In building the DCEU, Zack Snyder planted teases and Easter eggs for many DC characters throughout the franchise, including in his cut of the 2017 movie Justice League. Snyder departed the superhero ensemble in the aftermath of a family tragedy, with Justice League undergoing significant reshoots. In the nearly two years since the film's release, the campaign for the Snyder Cut of Justice League is not only continuing with no end in sight, but the demand for it is growing even among those critical of Snyder's DC films. Additionally, the Snyder Cut is seeing an increasing amount of media attention, with the cast and crew speaking much more openly about it in recent days.
Snyder himself has heavily teased his version of Justice League on social media with still images and storyboards demonstrating just how different it is from the theatrical cut, along with revealing many of the DC characters who were removed entirely from the film. However, when looking back on Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it is evident that Snyder sprinkled in allusions to other heroes and villains in every DC movie he was involved with.
To be sure, some references, such as Alfred's "Phantasm" line in Batman v Superman, are likely meant to serve as a nod to elements of DC lore without necessarily laying the seeds for future character appearances (however much fans would love a live-action Mask of the Phantasm). By the same token, characters such as Tomar-Re and Kilowog have circled the wagon of characters speculated to appear in Snyder's cut of Justice League, but all signs say they were cut long before Snyder even left the project.
Nevertheless, we can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that there are numerous unseen DC characters confirmed to exist in Snyder's DCEU, either through some reference made to them by Man of Steel or Batman v Superman, or by their confirmed appearances in the Justice League Snyder Cut that were subsequently deleted from the theatrical version. Between the two, there are quite a few DC characters who have yet to make their debut in the franchise on-screen. Here are the DC characters confirmed, but not seen, in Zack Snyder's DCEU.
Lex Luthor ominously intoning “He’s hungry, he’s found us, and he’s coming!” at the end of Batman v Superman seemed to point directly to Darkseid (if the giant Omega symbol in the Knightmare wasn't on-the-nose enough) as the major impending threat in Justice League. While the theatrical version would only a make a vague reference to him, Darkseid was set to play a fairly significant role in Zack Snyder’s version of the film.
Though Steppenwolf was still the primary villain, Darkseid would have maintained a looming presence throughout Justice League, along with appearing in the history lesson as his pre-god form, Uxas, where he was to go head-to-head with Ares, the God of War. Zack Snyder has released numerous images of Darkseid on social media, while the character was portrayed by Ray Porter in his cut of the film.
The master of torture on Apokolips, not much has been revealed thus far about Desaad’s role in the Snyder Cut. However, the presence of Desaad in the original version of Justice League (revealed to be played by Peter Guinness) was initially confirmed when a fan reached out to Snyder on Vero to inquire about the line heard in the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con trailer, “No protectors here. No Lanterns. No Kryptonian. This world will fall, like all the others.” Snyder responded that the line was being spoken by Steppenwolf to Desaad in his version of the movie.
The other famed billionaire superhero in the DC Universe, Oliver Queen adopts his own skillset and arsenal of weaponry to protect Star City as Green Arrow. The character would gain popularity with his supporting role on the long-running series Smallville, where he was portrayed by Justin Hartley before becoming more widely known with Arrow and its various adjacent series on the CW's Arrowverse, where he's played by Stephen Amell. Marketing materials for Batman v Superman, depicting a fictional interview with Lex Luthor for Wired, also confirm Green Arrow's existence in Zack Snyder's DCEU, with a graph showing Queen Industries alongside other major corporations, such as Wayne Enterprises and LexCorp.
The Dark Knight's most famed apprentice, Dick Grayson's role in Zack Snyder's DCEU is in somewhat of a grey area, as there's nothing to directly indicate that he was set to make a physical appearance in the franchise. However, Snyder's intent to weave Grayson into the story of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice can be found in set photos featuring a tombstone bearing the former Robin's name. Though this was ultimately not seen in the finished film, it signals that Snyder had originally intended for Dick, rather than Jason Todd, to be Batman's fallen Robin, a plan which Snyder himself would offer further indications of on social media.
Well-known as the young female Robin in Frank Miller's graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns (which partially served as the basis for Batman v Superman), Carrie Kelly's presence in the DCEU sits in a similar grey area as that of Dick Grayson. Nevertheless, her place in the DCEU, whatever it was, ties directly into Snyder's prior plans for the first Robin. When asked on Vero if he planned for Dick Grayson to remain dead or be brought back at some point, Snyder matter-of-factly stated "stay dead...till Carrie", confirming that Carrie Kelly was at least on the cards in the early planning stages of the DCEU. Maybe Ben Affleck had plans to bring her into his Batman movie somehow.
The presence of J'onn J'onzz aka Martian Manhunter in the DCEU is among the biggest bombs Zack Snyder has dropped, for the sheer fact that the character had been right under the noses of audiences in the form of General Swanwick. Played by Harry Lennix in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, Snyder revealed the General's true identity with a Justice League storyboard released on social media, which would have seen J'onzz console a grieving Lois Lane by taking the form of Martha Kent, before shifting into his natural Martian form, and then back into Swanwick. While the full extent of Martian Manhunter's role in Justice League is not yet known, there are also plenty of breadcrumbs left by Snyder hinting at Swanwick's hidden Martian origins before his secret was to be revealed.
One of General Swanwick's military subordinates, Major Carrie Farris appears alongside him in Man of Steel, and again when the General has become Secretary of Defense in Batman v Superman, played by Christina Wren. The character is known in DC comics by the name of Carol Ferris and was referred to as such in her previous appearance in 2011's Green Lantern, where she was played by Blake Lively.
In the comics, Ferris eventually goes on to become a Star Sapphire, with the ability to wield the power of love and create similar energy constructs as the Green Lantern Corps. Ferris is also known as the girlfriend of the Green Lantern Hal Jordan, and her presence in Snyder's DCEU as Carrie Farris clearly alludes to her identity as Star Sapphire, along with planting the seeds for Jordan to join the Justice League at some point.
The well-known love interest of Barry Allen, Iris West is completely absent from the theatrical cut of Justice League, and little is currently known about the full extent of her original role in the Snyder Cut, in which she was played by Kiersey Clemons. However, one aspect of her appearance in Zack Snyder’s version of the film that is currently known involved a scene of Barry rescuing her from major car crash.
This scene was partially featured in the Comic-Con trailer, with Barry putting his index finger through a window in slow motion, while an unfinished version of the Justice League scene itself later leaked online.
Of the core heroes making up the Justice League, Cyborg’s story was by far the most impacted by the reshoots. Snyder had previously described Victor Stone as the “heart” of the film, and it is now known that he played an instrumental role in the League’s battle against the forces of Apokolips. Among the elements of Cyborg’s story removed from the theatrical version of Justice League was his mother Elinore Stone, played by Karen Bryson.
While the full scope of her role in the Snyder Cut can’t be determined just yet, it is known that she would have been seen cheering for son from the bleachers during Victor’s days as a football player. Additionally, the climax of Justice League would have seen the Mother Box tempting Victor with a mirage of her, Silas Stone (who had died earlier in Snyder’s version), and Victor’s restored body when Cyborg enters the Mother Boxes to prevent the Unity.
The marketing for Batman v Superman would open up Snyder's DCEU to take a deep dive into the wider DC canon in a significant way. The aforementioned chart of major corporations in the DCEU seen in Lex Luthor's mock interview with Wired wouldn't just serve to set up Green Arrow’s presence through a graphic of Queen Industries, but a number of other DC characters as well. Specifically, it would also confirm the existence of Ted Kord in the DCEU with Kord Industries being included on the chart. This would prove to be another Easter egg for a DC hero, with Kord being known in DC Comics for adopting the mantle of the tech-enhanced superhero known as the Blue Beetle.
The graph charting large corporations within the DCEU wouldn’t end with setting up Green Arrow and Blue Beetle as existing within the wider universe. The chart also features a spot for Stagg Industries, which effectively establishes the character of Metamorpho within the DCEU.
In the comics, Rex Mason becomes Metamorpho after being hired by Simon Stagg of Stagg Industries to locate the Egyptian Orb of Ra. Mason’s subsequent retrieval of the Orb sees him gain the power to transform his body into different elements, earning him the nickname of “The Elemental Man”. Like Blue Beetle, there's no current evidence to suggest that Metamorpho had a physical appearance planned in the DCEU's immediate future at the time, but Stagg Industries nonetheless would provide a foundation that such an appearance could have been built from.
Ryan Choi (The Atom)
Another of the many characters deleted from Snyder's version of Justice League, Ryan Choi is among the men to take on the shrinking tech of The Atom in the DC Universe. Zack Snyder would confirm that character's appearance in his cut of the film when asked to identify an Asian man standing next to Silas Stone in a still from a scene deleted from the theatrical version, with Snyder identifying the character as Ryan Choi. Though his appearance in the Snyder Cut was likely a cameo, it would nonetheless have set up the possibility of future appearances for Ryan Choi, seemingly played by Ryan Zheng, in the DCEU.
Kal-El's famed Kryptonian cousin, the presence of Kara Zor-El aka Supergirl in the DCEU would first be established in the Man of Steel prequel comic. Kal-El's later discovery of the Kryptonian scout ship in the film itself would also lead to speculation that she had been the occupant of an open pod he discovers aboard the ship. Snyder himself would tease that this may have been bigger than just Supergirl, stating simply that it was "something more", while also cryptically alluding to her presence in the DCEU with the words "there's another way to get her that we put right in plain sight." While it remains open to speculation about what Snyder had planned for Kara, her presence in his conception of the DCEU can be taken to the bank.
Hawkman And Hawkgirl
Like Supergirl, the presence of Hawkman and Hawkgirl in the DCEU was set up in the Man of Steel prequel comic with its allusion to their home planet of Thanagar. Specifically, the comic mentions the people of the planet Thanagar being regarded as barbaric by Kryptonians. While building a cinematic origin for Hawkman or Hawkgirl is itself a tricky prospect, given the notable variations their origins have seen in the DC Universe, it does clearly point to Snyder setting up them and their fellow Thanagarians as inhabiting the DCEU alongside the Man of Steel.
Furthermore, Hawkman is seemingly being carried over in some capacity, with the character being featured prominently in the DC Films logo that plays ahead of DCEU films, along with Hawkman reportedly being included in the script for Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam solo film.
Another character whose existence in the DCEU would be established with a blink-and-you'll-miss-it Easter egg, Booster Gold would be set up during Superman's climactic battle with General Zod in Man of Steel. Specifically, with a neon sign for Blaze Comics, a fictional comic book company that publishes Booster Gold comics within the DC Universe. It wouldn't be the only tease of another DC superhero seen during Superman's showdown with General Zod, with a Wayne Enterprises satellite being visible when the two briefly battle in space that would presage the Dark Knight's appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. However, with the brief allusion to Booster Gold in Man of Steel, he, too, can be added to the list of unseen DC heroes in Snyder's DCEU.
As with anything relating to the Snyder Cut, there's still plenty that's left to be discovered, including the entire roster of characters excised from the movie. The push for Zack Snyder's version of the film is rapidly gaining more public attention and support, and the amount of unseen characters from the movie doubtlessly has a lot to do with that (along with the sheer amount of footage that remains to be seen.) However, when looking at Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and the Justice League Snyder Cut collectively, the number of DC characters that inhabit the DCEU without ever making an on-screen appearance is astonishing.
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