Justice League 2: Zack Snyder reveals 20 secrets about scrapped sequel
After “The Snyder Cut,” here’s what the filmmaker had planned for the future of the DCEU.
At long last, the Snyder Cut is here. But while the journey to Zack Snyder’s Justice League was a long and winding road paved with Parademons, its arrival on HBO Max has inspired a new question on everyone’s minds: Will there ever be a sequel?
As of now, it is unlikely that Zack Snyder will return to direct a new DC superhero movie. The director said in an interview with Inverse that his version of Justice League is his way to “sail out” and that his trilogy of Justice League movies is now the stuff of dreams.
But that hasn’t stopped Snyder from talking about possibilities. In a long interview with Esquire, Snyder shared a number of revelations as to what Justice League 2 and even Justice League 3 would look like. How many revelations? We count 20.
Here are 20 things we learned about Snyder’s vision for Justice League sequels.
20. Justice League 2 was a heist movie
In the interview, Snyder revealed Justice League 2 would have been a heist movie in which a “ragtag” Justice League would attempt to steal another Mother Box in “this half-destroyed Gotham City cathedral” to help The Flash (on his iconic cosmic treadmill) travel back in time.
“So basically in the alternate-future movie, we would have been in this post-Superman, Anti-Life Equation world, where the team knew that the only way to fix the world was to run Flash back and warn Bruce to save Lois,” Snyder said.
19. Joker would brag about Robin’s death
As we saw at the end of the Snyder Cut, Joker and Batman formed an alliance to turn history around. But on the night before the mission, Snyder envisioned a Last Supper-esque situation where everyone would tell stories. “One of those stories was Joker telling the story of the death of Robin,” Snyder said.
As seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Jared Leto’s Joker is responsible for the murder of Jason Todd (inspired by the 1988 storyline Batman: A Death in the Family written by Jim Starlin). What an awkward table conversation that would be.
18. Superman was the main villain of Justice League 2
One of the most ambitious (and, to be honest, hardest to fathom) plans Snyder had for his Justice League series was a hero/villain/hero arc for Henry Cavill’s Superman. In summary, Batman was right about Superman during the events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, in that by Justice League 2 the Man of Steel would become a Monster of Steel.
“Superman has the hugest arc of everybody because he goes from like the main villain to like the main hero,” Snyder said. “And that struck me as just really cool and fun and like a really interesting trajectory for him.”
“Because I think traditionally, Superman is one of those characters that people don't see as changing a lot. You know what I mean? He's kind of a rock that everyone props against and I just thought, how cool would it be to make our Superman the character that goes on the most incredible journey.”
17. Superman “kills everybody” (except Flash)
Want proof of Superman’s turn to the dark side? Snyder says Superman “kills everybody” in Justice League 2 just after that Last Supper scene... except for Flash (Ezra Miller), who quickly runs back in time to warn Bruce Wayne to protect Lois Lane.
“Superman, by the way, in the end, he like kills everybody. Except for Flash. Makes it just through,” Snyder says. “Jumps through time just to escape him.”
16. Time travel would have a new rule
While explaining Flash’s warning to Bruce, Snyder had a fun twist to time travel. “I had this concept for time travel, where the earth has to be in relatively the same position in space,” Snyder explained. “So you could only jump like once a year or you would jump into space.”
While the Avengers made use of the quantum realm to explore time in Avengers: Endgame, Snyder’s rule allows Flash to use his Speed Force powers as well as Earth’s rotation.
15. Flash’s cameo in Dawn of Justice would finally make sense
When Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice released in 2016 with its cryptic vision sequences and a puzzling cameo by Ezra Miller’s Flash, audiences scratched their heads. But had Snyder told his full story, it all would have finally made sense.
In Justice League 2 when Superman kills off the Justice League, it’s up to Flash to race back in time to warn Batman, which explains his appearance mid-way through Dawn of Justice. “You were right about him,” Flash says in the scene. “You’ve always been right about him.”
Exactly how the rest of the movie would have played out after Flash delivered his warning to Bruce remains known only to Zack Snyder.
14. Superman would be redeemed in the end
Despite Superman’s heel turn in Justice League 2, Superman would still end up as the hero he’s meant to be by Justice League 3.
“I had just assumed that the final movie was going to be very much a Superman movie,” Snyder said, likening Justice League 3 to a spiritual sequel to his 2013 movie Man of Steel. “Like the final chapter was going to be a large percentage of Superman to just bookend the whole thing.”
13. We would see the deaths of Aquaman, Harley Quinn, and Lois Lane...
Snyder says that the talked-about, unseen deaths of Aquaman, Harley Quinn, and Lois Lane in the Knightmare scene were close to shooting but did not happen. “[W]e were going to shoot those. And they would have had elements of what Cyborg sees,” Snyder says.
12. ...and the death of Batman
If Justice League started with the death of Superman, Snyder saw fit to end Justice League 2 with the death of Batman. It’s difficult to know the totality of Snyder’s story, but the Dark Knight would have sacrificed himself in Snyder’s Justice League sequel.
11. Superman becomes “the de facto leader”
With Batman dead, “it would have very much fallen on Superman to be the de facto leader [of the Justice League],” Snyder said. Plus, the absence of Batman means another vigilante to take over the mantle...
10. Batgirl’s ascension
For a moment, there were rumors that Snyder’s replacement director Joss Whedon was going to write and direct a Batgirl feature film. (The film ultimately went nowhere when Whedon admitted he didn’t have a story.) Snyder had his own plans for Batgirl, with Barbara Gordon becoming integral to the saga and replacing the departed Bruce Wayne as Gotham’s protector.
“I always wanted Barbara Gordon to come in the movies. Commissioner Gordon would be on the way out, and we'd have Barbara starting to play a bigger role,” Snyder said.
9. Superman’s son would become Batman
Snyder wouldn’t just have Batgirl appear in a cameo capacity, either. Barbara Gordon was going to mentor none other than Superman and Lois’ unnamed son. In a change from comics canon, where Jonathan Kent becomes Superboy, Snyder’s interpretation would have Superman’s son lack superpowers. That only sets him up to become the new Batman, under the wing of Barbara Gordon.
“My idea was that after Batman sacrificed himself, there would be a window where there was no Batman, and I thought Barbara could fill that until the child of Superman and Lois, who has no powers, would become Batman when he was of age.”
8. Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Superman lead armies
Slightly reminiscent of the 2011 storyline Flashpoint, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman were going to lead their respective armies in the fight against Darkseid. Superman, meanwhile, was going to lead both the Justice League and the “Armies of Men,” effectively recreating the epic original battle against Darkseid with more superheroes.
As Snyder tells it:
“Wonder Woman would have been made queen of the Themyscira and she would be leading the warriors of Themyscira into battle against Darkseid herself. And Arthur would be leading the armies of Atlantians. And Superman basically is going to be the head of the Justice League and the Armies of Men. And so Superman would have gone from this kind of berserker Superman to a benevolent Superman.”
7. Green Lantern’s Light!
While Martian Manhunter appears in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the final scene was originally meant to have Green Lantern meet Bruce Wayne instead. Unfortunately for Snyder, there are bigger plans for Green Lantern that kept Snyder from using the character.
“During production, that was a thing they insisted on,” Snyder said, who added that he “shot stuff anyway” in his own backyard but yielded to Warner Bros.’ requests. “The Green Lantern was John Stewart,” Snyder said. “And that was part of it too. I was like, I don't want to take a person of color out of this movie. I'm not going to do it. And, but then, but I felt like having Harry Lennix's Martian Manhunter at the end was, that was okay.”
6. A Cyborg movie
While not necessarily part of the Justice League series, Snyder expressed regret over Cyborg, played by Ray Fisher.
“I'm very sad that I didn't push harder to set up the Cyborg movie before we shot Justice League because I'd done a lot of work to set up Wonder Woman and Aquaman and to get those movies on their feet,” Snyder said. “And I really wish I had done that with Cyborg because he’s really on his feet at the end of the movie. He's really ready to go. And I just thought, well, the truth is I just assumed that it was a no brainer that a Cyborg movie would be in the works.”
Snyder is right; a Cyborg movie was once planned for April 3, 2020, but those plans were scrapped after Cyborg’s reduced role in the theatrical release of Justice League.
5. Snyder envisioned Atom set in China
While explaining his regret over Cyborg, Snyder also “wanted more” for the character of Ryan Choi, played in Zack Snyder’s Justice League by Ryan Zheng.
“We had talked a little bit about the possibility of an Atom movie shot entirely in China,” Snyder said, recalling conversations that took place circa 2015. “I thought that was a great idea. Remember, this was a while ago. When we were conceiving of this, it was literally the end of 2015. I was like let's make a super hero movie set in China with a Chinese star. And [Ryan] Zheng is really charming and I had a great experience shooting [with] him, so it seemed like a no brainer.”
4. Justice League 3 is Justice League vs. Darkseid
Appropriate for the rise in stakes, the final Justice League movie would have been all about the Justice League taking on Darkseid in an appropriately epic showdown. According to Snyder: “And the third movie would have been about the battle between Darkseid and the defenders of Earth.”
3. Silas Stone does not come back to life
Putting to rest any fan theories about the fate of Joe Morton’s Dr. Silas Stone (could he have been zapped to a different dimension, possibly?), Snyder insists that Dr. Stone indeed dies for good. Though Snyder doesn’t rule out a resurrection. (There is quite a lot of that in this movie, anyway.)
“I had just imagined that that [Mother Box] was the hottest thing on earth,” Snyder said. “He doesn't get to come back with massive powers but that'd be cool.”
2. Despite the darkness, it’s all hope and optimism
While Snyder’s vision for the Justice League movies sounds bleak and apocalyptic, ultimately, the director wanted these movies to communicate hope. “I wanted the movie to be hopeful and optimistic. And that included the vision for future movies,” Snyder said.
1. Justice League 3 wouldn’t be the end
Snyder says that like all superhero movies, there’s never really an end.
“It’s the genre: a superhero movie doesn't really have an ending,” he said. “It has a chapter break, but you never want to close the book a hundred percent.” While Snyder is currently done with the DCEU, to the agreement of WarnerMedia, ("I appreciate that they love Zack’s work and we are very thankful for his many contributions to DC,” WarnerMedia Studios CEO Ann Sarnoff tells Variety), there’s still a world of tomorrow for the DC Universe.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is streaming now on HBO Max.