Director Zack Snyder has confirmed that the version of Steppenwolf glimpsed in a Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice deleted scene was completely scrapped and redesigned for Justice League. The alien villain from the planet of Apokolips originally had a more demonic and animalistic appearance, but when it came time for him to be the main villain in Justice League, he looked more like a regular guy wearing a horned helmet.
Justice League has been carefully dissected by fans since its release in 2017 to try and figure out how much of what ended up on the big screen was part of Snyder's original vision. Snyder left the project at the end of principal photography and was replaced by The Avengers director Joss Whedon. The movie was heavily reshot and the plot was trimmed down to make it simpler and more streamlined.
One of the many widely criticized aspects of Justice League was the design of Steppenwolf. Not only was the villain's CGI appearance underwhelming, many people questioned why Steppenwolf needed to be CGI at all, given that the effect could probably have been better achieved by putting an actor in costume and prosthetics. A fan reached out to Snyder on the social media platform Vero to ask if the original and less human design for Steppenwolf was ever part of Justice League, and the director responded that "sadly" the design had only ever been used for Batman V Superman.
The original design for Steppenwolf is only seen in a deleted scene, dubbed "Communion," in which Lex Luthor is shown communicating with the Apokoliptian via the same Kryptonian birthing matrix that was used to create Doomsday. The scene was originally going to be a post-credits stinger for Batman V Superman, but Snyder ultimately decided not to include it because he felt that post-credits scenes were more of a Marvel thing. The scene is included in the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition, though, with Luthor shown communing with Steppenwolf just before he's arrested by a SWAT team. It's hard to tell from this brief scene whether the original design for Steppenwolf would have worked for a whole movie, but based on his reply on Vero it seems as though Snyder was fond of the design.
Following the lukewarm fan reception and box office of Justice League there are no current plans to make Justice League 2, so we've likely seen the last of the second version of Steppenwolf as well. It's possible that we'll see a different take on Steppenwolf in Ava DuVernay's upcoming DC movie New Gods, which will focus on the conflict between the twin planets of New Genesis and Apokolips. Who knows - perhaps the creepy demonic design of the character that was abandoned after Batman V Superman will get a revival.
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