As DC contemplates the potential success of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, fans eagerly speculate what the future could hold for the Snyderverse. One of the film’s most surprising elements is the inclusion of Star Labs researcher Ryan Choi, a subatomic superhero akin to Marvel’s Ant-Man called The Atom. Although he is powerless in his restored scenes from the Snyder Cut, it is clear Snyder had major plans for the character going forward, going as far as pitching a solo film to Warner Bros.
While speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Zack Snyder discussed how Justice League’s ending would have propelled one particular Atom-sized hero to the forefront of the DCEU. Played by Zheng Kai (The Great Wall, Shadow), Ryan is in several pivotal scenes alongside Joe Morton’s Silas Stone. It’s also revealed in the epilogue he’s an expert on nanotechnology. When asked if Kai’s exciting role would have led somewhere, Snyder reveals he had planned a bright future for the fan-favorite hero: “Yeah. I had been pitching Warners to do an Atom movie with him in China, like a Chinese-cast superhero movie. That was my goal.”
His role was cut entirely in the 2017 theatrical release, making it clear Warner Bros. wasn’t keen on setting up a character they didn’t know they could pay off. Perhaps renewed interest in the character after Zack Snyder’s Justice League could make them revisit the concept, after all, the very existence of the director’s cut proves anything is possible. And while HBO Max seems like the natural destination to showcase the Atom, the box office potential of a Chinese-led superhero film set in China is exponential.
Zheng may be the first to portray the character in a film, but Ryan Choi made his live-action debut on the Arrow-verse crossover “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” Osric Chau’s Ryan was introduced without his super-powered suit during the event, but it was heavily implied he could succeed Brandon Routh’s Atom from Legends of Tomorrow. Despite the set-up, this development has yet to occur in any Arrow-verse series.
Until official word arrives, it’s overwhelmingly clear fans will continue to speculate what could come next if the studio decides to move forward with the Snyderverse. But as of right now, you can watch Zack Snyder’s Justice League and ponder the possibilities, as the four-hour opus is now available on HBO Max.