With the promotional machine warming up for this fall’s Justice League, one character has been conspicuous in his absence so far. Where, exactly, is the Man of Steel in the middle of the next chapter of the DC Extended Universe?
The answer is very obvious if you had watched the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Yeah, Clark Kent is dead and people buried him in his homeland. Superman sacrificed himself to defeat Kryptonian monster Doomsday. Superman’s death is important for the rest of the DCEU film. His death even being re-emphasized at the start of the Suicide Squad, which showed some of the impact his passing had on the world. So, in light of that, it only makes sense that he wouldn’t take part in Justice League.
Why would a dead man be in a superhero team?
Except, of course, he’s not really dead. Again, in the final pre-credit scene of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there is vibrating earth on top of his grave. It may be a calling back to Superman using his powers in 2013’s Man of Steel. Comic book fans know that the mythology has it that Superman only seems to be dead after stopping Doomsday. Instead, he comes back, stronger than ever following a period of, essentially, super-hibernation to recover from his injuries. Yet, look at the latest promotional image for the movie, released in advance of its first trailer.
Again, where is Superman?
There are some possibilities to explain his absence in the league. Firstly, that Warner Bros. and DC intend to keep him dead throughout the entirety of Justice League. They might be leaving his resurrection until a later date. That’s definitely a possibility. Actor Henry Cavill has teased his return on social media, and plans for Man of Steel 2 are far from being firm at this point. It seems that there will be a more appropriate movie on the announced DC slate to bring him back in.
This is the second possibility. Maybe his return is being held back for some reason. Surely audiences, including me are expecting it. However, it ended on a shot of the character bursting out of his own coffin, saying, “See ya soon!” But it’s possible that there’s a twist in the tale about how he’ll return. In “mainstream” comic book mythology, the biggest side effect of Superman’s “death” was that he returned with a mullet.
But there’s another comic book story-line, and indeed, another comic book reality, that could factor into cinematic plans.
DC’s 2012 series Earth 2 started with a bang. The first issue killed off Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman as they dealt with an invasion of their parallel, alternate universe Earth by Darkseid. This creature is the character who’s rumored to be the big bad of DC’s movie universe. Just over a year later, Superman showed up again in the series. He seemingly brought back to life but serving as a brainwashed slave to Darkseid himself. (It would later be revealed that it wasn’t actually Superman, but a clone, because comics). If Darkseid is behind the trouble in Justice League, then it’s not impossible that the movie might bring Superman back as a mind-controlled evil drone. If that really happen, it gives the other five heroes in the league a threat worth teaming up against.
Fans are still Waiting for the 6th Heroes
Not that audiences should expect any evil Superman to last that long, because it’s inevitable that he’ll end up working with the team, rather than against them, before too long. The giveaway, beyond decades of comic book continuity?
The fact that the promotional website for the movie features six slots for logos of team members, with one left noticeably blank for now. A sixth member is due before the end of the movie. I think Warner Bros and DC will hide it until the released date is announced.
Who the heck do you guess will join the League?
For me, I hope it will be The Green Arrow. Even though it is nearly impossible, it is not wrong for hope, right?
The first trailer for Justice League is due for release Saturday. Whether Superman (or Martian Manhunter) shows up in it remains to be seen.