As we recently heard, Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be ending on a massive cliffhanger. The upcoming re-release basically the film (plus extras) that Snyder would have released in 2017 had a family tragedy and meddling Warner Bros. execs not taken it away from him. That means it is also just one film in a multi-film arc that Snyder had planned out in advance, hence the cliffhanger.
But what were Snyder’s plans for the follow-up films? We know he wanted to do a major Superman redemption arc and that Darkseid would be the major villain, but there’s a whole lot more leftover. And we got a glimpse of those plans over the weekend when storyboards for Justice League 2 and 3 leaked online and were then promptly taken down by WB’ legal’s team (which only proved their legitimacy).
The studio was pretty thorough in their scrubbing, but you may still be able to find the leaked images in some grimy corner of the internet. But you don’t need them as the likes of CBR and Geekosity got a good look at them and we now know what they contained.
First a disclaimer: We don’t know how Justice League will play out when it releases later this month. It may actually contain some of these plot points or set them for sequels. Sequels that WB may just greenlight if Justice League turns out to be a massive success (unlikely, but we also never thought we would see the Snyder Cut of Justice League and here we are). If that turns out to be the case, then these are straight up SPOILERS, hence why I didn’t include any details in the headline and why I am warning you now. Continue at your own risk.
The opening chapters of Justice League 2 would find the heroes had actually just managed to unite properly as a team, as well as achieving various milestones in some of their personal lives. Using the Lasso of Truth, Wonder Woman managed to “remember” the way back to Themiscyra, where she would become queen and lead the Amazons to rejoining world society. Aquaman manages to unite all seven kingdoms of the oceans. Cyborg evolves into a “modern day god of the digital age” and helps Flash – who has also freed his father from prison thanks to help from Wayne Corp lawyers – to master his powers, including the ability to be in two places at once. Although there are global tensions surrounding the potential political affiliations of the League, things look good. But not for long.
According to the storyboards, the post credit scene in the theatrical cut of Justice League – which saw Lex Luthor recruit Deathstroke – was intended as setup for Luthor creating the Legion of Doom, which would serve as a very deadly threat alongside the overarching menace of Darkseid. And I do mean deadly. Also recruiting previous DCEU villains Dr. Poison (who is still alive since WWI thanks to experimenting on herself), Black Manta, and Ocean Master, as well as Captain Cold and The Riddler (who were supposed to debut respectively in the original incarnation of The Flash and The Batman movies before all those plans changed), Lex’s Legion of Doom would go on to decimate the heroes.
The Riddler would kill himself in front of Batman after solving Darkseid’s Anti-Life Equation, driving the hero to despair as he was unable to stop the suicide. Dr. Poison would track Wonder Woman to Themiscyra, and actually kill her. Black Manta and Ocean Master would double-team against Aquaman and kill him in Atlantis. Captain Cold would also attack Flash in Central City prompting Cyborg to assist, only for the latter to be literally ripped in half. The Legion itself also wouldn’t be exempt from death. After finding and activating three Motherboxes in an attempt to control the Anti-Life Equation, Luthor would instead just inadvertently summon Darkseid and his court to Earth. And while Luthor and his League of Doom would prove useful to Darkseid for a while, the dark god would eventually have a mind-controlled Superman heat-vision Luthor to death.
There were more bombshells than just deaths though. Snyder recently revealed that one of his original ideas for Justice League which had been shot down would have been for Batman and Lois Lane to develop a romantic relationship while Superman was “dead” in that film. After the Man of Steel’s return in Justice League, things would have become difficult as Lois chose to go back to the recently resurrected Superman. However, Justice League 2 would have introduced the massive wrinkle that Batman discovers Lois is pregnant. She insists the child is Superman’s and not his, but it creates massive tension between them. Just whose child it was wouldn’t be resolved as Lois would be killed by Darkseid’s Omega Beams – prior to his death, Lex informed Darkseid that killing her was the key to breaking Superman’s will and enslaving him – which also leaves Batman heavily injured.
Justice League 3 would have seen the timeline skip ahead five years to essentially the Knightmare sequence we had previously glimpsed as Darkseid has won and now rules the Earth. This would prompt Flash to travel back in time to try to undo all the death and destruction that has happened. And it’s here that he reveals to the Batman of the past that “Lois lied to you. You’re the father.”
Flash would be successful in undoing the deaths of the heroes and they would all team up to take on the villains eventually triumphing. However, during the battle, in a scene that played out in the previous timeline when Darkseid killed Lois, Batman would now instead be prompted to dive into the path of the Omega Beam, killing himself but saving Lois, the mother of his child. In the aftermath, a restored Superman would admit that he always knew that it had been Batman’s child, and vows to raise him for his fallen friend.
The final chapter of Justice League 3 would then cut ahead 20 years to reveal Commission Barbara Gordon and some of the heroes at a Batman memorial. This includes Lois and her son. And it’s here that she finally reveals to him who his biological father was. She leads her son to the Batcave for the first time, with the film ending with the obvious hint that he would become the new Batman of the future.
Those are some really crazy plans. And while I think they could have made for some spectacular moments on-screen, it is very, VERY grim. Which I guess is the appeal of Snyder and his nihilistic vision of the DCEU. Also, Batman and Lois having a baby together? Huh?! That’s completely out of left field!
I also can’t help but point out the parallels with Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, right down to the time travel plot to undo a whole lot of death. Who came up with the idea first would have been irrelevant as the respective fanboys would undoubtedly all have a go at the other side for plagiarism. And if WB were to somehow actually allow Snyder to make additional movies after Justice League (let him do it in animated form, I say) then this similarity of stories may force them to change things. Or not. This entire saga has already defied logic and reason, so I’m done predicting things. All I want to do for now is just watch Justice League when it debuts on HBO Max and select outlets on 18 March and hopefully get a better movie than we got four years ago.