JUSTICE LEAGUE Director Zack Snyder Reflects On Original DCEU Plans Before The Movie Was Released In 2017

Before Zack Snyder's Justice League arrives on HBO Max this Thursday, the filmmaker has reflected on original plans for the DC Extended Universe before Warner Bros. decided to head down a different route.

Despite Warner Bros. deciding to announce its slate of DC Films in the dullest way possible (during a shareholder's call with investors), the studio had ambitious plans back in 2014. Unfortunately, the mixed response to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice put execs into panic mode, and huge, tone-altering reshoots were ordered for both Suicide Squad and Justice League.

We all know how that went, and in the press notes for Zack Snyder's Justice League, the filmmaker reflected on the way things were shaping up for the DC Extended Universe several years ago.

"When we started off, Chris Terrio and I knew there might be other films: there was a Flash film in production with a big role for Cyborg, and the Wonder Woman movie had not come out yet," Snyder explained. "We worked with the Flash writers and I was deeply involved in the Wonder Woman storyline. Also, we were planning a 2nd and 3rd Justice League movie where we would be also able to complete the arcs we had fully fleshed out."

"The idea was to meet Cyborg, who was set to be the heart of this movie," he continues. "At the time we hadn’t come up with a Cyborg standalone, but that was our plan. So, we did the deepest dive of the movie into Cyborg’s backstory and what makes him tick."

Aside from the Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman, these big plans for the DCEU fell apart pretty quickly (we still haven't seen The Flash movie), though it's interesting to think about what might have been. The chances of a Cyborg solo outing are, without a doubt, between slim and none, though.

In the same interview, Snyder talked about some of the comics he looked to for inspiration with the "Snyder Cut," saying: "In addition to Jack Kirby's classic work on the New Gods, we looked at Grant Morrison's and Alex Ross's takes on the Justice League. I like to look at these movies like a comic book writer who’s taking a run at a character in a comic book series. A lot of times they’ll do original stuff, come up with a new twist."

Zack Snyder's Justice League is released on HBO Max this Thursday; you can read one of our reviews here. You'll also find a breakdown of the plot for Snyder's two sequels below. 


10. Justice League 2 Begins

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Following the events of Justice League, the team reassembles to deal with a natural disaster, but ultimately go their separate ways as they each have things to deal with in their personal lives. 

Remember, an earlier version of the film was set to include romance between Bruce Wayne and Lois Lane, and while that won't be part of the "Snyder Cut," it was set to heavily influence the sequel. Lois may have gone back to Superman, but she and Bruce are working together secretly to find Lex Luthor. However, the Dark Knight knows she's hiding something. 

Lex, meanwhile, is assembling a team. Tracking down Doctor Poison, Captain Cold, Orm, and Black Manta, the villain puts a group together with the aim of destroying the League.

Each of those baddies were, of course, set to be introduced in Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Aquaman respectively.
 

9. Batman Versus The Riddler

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While all this is happening, Superman struggles to return to his normal life now Clark Kent is "dead," and learns Lois is pregnant. Wonder Woman discovers a way to return to Themyscira, and Cyborg helps the Flash clear his father's name. 

Menalippe, the Amazon who warned Diana of Steppenwolf's attack helps her see a vision of her home, but Wonder Woman also sees herself becoming the God of War and killing Superman. 

Aquaman is embroiled in Atlantean conflicts as that plays out, and struggles to "Unite the Seven" following a battle with the Unseen. Batman is also pretty busy, tracking The Riddler to an abandoned cabin. He learns that Lex approached the villain and tasked him with solving the Anti-Life Equation...which he did. 

With that, he shoots himself in front of the Dark Knight. 
 

8. The Anti-Life Equation

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Lex manages to activate the Mother Boxes, and plans to take the Anti-Life Equation for himself. 

Much to his surprise, it's then that Darkseid arrives, taking the power from Lex as he had hoped both thousands of years earlier and when he sent Steppenwolf to Earth in Justice League. Superman asks Batman to protect Lois ("his world") and heads off to battel the villain. Bruce and Lois argue, and she claims he's not the father when he admits knowing she's pregnant.

Lex tells Darkseid he has the power to kill Superman, but that's not what he wants. Instead, he wishes to make the Krytonian subservient to him, and to do that, he must be broken. Luthor points Darkseid in Lois' direction, and he arrives in the Batcave. Bruce, feeling powerless and overwhelmed is frozen as Darkeid uses the Omega beam to kill Lois. 

Superman witnesses this, but is too slow, and falls under Darkseid, and the Anti-Life Equation's, control.
 

7. The Fall Of The League

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Lex's team attacks. Doctor Poison unleashes a special gas on Themyscira which kills the Amazons, including Wonder Woman (who dies in her mother's arms after returning home). Aquaman, meanwhile, is overpowered by Orm and Black Manta, and Mera only barely manages to escape. 

That explains their absence from the Knightmare timeline, and while Flash survives thanks to Cyborg's intervention, Victor Stone winds up being torn in half. 

Batman barely escapes Superman, and when the Man of Steel comes face-to-face with Lex...he burns him where he stands. 

Five years later, we're in the Knightmare timeline. What's left of the Justice League struggles to survive a world ruled over by Darkseid, and as they approach the dilapidated Wayne Manor, they need to hurry because "he's coming." 
 

6. Justice League 3

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That's how Justice League 2 concludes, but the third film opens with Green Lantern's introduction.

He arrives on this desolate Earth searching for his partner, and finds an unexpected ally in Batman (who helps shield him from the Parademons). Deadshot shows up to lend a helping hand, as does the Flash. 

The Dark Knight warns Barry to stay out of the fight because he's too valuable, but the Scarlet Speedster doesn't listen and is almost killed. Green Lantern saves him, and their iconic friendship begins. They return to Wayne Manor, Batman explaining that he has a plan to stop Darkseid.

The space faring superhero is on board, but wonders how they plan on defeating the villain...
 

5. Making Things Right

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Cyborg is building the Cosmic Treadmill, but there are a lot of complications that come with time-travel. For starters, they don't know where exactly Barry will end up, and it's something they can only try pulling off once a year (when the planets align). 

Earth's population has fallen to Darkseid, becoming his new Parademons or Superman's soldiers. That's how Deadshot lost his daughter, and it's why the team need to steal a Mother Box. That powerful weapon can power the Cosmic Treadmill, but only four 10 - 15 seconds. What can the Flash possibly tell Batman in that time? 

They all agree on "You have to stop Lex," but Bruce later pulls Barry to one side and whispers something else in his ear that will be more effective. The Scarlet Speedster is shocked. 

With that, the mission to retake a Mother Box begins. 
 

4. Superman Battles The League

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They get it, but not without attracting Superman's attention. Deadshot attempts to slow him down with a Kryptonite bullet, but is killed by the Man of Steel. 

Mera is crushed after trying to remove the water from his body, and Green Lantern proves to be no match for Superman after he uses his corrupted heat vision to blow apart the hero's ring...and him along with it! Cyborg is tossed to the Parademons and ripped apart, leaving only Batman and his Kryptonite spear left standing.

He fails to stop Superman, and is impaled by his one-time ally. 

Just before he can reach the Flash, however, the Fastest Man Alive manages to race back in time!
 

3. The Flash's Message

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The Flash arrives in the Batcave moments after Bruce's argument with Lois, telling him that she lied and he is, in fact, the baby's father. 

Lois overhears, and is this time able to tell Batman what she wanted to last time they met before Darkseid's attack: Lex has assembled a team he plans to use to target the Justice League. 

Again, Darkseid attacks, and history appears to be repeating itself. The Flash vanishes from existence, and the Caped Crusader leaps into action, saving Lois, but taking a shot from the Omega Beams. An empowered, angry Superman forces Darkseid to retreat, and races into action to stop Lex from killing his fellow heroes.

The Injustice League is defeated, but Bruce is dying, and tells Lois he wishes they could have had a life together outside the cave. He heads into battle for what may be his final mission.
 

2. The Fall Of Batman And Darkseid

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Earth has united against Darkseid. The countries of the world come together and combine their forces to stop the villain (and Lex), with Wonder Woman leading Themyscira, and Aquaman bringing the Atlanteans back into the fight. 

Even the entire Green Lantern Corps get in on the action, and the entire DC Universe (men, Amazons, Atlanteans, and even aliens) assembles to save the planet. 

There are casualties - Hippolyta dies in Diana's arms - but the League is unstoppable; Flash is now so fast, he can be in two places at once, while Cyborg takes control of the Mother Boxes and destroys them to weaken Darkseid.

Ultimately, it's Batman who sacrifices his life to put an end to the villain once and for all. 
 

1. 20 Years Later...

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Following the battle, Wonder Woman becomes the new leader of Themyscira. She negotiates peace between every country of the world, ushering a new era for the planet. 

Aquaman is crowned the rightful ruler of Atlantis, and Cyborg has evolved, becoming a God of the digital age and transforming himself to once again look human. Superman knows Bruce is the father of Lois' child, but still loves her, and wants to be a father to the boy. With that, he has a reason to be Clark again. 

There are a couple of missing pieces (what happened to Lex and the Flash?), but twenty years later, a memorial service for Batman sees Commissioner Barbara Gordon asks Lois when she plans to tell him the truth about Bruce. Surrounded by the League, she tells her son that his dad was Batman. 

The movie ends in Gotham City with the emergence of a familiar figure. Bruce and Lois' son has decided to take over the mantle to protect his father's home and legacy. Batman lives again!
 

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