While Superman apparently met his end in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, anyone familiar with the '90s DC Comic event The Death of Superman (which partly inspired the plot), knew from the final frame he wouldn’t be dead for long. Warner Brothers hasn't made any effort in keeping his return secret either: he's appeared on the Justice League promo poster, and Henry Cavill even teased the black costume Superman wore in his 1993 resurrection (let’s hope they don’t bring back the mullet).
And if you had any other doubts, WB just announced a Man of Steel sequel is already in the works. So the big question is no longer if he's alive; rather, it's who will he fight upon his return?
It’s pretty amazing that for a total of seven films featuring Superman, Lex Luthor has appeared in all but two, and General Zod has popped up twice. Is it too much to ask for some variety? Superman has a rich rogues gallery that has scarcely been touched onscreen that we’d love to see pop up. With this in mind, our hopes are high that at least one (or more) will be featured in the follow-up. Here are 15 Villains Superman Has Never Fought In A Movie - But He Might Soon.
Ok, so we know via a host of Easter Eggs in Batman V Superman that Darkseid is going to be a major part of the DC Extended Universe. He’s one of DC’s best villains, a despotic ruler of the planet Apokolips and a tireless pursuer of the Anti-Life equation, which would give him mind control over anyone in the galaxy.
We’d be shocked if Darkseid didn’t pop up in Justice League, even if it’s a teaser at the end, saving him for the sequel (expect to see his uncle Steppenwolf and an army of Parademons before his big reveal). But just like his Marvel equivalent Thanos, why can’t he pop up in several DC films? Man of Steel 2 is the most likely, whether he’s the main villain, or simply used in a mid-credits sequence to tie into a separate film.
A brutal warlord, tactician and super-powered ruthless despot, he’s always had it in for Superman, making him the ideal opponent for a man who fights against tyranny with every breath. Their mano a mano smack fest is a dream come true for DC fanboys and lovers of big-budget brawls.
Amazo is an android that uses “absorption cell technology”, which is a fancy way of saying he can recreate other metahuman superpowers, making him a very formidable match for Superman.
Originally created by evil mad scientist Professor Ivo to aid him in his various criminal schemes, Amazo went rogue, able to adapt to any situation and to upgrade his powers and intellect accordingly. This combination of an ever-evolving machine fighting against an alien still adapting to his adopted home world is rife for storytelling ideas. Not to mention Ivo is an interesting character in and of himself, who has several other evil gadgets that could be employed along with Amazo.
One could argue Amazo is a much more appropriate bad guy for a Justice League film than the villain we’ll be seeing in Zack Snyder’s upcoming effort, so if he doesn’t show up in the Man of Steel sequel, we see a Justice League appearance in his future.
One of DC's most eerie super villains, Eclipso has a supernatural edge that would make him a pretty compelling screen presence. He is a manifestation of the wrath of God, who got the boot from heaven for being too evil, and has the capability of possessing a human host via magical black diamonds (preferably during a solar or lunar eclipse… or a shadow blocking a light source will work in a pinch. Weird stuff, huh?).
In addition to his creepy appearance, Eclipso has the power to control the weather (he was the force behind the great flood in biblical times), along with super-strength, near invulnerability, energy blasts from his hands and eyes, an indestructible sword and the ability to rapidly grow or shrink in size. He’s a formidable opponent, except for his main weakness: sunlight. No reason that can’t be modified or retconned entirely to make him a villain that’s a little harder for Superman to defeat.
12 Mr. Mxyzptlk
One of the most annoying yet powerful beings in DC comics, Mr. Mxyzptlk is an inter-dimensional imp hailing from the 5th dimension. Despite his small stature, he packs a big punch, with access to weapons with magical powers. In addition to being unbound by three-dimensional laws—he can even change the fabric of our reality.
So basically, if he can think it, he can conjure it... or destroy it. Despite these omnipotent abilities, he's primarily used for comic relief, more prone to annoy Superman than try to kill him. His only weakness is speaking his name backwards, a rather clumsy narrative device that would likely be jettisoned in a cinematic translation.
If Mr. Mxyzptlk does indeed pop up in the sequel, we suspect he’d be a bit player in a bigger scheme, or a distraction from a more malevolent threat, while perhaps injecting some humor in a film series criticized for being overly somber.
There have been so many incarnations of Bizarro that the character is quite malleable for the big-screen, with the main gist being he’s just like Superman. Well not exactly. Basically he’s a cracked mirror image of the Man of Steel.
Originally created as a failed clone of Superboy, he’s the “opposite day” of Superman: instead of having heat vision, he has freeze vision. Instead of being practically invulnerable, he dies a lot. And where Superman has is DC's Big Blue Boy Scout, Bizarro has no scruples or moral reasoning. What we think is evil, he thinks is good.
While it would be sweet to see the “bizarre world” version of the character, where he lives on a backwards planet called htrae (get it?) and speaks in broken English (“Me am Bizarro!”), that’ll probably be too weird to sell in a straightforward superhero film, so the clone aspect works best. Just make him a creepy Super-Frankenstein and sit back and enjoy the fireworks.
A DC villain who’s gone through multiple incarnations, Gog at one time worshipped Superman as a deity, even going as far as erecting a church in his honor. He becomes disillusioned after Superman downplays his spiritual assertions, and begins to view him as his foe, considering him the Anti-Christ.
Soon this mild-mannered Midwesterner becomes imbued with supernatural abilities, and decides to take action against his perceived oppressor, murdering Superman. That singular act wasn’t enough to appease his blood lust however: he used his powers for time travel to kill him over and over, each time more savagely than before.
Other versions of Gog make him more of an alien presence than a supernatural one, with the ability to use Kryptonite to grant powers to his evil accomplices. In other words, Gog has a lot of potential to be a menacing villain in Man of Steel 2, adding for some perilous and breath-taking battle sequences.
Mongul is one of the few DC villains who is actually stronger than Superman. Adding to that, he’s a conqueror, slaughtering the governments of planets and enslaving the survivors. Not to mention he rules Warworld, a planet where his slaves are subjected to gladiatorial sports.
He has access to an armada of destructive weapons, which include Quardian power rings and the Black Mercy, a plant that can rob someone of their will while lulling them into a dreamlike state (which he used against Superman in the classic story, For the Man Who Has Everything - before Superman turned the tables, that is).
Given his world-conquering tactics, Mongul is a threat to Earth and to the extraterrestrial savior hell-bent on defending it. You don’t get any superhero drama better than that for a cinematic adaptation. Plus, the galactic despot was also a member of the Suicide Squad, providing crossover potential for future sequels.
8 Manchester Black and The Elite
A British anti-hero capable of massive telekinetic and telepathic abilities, Manchester Black was a former intelligence officer for the British Secret Service MI5. After becoming disillusioned with government oversight, he forms The Elite, a rogue group of like-minded metahumans (including Vera Black, Menagerie, Coldcast, The Hat and Bunny) who kill their enemies rather than having to deal with them as repeated threats.
In the Action Comics 2001 storyline What's So Funny About Truth, Justice & the American Way?, Superman took issue with Black and his crew’s tactics, leading into a spectacular battle in outer space that went beyond mere fisticuffs, with a challenge of methodology and philosophy as well.
This would be a tricky concept to introduce into the DCEU given Superman killed General Zod (and many innocent victims as collateral damage) in Man of Steel. But that challenge could also make for a superhero movie with more on its mind than spectacle. Bonus Points: Manchester Black was also affiliated, albeit briefly, with Suicide Squad, making him an ideal future recruit.
Lobo, the "Main Man," is a beloved DC property that’s been in various stages of film development over the years, with talk of a feature film on its way in the near future. So a major appearance in Man of Steel 2 would be a prime way to introduce the character to a wide audience beforehand, while expanding the cosmic side of the DC mythos in the process.
An interstellar bounty-hunter biker anti-hero blessed with super-strength, immortality and genius level intellect is a more than worthy adversary for Supes. He’s clashed with him in the comics, but has also worked beside him at times. Given that history, we wouldn’t expect Lobo to be the primary villain. Its more likely that he would be an adversary who eventually helps Superman stop a wider threat. This would help launch a solo Lobo film in the process. Lobo’s wiseass personality is grim and gritty and comedic--a perfect blend for the DCEU, which is trying to bridge those dynamics. Win-win.
6 Superman Impersonators
Going back to that whole 90's Death of Superman storyline as fodder for a Man of Steel sequel… is that black costume tease also hinting at a Reign of The Supermen subplot as well?
That comic series dealt with several individuals who took up the Superman mantle in the aftermath of his death, several of who weren’t so heroic. I’m speaking of the unholy trio comprising The Eradicator, Superboy Prime and Cyborg Superman.
The Eradicator began life as a containment device for preserving culture across the galaxy. It gets corrupted after landing on Krypton however, being reprogrammed to preserve Kryptonian culture while erasing all others in the process. It eventually assumes humanoid form, declaring itself "the last son of Krypton," even while only possessing the power of emitting energy blasts from its hands and wearing a yellow visor. Fancy.
And then you have Superboy, a clone designed as a genetic experiment, who had most, but not all, of Superman’s powers, while also being a desperately moody teenager.
And then we have Cyborg Superman, the weirdest of the bunch: a disfigured astronaut, who fused with technology to take revenge against Superman when he was alive, and assumes his identity to do terrible things while he was dead.
Are you tired from reading all that yet? While Superman’s death and the black costume hint at the potential for a story like this, it’s probably the least enjoyable option on this list. Do we really want to go back to an evil twin-style scenario like Superman III? I didn’t think so. Let's leave this in the '90s. Please don’t do this.
5 Amanda Waller
Thanks to Suicide Squad, Amanda Waller is now one of the major players in the DCEU. And as you'll recall, she’s no fan of Superman, given she formed the group as a line of defense against meta-humans like himself, so they wouldn't tip the power scale.
This could lead to her sending the Suicide Squad to face off against him directly, or use her affiliation with an assortment of other shadowy organizations, including A.R.G.U.S. and Project Cadmus (more on that later) to remain a formidable threat. Not to mention, she has her own stash of Kryptonite on hand to use if needed.
Expect Waller to be a constant thorn in the side of Superman and The Justice League (despite her uneasy alliance with Bruce Wayne in that post-credits Suicide Squad scene). While she may not be front and center in the sequel, don’t be too surprised if she has some behind-the-scenes schemes in place.
4 Project Cadmus
Cadmus has a lot of potential for a Man of Steel sequel. A secret scientific compound that engages in genetic experiments, it’s not only responsible for the creation of the aforementioned Superboy, its potential was greatly expanded in the animated series Justice League Unlimited.
In one episode, scientist Emil Hamilton described Cadmus as "Power brokers, politicians, criminals, and black-ops mercenaries with one thing in common: they're humanity's last hope against (metahumans).” And the head powerbroker is none other than Amanda Waller herself.
The animated version of Cadmus also opened doors for other DC villains as well, with ties to Darkseid, Amazo, Lex Luthor (sigh), and Maxwell Lord. There was also another character worth mentioning: Captain Atom, a character with near-Superman-like powers, who has played both sides in the DCU. Could you imagine Captain Atom vs. Superman on film? That would be one mighty satisfying scuffle.
It’s also worth mentioning another animated series and its take on Cadmus: Young Justice, which added villains like Ra’s Al Ghul and Vandal Savage to the shadowy science projects ranks. It all adds up to a powder keg of criminal combatants to take on Superman.
One of Superman's most fearsome adversaries, the Parasite absorbs the power and knowledge of any being it touches, while weakening its host. This gives him a distinct advantage in a fight against Superman.
A former janitor who was doused in biohazard materials, he also has an element of pathos to his psychosis: tortured by never being able to hold his wife and children again. That’s a level of a nuance we haven’t seen in an onscreen Superman foe yet.
Like Mongul, the Parasite is a former member of the Suicide Squad, making him one more power player in Waller’s arsenal. So he could either be the sole threat for Man of Steel 2, or be part of a Task Force X attack to take down Superman en masse. In addition to being able to hold his own against Superman, the Parasite is also a gloriously gross villain, who could look beautifully yucky if done correctly.
One of Superman’s most notable adversaries, Metallo was rumored to appear in the original Man of Steel sequel, before Snyder changed plans to do Batman v Superman instead. This makes him an ideal super villain candidate for the actual sequel, as either the head villain, or as a henchmen for another major player (don’t say Lex Luthor. Don’t say it).
In an early incarnation, John Corben was a violent criminal turned cyborg, powered by a fragment of Kryptonite for a heart. In another, he’s a wayward soldier with a vendetta against Superman. He’s basically DC’s equivalent to Iron Man, but evil. His power source makes him a deadly threat who would force Superman to rely on his intellect and cunning instead of brute strength, which always raises the dramatic stakes, and would give Cavill a chance to step up his acting game.
Visually, Metallo's is open to lots of possibilities, our favorite former incarnation being a T-1000 type cyborg with a liquid exoskeleton able to morph his appendages into a variety of weapons.
Would you believe that Braniac has been scheduled to appear in four Superman films? He was the original bad guy in mind for Superman III, the aborted Superman Reborn, Tim Burton's aborted Superman Lives, and Bryan Singer's aborted sequel to Superman Returns.
So let's lift this curse, shall we? Braniac is one of Kal-El's greatest foes, and like him, he’s also an alien without a home, supplying a very distinct viewpoint on being outsiders from another world. He can mimic Superman's powers, has access to "twelfth level" intelligence, can project tendrils to channel electricity and flight, and has amassed some majorly destructive alien technology along the way. Plus he can hack his consciousness into any human or computer, and he has a sweet space ship too.
With such cool abilities and a long-standing feud with Superman in comics, Braniac should be the top choice for Man of Steel 2. Make it happen Warner Bros!
So that wraps up our list of villains who just might pop up in Man of Steel 2. Now it’s your turn: what Superman baddies do you think deserves a shot in the sequel? Let us know win the comments.
Suicide Squad is in theaters now; Justice League is slated for release on November 17, 2017; Justice League 2 is due on June 14, 2019.
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