’s full of story teases. From big battles to a potential romance between two of the Leaguers, there's a lot that can be extrapolated from the songs in the score. Even more exciting, though, is a number of the songs that seem to hint at the arrival of some new DC characters.
Darkseid - The Story of Steppenwolf
In many ways, a cameo by Darkseid in Justice League seems inevitable. The mainstay DC Comics villain has long been rumored to show up in the film - at one point he was even expected to be the main antagonist. The Justice League we're getting, though, will instead introduce Steppenwolf; Darkseid’s uncle is the main villain of the film, alongside his Parademon shock troopers. However, just as Thanos has been on the outskirts of the MCU, it’s easy to imagine the first Justice League teasing the presence of Darkseid. The soundtrack suggests how that could happen.
Early in the listing, there’s a song in the score by Danny Elfman called "The Story of Steppenwolf." Considering that Steppenwolf's got some relationship to the real big bad (although whether it stays as it was in the comics is unclear), that backstory will surely include Darkseid. And, once the villain appears, he may end up factoring into the movie more than we’ve been led to believe.
Superman (Black Suit) – Friends and Foes
While a number of tracks could allude to the arrival of Superman in Justice League, one song in particular heavily hints at a rather different take on the Man of Steel. We heard back in September that composer Danny Elfman was including a dark twist on John Williams' classic Superman theme. Last week, we finally got a chance to hear it in the track 'Friends and Foes.' Given the title and that update, there's a chance we might see a more aggressive version of Superman arrive towards the end of the film.
Along with all that, there have also been hints that Kal-El will arrive in his infamous black costume. Following the death of Superman at the hands of Doomsday in the comics, the world saw a flood of Supermen jockey to take the Man of Steel’s place. Eventually, the real Superman came back, but sporting long hair and a black-and-silver suit. We’ve seen various bits of promotional material reference this black suit, including some recent Justice League merchandise. Whether that actually happens in the DCEU, the score definitely alludes to a darker Supes either way.
Green Lantern/Supergirl – A New Hope
One of the most persistent Justice League rumors has been that it will introduce Green Lantern. The fever got so intense that fans even believed some generic green lights in the first trailer were a sign of the hero’s arrival. Still, it’s not hard to blame the speculation. After all, Green Lantern Corps was one of the original films announced as part of DC’s film initiative. And although there's been no movement on the project, that hasn’t stopped all sorts of casting rumors from flying, with Armie Hammer in particular fanning those flames. There’s also the fact that the original marketing for Justice League used the phrase "Unite the Seven," even though the team will only be six strong even when Superman inevitably returns.
It was recently revealed that Lanterns will appear in some form, although there's still no word on if that's a named character as part of the narrative or a brief appearance from undefined members of the group in the prologue. Leading us towards the former is the track "A New Hope". The penultimate song in the score, it could be all about Superman’s return, but there’s a compelling case that it will mark the arrival of a Green Lantern. After all, hope is largely what the Lantern Corp traffics in. Add the intergalactic connection through the Star Wars reference and it wouldn't be too surprising.
There’s also a small chance that Supergirl will arrive during the song. She’s another character that's long been rumored and is actually part of the canon thanks to a Man of Steel prequel comic. With her cousin dead, could the young hero finally emerge from the shadows as a superhero in her own right? It seems less likely than a Green Lantern appearance - especially given her success on the small screen - but the possibility for a cameo is certainly still there.
Red Hood/Deathstroke – Anti-Hero's Theme
Following "A New Hope" is a track mysteriously called "Anti-Hero’s Theme". Considering it’s the final song on the score, it likely the last new track heard in the film. And, though it could simply refer to Batman or the new, darker Superman, it might also be nodding towards a more established anti-hero.
Given the title and the lore of the DC films so far, Red Hood seems like a solid candidate for a cameo; Batman v Superman already set up his existence with Bruce mourning a Robin killed by the Joker. This is most likely Jason Todd, killed by the Clown Prince of Crime in print. Of course, he didn't stay dead for long; eventually, Todd returned as the brutal anti-hero Red Hood. Not only did he take his name from Joker’s old epithet, but he flies in the face of what Batman taught him, leading to one of the best comic runs of the 21st Century.
Another possibility, albeit the slimmest so far, is the arrival of Deathstroke. After seeming to be jettisoned from The Batman, word broke last week that a solo Deathstroke film is coming from Gareth Evans. We know Joe Manganiello has already done some prep for the villain, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to see him came in Justice League. Indeed, from there his appearance in his solo film could be established. Again, it’s not as likely as a Red Hood cameo, but the recent news makes it hard to ignore.
With more of a spotlight on Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg and the introduction of Mera and Steppenwolf, Justice League will have no shortage of heroes and villains. But if comic book movies have taught us anything, it’s that each film is a chance to add new characters from the comics. When Justice League arrives, expect it to do just that.