The slate of upcoming DC movies got a surprising new addition recently with the announcement that Ava DuVernay will be directing a New Gods film. Based on the God-like race of alien beings of the same name, DuVernay's movie will introduce both the cosmic side of the DC universe and presumably Darkseid, the Justice League antagonist who was once intended to be the central villain of Justice League 2. Obviously, the lackluster performance of last year's Justice League forced DC and Warner Bros to make other plans, but Darkseid now potentially appearing as part of New Gods first is really a blessing in disguise.
There will always be some curiosity for what Zack Snyder had planned for his Justice League two-parter post-Batman V Superman. There's grand ideas and themes set up in Dawn of Justice that would've been interesting to see resolved exactly as the director intended. But “interesting” doesn't always mean "good" and with the divisive reception of many of Snyder's other DC endeavors don't guarantee a well-received Darkseid depiction. Forgoing his epic origins and forcing him into a fight with Justice League right off the bat would have deprived fans of the epic story Ava DuVernay could be telling with her picture.
This Page: Darkseid's Role In New Gods and Justice League
Darkseid's Role In New Gods
In New Gods, we'll get to see Darkseid introduced as more than a standard antagonist in a setting that's very removed from what we've yet seen in a comic book movie. Created by Jack Kirby in 1971, the New Gods exist in a parallel dimension to our universe on a pair of planets called New Genesis and Apokolips. The two worlds, also known as the Fourth World, were once a singular place called Urfaust before being separate during a Ragnarok of the Old Gods. Now, they're on opposing sides of a constant cycle of war; the idyllic, tranquil New Genesis, led by the Highfather, representing prosperity while the harsh, mechanical Apokolips, ruled by Darkseid, stands for oppression and degradation.
New Gods is a rather overt analogue for anti-semitism and fascism. New Genesis is a world built on spirituality, its people drawing energy from their connection to a metaphysical energy known as The Source. The Highfather, their leader, is defined by his positive relationship to his people and his yearning to keep everyone in-tune with The Source and its energies. Darkseid is literally an oppressive dictator who rules Apokolips through a system of industrial slavery and ruthless expansion. Darkseid's mission is to eliminate all free-will in the universe, and many of the stories of the New Gods come from Darkseid's aspirations and the political rumblings of the unending conflict between Apokolips and New Genesis.
Darkseid's (Deleted) Role In Justice League
Thanks to various sources, we have a pretty complete picture of how Darkseid was going to fit into the story of the Justice League in the DCEU. Given his maniacal nature and yearning to sit on the throne of the known universe, Darkseid was going to come to Earth. There were quite a few hints and nods place building toward a big battle with Darkseid across Zack Snyder's two Justice League movies. The most obvious is the Knightmare scene – Bruce Wayne's premonition of a world laid to waste by a rogue Superman and Darkseid's biomechanical army. Cyborg was due to have another premonition in Part One, similar to the Dark Knight's, warning of a Superman turned bad. And, of course, there was Steppenwolf and the Mother Boxes, whose failure would've led directly to a Darkseid appearance at some point before a grand stand-off in Part Two, replaced instead by just a mention of Darkseid's name and the words “New Gods” before the League saves the day in the theatrical cut.
Drawing inspiration from Grant Morrison and J. G. Jones' Final Crisis series, Zack Synder had hinted in interviews that Darkseid would acquire the “anti-life equation” - a formula that removes free will – and use it on the population of Earth. The ensuing struggle to stop him from the League would end with Batman sacrificing himself, or at least it would if following the major plot-points of Final Crisis. Grandiose these ideas may be, they follow a very standard alien invasion structure that would've left little room for a Darkseid with room for growth, something untrue of the prospective New Gods.
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