Zack Snyder's vision for the unofficially titled DC Extended Universe (DCEU) was cut short with Justice League. Although the film's cast and crew repeatedly said that the blockbuster was indeed Snyder's movie, the final product proved that that sentiment was the furthest thing from the truth. Sure, Justice League still contained many of Snyder's originally shot scenes and still followed a general path that the filmmaker laid out long beforehand, but there wasn't a worthwhile pay off from all the events teased in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, such as the infamous Knightmare scene.
The Knightmare scene felt out of place for many viewers in Batman V Superman, but it was specifically used to set up the future of the DCEU, especially Ben Affleck's multi-film story arc as Batman. That changed with Justice League. And now, Warner Bros.' post-Snyder Justice League 2 is looking to take the shared DC universe in a different direction, one that strays away from Snyder's initial vision. But looking at all the evidence, we're able to piece together what Snyder's full plan was for the DCEU's Knightmare scenes.
What Was Shown In Batman V Superman
One of the many issues people had with Batman V Superman was that it spent too much time building up the DCEU. The Knightmare sequence and the subsequent Flash introduction were among the various things that the film used to lay the foundation for the then-burgeoning shared universe. In the film, after re-obtaining Lex Luthor's files from Diana Prince, Bruce Wayne opens them onto his computer and then seemingly falls asleep while they load - but it's unclear how long that next scene lasts for him. While sleeping, Bruce has a dream of a future, post-apocalyptic world in which Superman reigns supreme: the Knightmare.
In the Knightmare sequence, Batman walks out onto a desert landscape of what appears to have been Gotham Harbor. Audiences get the full extent of the situation as Batman looks out into the distance, seeing a Gotham City that has been razed to the ground. And judging by the enormous Omega symbol, as well as all the raging firepits off to the side, it's clear that Gotham - and, presumably, the world - had been terraformed into New Apokolips. All of this was meant to tease the supervillain Darkseid along with Jack Kirby's Fourth World. Throughout the rest of the sequence, Batman and his ragtag group of rebels attempt to procure Kryptonite to defeat the Man of Steel, but they are, then, betrayed by Superman loyalists, who resemble the Regime Soldiers from the Injustice: Gods Among Us video game.
After fending off several Regime Soldiers, Batman is eventually captured by the loyalists who are aided by alien Apokoliptian soldiers known as Parademons. Then, when Superman arrives, the Kryptonian kills the two other captured rebels before apparently collapsing Batman's lungs with his hand. That's when Bruce wakes up and sees... The Flash. Barry Allen delivers a message to Bruce as he's being pulled back into the time stream: "Bruce, listen to me now. It's Lois. It's Lois Lane. She's the key. Am I too soon? Ah... I'm too soon! You're right about him. You've always been right about him. Fear him. Find us, Bruce! You have to find us." Then, Bruce actually wakes up... or does he? The papers flying in the background indicate that he was really awake.
What Batman V Superman's Knightmare Scene Meant
The scene was rather jarring, especially for general audiences who've never read the comics or played the Injustice video game. But for those who have, it was a moment that not only introduced The Flash but also teased an epic story arc that would've unfolded over the course of several years and multiple films. There's a reason it became one of the movie's most talked about scenes. While the general concepts regarding the Knightmare scene and the subsequent Flash introduction were relatively easy to deduce - that The Flash travels back in time to warn Batman about a future in which Superman is evil and effectively rules the world - Zack Snyder has confirmed the suspicions as well as provided additional context.
Flash's message convinced Batman that he was right about Superman all along, but really, the message was, again, hinting at a future in which Superman had become evil under the control of Darkseid. It's believed that Lois Lane was inevitably supposed to die in Justice League or a future film, which Snyder says would've made Superman susceptible to "a certain equation," such as the Anti-Life Equation (more on this later) - an equation or formula that gives the user complete control over a sentient being, like Superman. The equation is closely associated with Darkseid and the New Gods, which means that Darkseid could've used it to turn Superman evil.
And because Superman became an overlord (after blaming Batman for Lois' death), The Flash traveled back in time (from the Knightmare timeline) to warn Bruce about fearing Superman and to essentially tell him to prevent Lois' death. After all, time isn't set in stone for The Flash. Based on various Batman V Superman dialogue (such as "She was my world" and the "God is dead") as well as Snyder's own quotes from the Vero app, it's clear that there was a grand plan in place for the DCEU; Snyder just didn't get to tell it the way he wanted - and all of that is evident in Justice League.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019