Director Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice isn’t just set up to be one of the biggest blockbusters of 2016 – it’s also really a launching pad for some much bigger franchise plans. In addition to being a follow-up to Man of Steel, the movie is also made to be essentially a prequel for not only a Justice League feature, but also a whole slew of other DC Cinematic Universe projects (including Suicide Squad later this summer).
Because of this, there are many parts in the movie that are almost exclusively included just to set the table for what’s to come over the next few years. But what are these parts specifically? Well, we’re here to address them all in this brand new feature. Read on to get more of a deep comics perspective on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and a preview of what’s to come in the world of superhero movies!
SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains massive spoilers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. If you haven’t seen the film yet, and don’t wish for any of the elements to be ruined, please click away to another one of our wonderful articles.
The Flash’s time travel antics
The Flash is mainly known for his ability to run crazy fast, but it’s other facets of his speedy powers that keep the character ever evolving and his adventures more interesting. One very important ability, for example, is the fact that he can actually use a specially built treadmill to rip a hole in time and basically time travel. We see a very cool example of this in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, as he visits Bruce Wayne while he is sleeping in his lab (though admittedly the presentation makes it a touch hard to not only recognize The Flash, but also understand what he says). The Flash tells the sleepy billionaire,
I guarantee that won’t be the last time audiences hear that line of dialogue.
The Robin costume
Batman is known for keeping collectables from his career as a crimefighter in his Batcave. In the comics, he famously has both a life-size model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a giant penny. These strange items don’t exist in the Batcave in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but there is one particularly notable bit of memorabilia: a Robin costume with the words "HA HA HA The Joke’s On You, Batman" scrawled on the chest. This suggests that the DC Cinematic Universe has previously seen the tale of Jason Todd unfold a.k.a. "A Death In The Family." In this famous story from the comics by writer Jim Starlin and artists Jim Aparo and Mike DeCarlo, The Joker actually managed to kill one of the Dark Knight’s young sidekicks, leaving the hero of Gotham forever scarred. Should we get to see a solo Batman movie starring Ben Affleck, we would hope that the death of Robin would play a major role in the story. Until then, though, we will get to see Batman and The Joker square off in this summer’s Suicide Squad.
The creation of Cyborg
As far as teams in the DC Comics universe are concerned, Cyborg was originally best known as a member of the Teen Titans – but that changed in a big way with the New 52 relaunch. In those comics, the part-human/part-machine hero was re-introduced as one of the founding members of the Justice League – and that’s exactly what we’ll see in the DC Cinematic Universe as well. When Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) is going through Lex Luthor’s secret files, she watches a video that is actually the creation of Cyborg at Star Labs. In the clip, Silas Stone (Joe Morton) narrates as machinery in the background attach parts to young Victor Stone (played by Ray Fisher). The character isn’t set to get his own solo film for a few years now – specifically in 2020 – but he will be one of the leads in the first Justice League feature.
Superhero fans are already used to seeing Barry Allen commit heroic acts with his incredible speed on a weekly basis, but Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice gave us a taste of the low-level crime that Ezra Miller’s version of the character has been dealing with in the DC Cinematic Universe. Like the Cyborg video and the next bit we’ll get to, this is part of the scene when Diana is searching through Lex Luthor’s secret files – stumbling upon security footage from a mini-mart. Barry is getting a drink out of the fridge when a robber tries to hold the clerk up at gun point. The Scarlet Speedster isn’t in costume, but that doesn’t stop him from accessing the speed force, knocking out the crook, and immediately returning to his shopping. It’s a quick taste of the antics of the character, and also demonstrates that he will already have a strong grip on his powers by the time we see him in Justice League Part 1.
The reveal of Aquaman
Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Cyborg have all been discussed now, so let’s talk about the sixth and final Justice League member that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice teases during its runtime. Like the goddess from Themyscira, the red streak, and the technological teenager, Aquaman (played by Jason Momoa) is teased thanks to a special file on Lex Luthor’s computer. The King of Atlantis doesn’t get to do too much during his moment in the spotlight, as what takes place is basically a conflict between the undersea hero and a camera, but we do get to see him use his trident for the first time and swimming super fast, so there is that. James Wan is at the helm of the solo film about Aquaman that will be coming out in 2018, but before that we expect him to have a key role in Justice League next year.
The Wonder Woman photo
Wonder Woman is a true standout in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - and while she will obviously be a very important part of the DC Cinematic Universe’s future, the next time we see her we will be diving into her past. Included amongst Lex Luthor’s secret files is a photograph of Diana Prince in her Wonder Woman costume (and Chris Pine as Steve Trevor). While this alone isn’t that big a deal, what makes it special is the fact that the picture was taken back in 1918, and Diana doesn’t look as though she has aged a day. This is a setup for 2017’s Wonder Woman movie, which will be the last DC "solo" film before Justice League Part 1. The feature will not only be set during World War I, but also is expected to dive into the heroic heroine’s full epic past – which is tied directly to Greek mythology.
Lex’s Darkseid warnings
The events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice very clearly establish that Lex Luthor is one of the eviler dudes in the DC Cinematic Universe – but in the film’s closing scenes, he warns of a force far, far worse than himself. When Batman visits Lex in prison, the genius inmate warns that the bell cannot be un-rung, and that "he’s hungry." The "he" is never specified, but DC fans know that this is a warning about Darkseid - the ruler of the planet Apokolips who has a penchant for trying to eliminate all free will in the known universe. He’s incredibly smart and has just about every power you can name – and is clearly being set up as the main villain of next year’s Justice League movie. Considering the character actually inspired the Marvel villain Thanos (who is being set up as the big, big bad of the Marvel Cinematic Universe), it will be interesting to see what general movie audiences make of the co-existence of both antagonists.
The Knightmare… maybe?
There are a lot of divisive and debatable events that occur in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but there is no sequence that raises more questions than the one that has been dubbed "The Knightmare." While processing data on his computer, Bruce Wayne falls into a slumber at his desk and has a dream about what looks like an apocalyptic future where he is on the hunt for Kryptonite. It turns out that he has been lured into a trap by Superman and an army of soldiers, and after the Dark Knight is captured, the Man of Steel unmasks him. Some may argue that this is just a manifestation of Bruce’s fears about the god-like Kryptonian, but considering the presence of what look like Darkseid’s Parademons, there is an equal argument to be made that this is a prophetic look into the future of the DC Cinematic Universe.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.