Warning: FULL SPOILERS ahead for Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
Now that all four hours of Zack Snyder’s Justice League are available to stream on HBO Max, fans can finally see the full breadth of Snyder’s vision for the DCEU and the Justice League members. Not just because the film is overflowing with extended action scenes, previously omitted origins stories, and whole characters who never made it into 2017’s theatrical version, but also due to the various things the film set up, via a handful of cliffhangers, for later.
After Steppenwolf and his Parademon forces are thwarted, and Steppenwolf himself is sent packing (in multiple pieces), Justice League’s “Epilogue” chapter wraps up the rest of the story, following each character in the aftermath of the epic adventure. And in doing so, it plants the seeds for stories that, at this point, we’ll most likely never get to see, with both DC Films President Walter Hamada and Snyder himself recently quoted as saying there were no current plans to continue more of Snyder’s path for the DCEU.
Let’s take a look at a few of the sequels that Zack Snyder’s Justice League lays the groundwork for. Sequels which, as of now at least, seem lost to the Knightmare sands of time. Of course, who knows what might happen one day…
Justice League 2:
It’s Manhunter Time
The most obvious follow-up to Zack Snyder’s Justice League would be a straight sequel – whether it’s a Justice League vs. Legion of Doom story, the second part of Snyder’s planned “New Gods” trilogy, a mixture of both, or something else entirely.
Both the Snyder Cut Epilogue and the theatrical version showed us Bruce Wayne planning a Justice League base of operations within the abandoned Wayne Manor (soon to be the Hall of Justice?) with a table large enough to accommodate more members if their ranks grew.
Then, in the final scene of the Snyder Cut, Martian Manhunter (who we learned was Harry Lennix’s General Swanwick from the previous Snyder DCEU films all along) reveals, and introduces, himself to Bruce Wayne, setting himself up as an ally and/or future member of the team.
There would have been more Darkseid in Justice League 2, presumably, continuing the overarching threat for the series. Meanwhile, it doesn’t seem likely Jesse Eisenberg came back to do a reshoot for Joss Whedon, in order to record the single Lex Luthor line that sets up the Justice League vs. Luthor’s new cabal of criminals in the theatrical version, which would mean Snyder probably shot Eisenberg reading two different lines as potential teases (more on that below). The JL vs. LoD tease that appeared in the 2017 film is not a part of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, replaced by a tease for…
Batman v Deathstroke
As noted above, the Lex Luthor/Deathstroke scene in the theatrical release teased the formation of the Legion of Doom. In Snyder’s new version, an alternate line is used where Luthor intrigues and woos Deathstroke by telling him the name of Batman’s secret identity.
This was done specifically to set up a Batman solo film, which would have starred Ben Affleck — first with Affleck directing, then with Matt Reeves taking over while Affleck was still going to star — where Deathstroke was the main antagonist.
The secret identity reveal line was never used when Justice League hit theaters and the solo The Batman film was eventually totally reworked after Affleck exited the project so that it focused on a much younger Batman, with Reeves still directing but Robert Pattinson now in the starring role. Deathstroke was also no longer a part of this incarnation of the film, which opens next year.
So far, there are no specific plans to use Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke in the DCEU’s future. But we’ll have to see. Manganiello — who at various points was potentially playing Deathstroke in The Batman, a Deathstroke solo film, and an early incarnation of a Suicide Squad sequel — recently mentioned his hopes of returning to the role beyond the Snyder Cut, telling the Happy Sad Confused podcast, “It’s not over, currently. There are little irons that are in the fire.” And the Snyder Cut’s release reminds us that anything is possible.
Knightmare Midnight Run with Joker
The most buzzed about Epilogue segment is the follow-up to Batman v Superman’s “Knightmare” dream, which showcases a ravaged future Earth, conquered by Darkseid and patrolled by an evil Superman. This is the one new sequence Snyder brought back cast members to shoot new footage for last year.
This time around, Bruce’s dream includes an assortment of surviving heroes and villains who now work together in the wake of the world’s devastation. Batman leads Deathstroke, Mera, Flash, Cyborg, and… Joker.
We see Joker (once more played by Jared Leto, following his introduction as the character in Suicide Squad) already earning his keep as the gang’s antagonizing “wild card,” poking at Bruce about Robin’s murder — which Joker committed, as far as we know — and making everyone question if including Joker in their plans was the brightest idea.
This definitely sets up a Batman/Joker apocalyptic (or Apokoliptic) road movie, or team up, of sorts as this type of uneasy alliance is too good an opportunity to pass up. It’s the juiciest prospect from the last minutes of the Snyder Cut.
The Atom Rises
Also a part of the ending to Zack Snyder’s Justice League is the official naming of Silas Stone’s scientist co-worker, who helped construct the laser used to heat the Mother Box. This character was referenced but never seen in the theatrical version of the film.
Portrayed by Zheng Ka, the character, Ryan Choi, is also known to DC Comics fans as The Atom (and is the third character to be The Atom, after Al Pratt and Ray Palmer). Arrowverse fans have also met a different version of Ryan Choi in the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, played by Osric Chau.
With Silas Stone having sacrificed himself, Choi is primed to be top dog at S.T.A.R. Labs and his placement at the end of the movie signaled that big Atom things were on the horizon. Atom could have also been folded into the Justice League team going forward but since he was kept separate from all the team members throughout the Snyder Cut, a solo adventure also seemed possible.