If there’s one thing that every comic book fan knows, it’s that every superhero group has to have an awesome headquarters. The Avengers have the Avengers Mansion, the Legends have the Waverider, and most importantly, the Justice League members have the Watchtower.
The Watchtower was introduced in the comics over two decades ago in 1997 and has appeared in different animated series since then, including Young Justice and Justice League Unlimited. There have been various watchtowers, from ones orbiting in space to different bases located on the ground. It serves as the team’s sanctuary, outpost, training area, personal quarters, armory, and more.
There has been a lot of speculation as to whether or not the iconic Watchtower will appear in the Justice League film. Jason Momoa did tease the appearance of the League’s base of operations on Instagram. He wrote “Watchtower” in the caption section of a video of him working out. However, it seems more likely that the Batcave will serve as the base of operations for the first film, with the Watchtower possibly appearing in the Justice League sequel.
In case that happens, here are the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Justice League's Watchtower to help fans properly prepare.
15 It was destroyed by Superboy-Prime
The first Watchtower that was created was eventually destroyed. Superhero-turned-supervillain Superboy-Prime eradicated the headquarters in JLA #120.
Superboy-Prime grows unhinged after his world is destroyed and wishes to return to the life he once had. However, his anger often gets the best of him in most situations, which can be seen when he decides to create the perfect Earth. During his quest, Superboy-Prime attacks and abducts Martian Manhunter, destroying the Watchtower in the process.
After the Watchtower is destroyed, he flies to Smallville and attacks that reality’s Superboy. He then goes on to kill several heroes, as well as villains.
Superboy-Prime is considered one of the most powerful DC villains. Anyone who can completely destroy the Justice League’s headquarters and kill multiple superheros deserves some recognition.
14 Prometheus once took control of it
The Watchtower has been taken over and destroyed by quite a few villains, including their adversary Prometheus.
In one instance, he pretended to be Retro, a normal civilian who had won a contest to become a member of the Justice League for a day. He almost completely took down the league after he stopped Martian Manhunter’s powers, hypnotized Huntress, attacked Green Lantern, and more. The Watchtower was filled with civilians that had been invited for a tour, so it was easy for Prometheus to get in and take control. He demanded Superman’s life for the lives of the hostages.
Of course, his plan didn’t work out. Weirdly enough, Catwoman was on the Watchtower disguised as Cat Grant (so she could steal things), and she was thus able to take him down with her whip. He was unable to regain control after that.
13 There have been three different Watchtowers
After Superboy-Prime destroyed the original Watchtower on the moon, Bruce Wayne financed the building of a satellite Watchtower. This era of the Justice League has been referred to as the “Satellite League.” Unfortunately, it wasn’t a very secure base, as villains like Dr. Light were able to infiltrate it. It was ultimately destroyed when Red Tornado self-destructed after being hijacked.
The third Watchtower and second satellite was designed by Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, though it was, of course, financed by Batman. This one also orbited in space like a satellite. Unlike the original headquarters, though, the third tower possessed a weapon system to help fight off potential threats.
However, the third Watchtower was still damaged by the Sinestro Corps, but it wasn’t destroyed. The third time's the charm.
12 It was financed by Bruce Wayne
Bruce Wayne seems to be able to afford anything he wants. From buying the coolest gadgets to use as Batman to throwing lavish parties for Gotham, he’s constantly spending his cash.
Ever wondered how the Justice League pays for all of their equipment? The Dark Knight has always been the person financing the team. Wayne pays for most of the team’s supplies, from their gadgets to their vehicles.
He also payed for the team’s Watchtower. When asked about whether his shareholders know about it in Justice League Unlimited, Wayne said that it was just a blip in their budget and thus no one would notice.
In fact, he financed not just one tower, but two, after the original was destroyed. With his connections to the best technology at Wayne Enterprises, as well as his ridiculous income, it’s a wonder that no one has connected the billionaire with his masked alter ego.
11 It debuted in JLA #4 (April 1997)
Although it seems like the Watchtower has always been a staple part of the Justice League, it has only existed for about 20 years. The headquarters first appeared in JLA #4 in the year 1997, while Grant Morrison was writing the comics.
The Watchtower is uniquely designed with a combination of advanced Martian, Thanagarian, Kryptonian, and Earthian technologies. It was composed of promethium, a special metal alloy. During this time, the headquarters was located on the moon.
The specific areas of where the Watchtower has been located were shown in JLA #16 after villain Prometheus made his debut and downloaded the blueprints. The first tower had an aquarium, armory, a promenade for ceremonies, and more. Eventually, this base was destroyed, putting an end to the Watchtower’s location on the moon.
10 Alien flora is its source of oxygen
The Watchtower was constructed using a combination of many different advanced alien technologies. However, not only was the Watchtower made of alien materials, but it also uses alien flora as a way to generate oxygen.
The tower has a diverse collection of rooms in it, including a specific hydroponics area that holds alien plants. The flora has a more efficient photosynthesis that Earth plants, making them an efficient and renewable source of oxygen.
Bruce Wayne certainly has a lot of money to use for the league, but he certainly doesn’t have unlimited funds. Using plants saves money and is a unique, advanced way of making the Watchtower a livable environment. Hopefully Poison Ivy doesn’t get word that her enemies have an entire room made of plants in their headquarters...
9 There is a trophy room with memorabilia of the League's past
In addition to the eccentric collection of rooms in the Watchtower, the league has an entire room dedicated to trophies of their past. In fact, it is considered the heart of their headquarters.
The room is full of everything from sculptures of past heroes to weapons that they have used. Green Arrow’s trick arrows reside in the room, as well as the armor of Booster Gold. It also houses the weapons of past villains and various alien technologies.
A few years ago, DC released a series of Justice League of America Trophy Room replicas. Fans could purchase items like Batman’s Bat Cuffs, Superman’s cape, the Joker Cane, and the Bat Signal. Those items are only the tip of the iceberg-- imagine what else they have in there.
8 There is an aquarium for Aquaman and alien marine life
Many core members of the league have their own living quarters on the Watchtower, including Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, and of course, Aquaman is no exception.
While he can breathe fine on land, in certain continuities if he goes to long without water he will begin to grow weaker. In more recent storylines, he just becomes dehydrated quicker than normal humans. Regardless, it’s nice for the King of Atlantis to have a piece of his home life on the Watchtower. There is an entire aquarium in the tower that serves as his private quarters.
The aquarium also serves as an area that houses alien marine life. Why exactly the Justice League would need to keep marine life from other worlds on the Watchtower is unclear, but they have the aquarium just in case the need arises.
7 Wonder Woman has her own Greek-themed quarters
Wonder Woman has had conflicting origin stories in recent years. Originally, when created by William Moulton Marston, she was from a world strictly without men-- this included Gods such as Zeus.
However, in the New 52 comics, her origin was reset. This was further changed in the film Wonder Woman, when it was revealed that Diana might be the daughter of Zeus, which would mean that she was not sculpted out of clay. If so, she would be related to heroes like Hercules and Artemis. Her costume even features an eagle, which is a symbol associated with Zeus. If it’s true, then she would be a Greek demigoddess.
In honor of her roots, she chose to have her own Greek-themed quarters in the Watchtower. It makes sense that her room represents these strong ties to Greek mythology.
6 Members get to the Watchtower by teleportation
Not just anyone can appear at the Watchtower, especially considering that it’s located in space. To get to the headquarters, members use teleportation tubes that were created from Martian technology.
The teleportation tubes are located in the Hall of Justice, the Justice League’s public headquarters on Earth. They can also use the teleporters in the Watchtower to transport them from anywhere on the planet back to their headquarters.
Supposedly, there are also teleporters located in some of the member’s homes. While the league can certainly hold their own in a fight, it does seem like all of these teleporters are asking for a security disaster. It would appear that villains might be able to break into the Watchtower fairly easily. Not only this, but the teleporters have been known to place the heroes in the wrong location.
5 It's never appeared in live-action film
While the Watchtower is a significant aspect of the Justice League, it was never appeared in a live-action film. It has, however, been in countless comics, animated movies, videos games, and television shows.
The satellite appeared in Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and Young Justice. The Watchtower also made a brief appearance in Batman Beyond. The movies Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths and Justice League Doom each featured the Watchtowers as well. Even the video game Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe shows a Watchtower-like space station.
It did make somewhat of an appearance on the show Smallville, but the DCEU could be the first to actually show the Watchtower in a live-action film. Fans are dying to see the league’s headquarters come to life on the big screen, especially after Jason Momoa’s Instagram tease.
4 Martian Manhunter is the often its keeper
The heart of the Watchtower is called the “Monitor Womb.” It houses the team’s computer network and detects emergencies. Martian Manhunter is usually the member who monitors this area because of his telepathic abilities, although Batman is there quite a bit as well.
After the league expanded, Martian Manhunter became the team’s coordinator. Most of the technology in the tower is Martian-made, so it makes sense for Martian Manhunter to be the one who works with it the most. After monitoring a situation, he would hand out assignments to different heroes.
However, he would be extremely isolated there. At one point, he spent so much time alone in the tower that Wonder Woman had to encourage him to take a leave of absence and learn to live among humans.
3 It was destroyed by Deathstroke in Injustice: Gods Among Us
In the game Injustice, Deathstroke acts like one of the good guys. It takes place in an alternate timeline, where Superman is evil and unlikely villians and heroes team up to take him down.
Deathstroke works with Cyborg to infiltrate the Watchtower. They plant traps for people on Superman’s side, such as the Flash. The Watchtower is a key to Superman’s source power and his tyrannical regime.
In order to stop Superman, Deathstroke overrides the core reactor and sets it to explode. However, their mission is to rescue Batman, but Deathstroke insists that this has to be done.
Of course, the Watchtower explodes, adding to the numerous times that the League’s headquarters have been taken down. This time, however, the good guys were the ones blowing it up.
2 It has holding cells that dampen superpowers
Every superhero headquarters needs a place to put captured supervillians. Obviously, with its many known escapes, places like Arkham Asylum are not the best option. Adding to the odd collection of rooms in the Watchtower, there are also special holding cells designed to dampen superpowers and imprison villains.
Because of the crazy metahumans that the Justice League has to deal with, they need to have specially designed ways in which to keep villains from using their powers. The cells are backed with a force field that dampens such powers-- it is similar to the ones that The Flash team use in S.T.A.R. labs.
Even the most mastered escape artists haven’t been able to escape from these cells. However, this isn't without some exceptions-- the Key, a villain who uses drugs to enhance his intelligence, was unable to figure out how to get out.
1 It was referenced in Smallville
Although the Watchtower has never officially been shown in live-action, there has been a version of it and references to it on Smallville.
In season six, the characters go on a mission to destroy a research facility owned by Lex Luthor. The mission is given the codename “Watchtower.” Then, in season eight, there’s a clock tower building in Metropolis that would have been Jimmy Olson’s wedding gift to Chloe. After his death, Chloe tells Clark that she wants to use it as a “watchtower” for the Justice League.
In later seasons, the tower becomes the official base for the League. In the Smallville version, the technology-equipped tower is funded by Oliver Queen. By the final season, a space station is mentioned, alluding to the orbiting one that exists in the comics.
Can you think of any other interesting facts about the Justice League's Watchtower? Sound off in the comments!