By Eammon Jacobs
After watching Zack Snyder’s Justice League (aka The Snyder Cut), it’s clear that it was meant to spin off into a whole heap of other solo projects in the DC Extended Universe. After the main battle is all said and done, the director uses an epilogue to fully wrap up the individual stories he’s been telling amidst the wider spectacle of the team taking on Steppenwolf and his Parademons.
From new characters and alternate timelines, Snyder wasn’t afraid to go out with a bang. Spoilers ahead, of course! (Read our Snyder Cut review to find out what we thought of the new film.)
The DCEU springboard
The epilogue's all framed by Ray Fisher’s Cyborg listening to the tape his father left for him before his sacrifice. The recording allows Victor to wholly accept his new state of existence and acknowledge that he can do so much good with his new abilities and that his choices are his own going forward. It brings Cyborg’s story full circle after living life isolated and away from the world.
From there, it neatly sets up other entries in the DCEU, including James Wan’s Aquaman - as Willem Dafoe’s Vulko and Amber Heard’s Mera visit Arthur Curry. It even teases the arrival of a new hero through Ryan Choi, one of the scientists working at S.T.A.R. Labs alongside Silas Stone. Following Silas’ self-sacrifice in the final act, Ryan gets promoted to “the director of Nanotechnology”. A throwaway line of course… Not. In the comics, Ryan Choi is the third version of The Atom in the comics (after Ray Palmer and Adam Cray) - a hero who uses Nanotechnology to shrink down to impossible sizes and go on adventures through the sub-atomic Microverse.
Legion of Doom
Fans may remember the Legion of Doom post-credits scene in the theatrical cut, where Joe Mangianello’s Deathstroke meets Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor to discuss a potential team-up of villains. This time around it’s included as part of the epilogue, only with a slight change of conversation. Instead of discussing a “league of our own”, Lex reveals a shocking revelation to Manganiello’s Slade Wilson which would’ve seemingly spun off into a certain Dark Knight’s solo film.
The Zuckerbergian villain unveils Batman’s real identity to Deathstroke - questioning whether the vicious mercenary would like some revenge, “an eye for an eye” so-to-speak. Now that Slade knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne, what would he do with that information? It would be easy for him to start dismantling his life with that kind of knowledge. It’s a shame we won’t see it come to fruition, but hey, Robert Pattinson’s Caped Crusader looks excellent in the trailer for Matt Reeves’ upcoming reboot The Batman.
However, the truly tantalising moment comes after the main story wraps up - with another trip to the Knightmare timeline that we briefly saw back in Batman v Superman. Batman, Mera, Deathstroke, The Flash, Cyborg and Joker (of all people) are surviving Mad Max-style on a future Earth where Darkseid has invaded and transformed it into a hellscape.
This rag-tag group of survivors are planning to send The Flash back in time in order to save Lois Lane - so Superman never succumbs to the Anti-Life Equation obviously. But of all the characters to make it into the future, it was bizarre that Snyder chose Jared Leto’s Joker as one of these rogue survivors…
He explained in an interview with The New York Times that he didn’t want to exit the DCEU without depicting a meeting between the Bat and the Clown. Saying, “I added it because this was going to be the last movie I make for the DCU and to have this entire cinematic universe without Batman and Joker meeting up just felt weird.”
The pair do have an incredibly tense stand-off, but call a truce so that they can mess with the timelines in an attempt to revert things back to the way things were. It’s a fascinating cliffhanger to end the film on, especially as Warner Bros. doesn’t appear interested in restarting work on Justice League 2. But never say never – the renewed love for the Snyderverse may just sway the minds of studio executives.
And finally, we have one last ending which includes the reveal of another hero waiting in the wings - no, not Ryan Choi this time, but Martian Manhunter. After Bruce awakes from his Knightmare, he steps outside and is met by the green alien (played via motion-capture by Harry Lennix) who offers his help in fighting the threats to come. It seems strange that Bruce didn’t question the name, which sounds a little sinister itself doesn’t it? This all came about because fans theorised that the Man of Steel and Batman v Superman actor was the extraterrestrial hero in hiding, keeping watch over Earth.
The new version of the film has more endings than Return of the King - but after four years of campaigning, it’s easy to see why Zack Snyder was keen to treat fans to everything he had in store for them.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be released on Sky Cinema and NOW TV in the UK on Thursday 18th March.