A major new threat is coming to the DC Extended Universe. In the latest trailer for Justice League that was released at San Diego Comic-Con, we are given a glimpse of a monstrous alien force powerful enough to compel the full Justice League to unite for the first time: Steppenwolf. And, in case you’re a curious classic rock fan, fighting him will be anything but a magic carpet ride.

In preparation for Justice League, here’s everything you need to know about the new bad guy on the block, who is played by Ciarán Hinds (Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy).

In the lore of this new movie from director Zack Snyder (with reshoots directed by Joss Whedon), Steppenwolf arrives from his home world of Apokolips to obtain three Mother Boxes, sentient supercomputers that are hidden on Earth. There’s one in Atlantis, the underwater kingdom ruled by Aquaman (Jason Mamoa); one is in Themyscria, home of the Amazon of Wonder Woman; and the last one is embedded in Victor Stone (Ray Fisher), a gifted collegiate athlete who is now a half-human, half-robot known as Cyborg.

It is not yet known why Steppenwolf wants Earth’s Mother Boxes, but given that he commands an army of Parademons — those flying things Bruce Wayne saw in nightmares depicted in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — you can bet it’s not going to be pleasant.

Steppenwolf tears it up in 'Earth-2' #16 from 2013.

Created by the legendary Jack Kirby in the pages of New Gods #7 in 1972, Steppenwolf is a fierce warrior from a race known as the New Gods. Basically, New Gods are successors to the Norse gods in the DCU, and they’re split between two sides: those governed by the Highfather on the paradise New Genesis, and those on the nightmarish Apokolips ruled by Darkseid. Steppenwolf, who is also Darkseid’s uncle, fights on his side as the commander of Apokolips’s army and is a ranking member of Darkseid’s Elite.

But just because Steppenwolf isn’t the king of Apokolips doesn’t mean he’ll be a cakewalk either. Putting aside the fact that he’s a god and thus hard to kill, Steppenwolf is pretty heavy metal when he’s armed with his sick battle axe that can level entire lands in one swing.

Steppenwolf hasn’t always been a big deal in DC Comics. Darkseid is almost always THE big bad of the DCU, much like Thanos from Marvel, so it’s been interesting to see Justice League give Steppenwolf such a prominent position. Justice League also won’t feature his first appearance. A distinctly different-looking Steppenwolf appeared in a strange deleted scene from Batman v Superman which was included in the film’s Blu-ray as a bonus feature.

And it’s likely that Steppenwolf is just the opening act. Steppenwolf’s invasion of Earth may just be setting the red carpet for the true king, Darkseid. It’s a safe bet Darkseid will be the villain of whatever becomes a Justice League sequel, but for now, it’ll take the combined might of Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg to cancel the apocalypse.

Justice League will be released on November 17.

Photos via DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Entertainment

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