As more details on the Snyder Cut of Justice League surface, we now know how Steppenwolf was supposed to be defeated originally - and Zack Snyder's version is way better. Of all the changes made to Snyder's version of Justice League, it is clear that Steppenwolf's role and the finale were two areas that Warner Bros. and Joss Whedon heavily changed. Steppenwolf received even more screentime thanks to alterations made to the history lesson scene, but his defeat played out very differently from Snyder's original plan.
At the end of Justice League, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Flash, and Aquaman united to take on Steppenwolf in Russia. The battle came to a close after Superman helped turn the tide. He used his super-breath to freeze Steppenwolf's ax, assisting Wonder Woman so she could destroy it. This act put fear into Steppenwolf for the first time, which ended up being his doom. The Parademons he was leading turned on him to feast on his terror as a Boom Tube opened up to transport them away. For many, this was an underwhelming way for Steppenwolf to go down. Thanks to all the Snyder Cut teases too, we now know how Darkseid's uncle would've been defeated in Snyder's version of the film.
The details on Steppenwolf's defeat in the Snyder Cut have finally become clear over the last few days. To paint the whole picture, we must first look at a recent image posted by Jason Momoa. The photo from the Snyder Cut showed Aquaman impaling Steppenwolf through the chest using his trident and holding him up in the sky. In the background of this shot, Wonder Woman is standing in front of an open Boom Tube ready to take Steppenwolf back to Apokolips. After Momoa posted this image, Snyder took to Vero to share his own insight into what happens next and teased, "You would need a super punch to get him all the way over to Diana.”
Well, it didn't take long for fans to learn who would be delivering this super punch on Steppenwolf. Justice League artist Jay Oliva then shared a storyboard from the finale confirming that Superman was set to deliver this powerful blow. The image showed Superman using his laser vision to blast Steppenwolf while punching him directly in the face. This super punch off of Aquaman's assist would send Steppenwolf flying backward to Diana and the Boom Tube.
This is where the final piece to this equation comes into play, which is ironically the part of the Snyder Cut's finale we've known about the longest. Over the summer, Snyder shared what looks to be pre-viz of Wonder Woman killing Steppenwolf. The images showed the Amazonian leaping in the air and decapitating Steppenwolf before he entered the Boom Tube. The leap itself was featured in the marketing and theatrical cut of Justice League, but it was Steppenwolf's ax - and not his head as Snyder envisioned - that was on the receiving end of Diana's sword.
To recap, the Snyder Cut of Justice League would've seen Steppenwolf be defeated after Aquaman impaled him in the chest, leading to Superman punching him towards Diana, and ending with Wonder Woman chopping his head off. In this ending to Justice League, the heroes would've been actively involved in Steppenwolf's defeat, instead of passively watching him consumed. It's a much more satisfying conclusion in the end too, with a decapitated Steppenwolf potentially ending up at Darkseid's feet establishing the Justice League as an obvious threat to him. And with the entire Justice League team set to see Darkseid through the Boom Tube at the end of Justice League in the Snyder Cut, the tease for what else could come would surely ignite excitement within the fandom for what else Snyder had planned.