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The Epilogue to 'Zack Snyder's Justice League' Sets Up a Sequel We May Never See

Brady Langmann
·6 min read
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From Esquire

After finishing Zack Snyder's Justice League, which clocks in at approximately 15-years-long, you may have to check your vitals. You're probably dehydrated. Hungry. Likely developed some gray hairs, and maybe even a wrinkle or two. And by the time the epilogue rolls around? Your children may very well have aged into full-grown adults, so you should probably call them.

All of that said? Sitting through four hours of Batman, Wonder Woman, and co. was very much worth it, especially considering that fans waited nearly four years to see Zack Snyder's take on Justice League after Joss Whedon took over as its director. We finally witnessed Ray Fisher's Cyborg triumphantly get the spotlight he deserves. We were treated to a much stronger opening to the film, which followed a breathtaking attack on Themyscira. And when the story was almost over, Snyder walloped us with an epilogue that sets up a Justice League sequel we may never see, stuffed with several character introductions and a glimpse of a harrowing future for the Snyderverse. With that said, let's set out on the near-impossible task of breaking down the mammoth epilogue to Zack Snyder's Justice League.

Let's start with the fun stuff—all those character introductions. In the epilogue, Bruce, Diana, and Alfred open up some new real estate, presumably a home base for the Justice League. Diana says to leave "room for more" at the table. She wasn't kidding. We meet two (!) more potential Justice Leaguers in the final 10 minutes. The first is Ryan Choi, who takes over as a big shot at Star Labs. In the comics, the doctor becomes the superhero Atom, growing and shrinking to his heart's desire. The other is Martian Manhunter, who shows up to Bruce Wayne's house at the very end of the film (following an ever-so-brief cameo earlier on), telling Wayne that he might need some help protecting the world from Darkseid in the future.

Of course, there's the heroes we already know, too, who have hopeful final scenes getting past daddy issues—mainly Cyborg and Flash, who both look ready to take up solo films if and when they get the chance in the DC Universe. When we interviewed Snyder shortly after the film's release, he said he hoped to give many of these characters solo movies, especially Atom—whom he wanted to film a movie entirely shot in China with—and Cyborg.

"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. You know what I mean? It seems like so obvious."

The epilogue—which is really feeling like its own movie at this point—also introduces a new villain! Phew. Turns out, Lex Luthor escaped from the psych ward, running straight to a yacht, of course. That's where we finally meet Joe Magniello's Deathstroke, the longtime Batman rogue. (In the comics, the guy is basically an evil, jacked-up supersoldier.) Luthor tells Deathstroke Batman's true identity, setting up a standalone Ben Affleck/Batman sequel we also might never see, considering the actor has (sort of) stepped down from the role. Though, considering the Snyder Cut was once a far-off dream, never say never.

Now, let's get to the big one. Before he meets Martian Manhunter, Bruce Wayne is snoozin' in his crib. He's having a weird dream—which is most definitely a continuation of the "premonition" he had earlier, where Barry Allen told him the world would go to shit. In the dream, the world definitely has gone to shit, and takes place in a future where Darkseid has likely conquered Earth and Superman works for the bad guys now. (The Darkseid-Superman collab happens in the Superman/Batman: Public Enemies comics, by the way.) Batman looks like he's leading a team comprised of Mera, Flash, Cyborg, Deathstroke, and... the Joker as seen in Suicide Squad. (Not Joaquin Phoenix.)

As the crew banters, trying to avoid the eye of Superman, we get a rather significant information dump via sassy quip. Mainly? Aquaman and Harley Quinn have died, the former likely at the hands of Superman. Batman and the Joker banter for a bit, which is when we learn the Darkseid takeover was caused in part by Batman failing to save Lois Lane's life somehow. Then, the two arch-enemies make a truce—it's implied that Joker needs to be on this mission for some reason—and Superman shows up, eyes glowing red, before Bruce jolts awake. This acts as a quasi-follow-up to the "Knightmare" scene in Batman vs. Superman, when Wayne has yet another nasty dream, which seemingly takes place in the same hellscape as this Justice League epilogue. In that dream, Batman takes on a group of Parademons, loses, and is taken prisoner. Superman shows up and punches him straight through his heart. When Wayne wakes up, Flash poofs in from the future, and says "Lois Lane is the key!" This, again, probably confirms a future where Lane dies and Superman breaks bad. Snyder even confirmed that there might've been a scene in the apocalyptic group where the team sends Flash back in time to warn Wayne.

All of this—the expansion of the Justice League's ranks, Darkseid's introduction, and Batman's dreams becoming reality—track with hearsay about the rumored future of Snyder's Justice League films. In early 2019, Kevin Smith shared his knowledge of Snyder's plans. At the time, he said that the first film would deal with the Steppenwolf battle, leading up to the Darkseid reveal. (Check.) Then, its sequel would be The Empire Strikes Back of the trilogy, ending with Batman's dreams coming true and the apocalypse truly beginning on Earth. The third film would follow the Justice League in the final showdown with Darkseid.

Now, in our same interview with Snyder, he confirmed that this was largely the plan all along. You'll have to check out the full thing, where Snyder describes it all in glorious detail. But the gist is, in the Justice League sequel, we end up seeing that ragtag group in action, trying to save the Earth. But Superman kills everyone, except for Flash, who gets away just in time to go back in time and start fixing what went wrong. Here's what Snyder said about the end of the hypothetical trilogy:

"Then the third movie was going to be about after they rescue him or after they send Flash back in time," he said. "And then Batman sacrifices himself, that would be as we go into the third movie. And the third movie would have been about the battle between Darkseid and the defenders of Earth."

After seeing what Snyder truly had in mind with Justice League? It's hard to stomach the fact we may never see the rest of the story on the big screen. Here's hoping that the success of Zack Snyder's Justice League convinces Warner Bros. to greenlight the next Justice League adventure, led by Snyder, of course.

Photo credit: Mike Kim
Photo credit: Mike Kim

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