Justice League's invasion flashback scene was supposed to be very different in Zack Synder's original version of the movie, including a potential face-off between Darkseid and Ares the God of War. It's been known since long before the release of Justice League that some changes would be made to Zack Snyder's original intent, despite him completing 100% of principal photography, but most people thought it was only minor tonal adjustments, but over the last year it's become more and more clear that the movie was completely overhauled, changing not just the tone, but also the story, leaving some major moments on the cutting room floor.
After the Justice League set visit in 2016, fans were teased with an epic prologue scene similar to the opening scene in The Fellowship of the Ring. A flashback scene of Steppenwolf's invasion was ultimately included in the movie, but it was quite a bit shorter than many fans had expected, setting up a much simpler origin of the Mother Boxes, but a recent discovery of set photos of a mural in the Shrine Of The Amazons, linked to a photo of a cutscene with Wonder Woman, reveals that the battle was indeed much different and more epic than what we got in the movie, including what would have been the big-screen introduction of Darkseid, the Lord of Apokolips.
Darkseid's presence in Justice League was almost totally scrubbed outside of a vague reference by Steppenwolf, so it wasn't immediately apparent just how significant of a role he was supposed to be, but as more information about the changes to Zack Synder's original version of the story have come forward, it's clear there was a lot more Darkseid removed from Justice League than anyone realized.
- This Page: What We Already Knew About Darkseid in Snyder's Justice League
- Page 2: Darkseid Was Actually Supposed to Appear in the History Lesson
What We Already Knew About Darkseid in Snyder's Justice League
This isn't the first glimpse of Darkseid we've gotten. Screen Rant released a storyboard of the missing Knightmare sequence in February 2018, revealing that the Lord of Apokolips was responsible for the hellscape future first seen in the "Knightmare" scene in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (in case the giant Omega symbol in the dried up Gotham Harbor didn't give it away).
In Justice League, the Knightmare scene would have been triggered when Cyborg plugs into the computer on the Kryptonian ship (possibly aided by the Speed Force, the Mother Box, both, or otherwise), taking him to a similar vision as Batman, this time revealing the rubble of the Hall of Justice (AKA Wayne Manor), and showing more of the alternate timeline from Cyborg's perspective. Later, when facing off against Superman, Cyborg involuntarily targets Superman and yells "it's my armor's defense system, it's stronger since the interface, I can't control it!" a lingering line from Snyder's version suggesting the reason his suit believes Superman is a threat is because he, like Batman, encountered an evil version of Superman in the alternate Knightmare future.
Unlike the Knightmare vision Batman had in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Cyborg's vision would have included Darkseid sitting on a throne, further suggesting Superman was working for him just like how Jay Oliva's Justice League War animated movie had Darkseid's master torturer, Desaad, turn Superman evil to fight Batman. It's not clear if Superman would have actually been turned in Justice League outside of the Knightmare continuity, but it surely would have presented a reason for audiences to be concerned.
This Darkseid reveal, along with rumors of another appearance at the end of the 3rd act, made many assume at the time that his role in the movie would be similar to Thanos in the first Avengers, just with an extra cameo. In effect, teasing that Steppenwolf has a scary boss and setting him up for the sequel. But now we know that he was supposed to have a much more significant on-screen role.
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