Deciding not to bow to the pressure of modern franchise filmmaking trends, the folks behind Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman decided not to pin a post-credits scene on the film when it was released this past summer. The same, however, cannot be said of Zack Snyder's Justice League. Following David Ayer's Suicide Squad, the blockbuster is the second DC Extended Universe title to feature an extra treat for fans during the credits -- but what sets it apart is that there are actually two of them this time around.
Taking a familiar tactic, the Justice League end credits scenes are a mix of fun and serious -- offering up some character moments and teases for what we will soon see in the future of the franchise. But what exactly is it that happens? And what does it all actually mean? We're here to break both of them down, so read on and enjoy!
SPOILER WARNING: Obviously, what follows contains spoilers for the end credits and parts of Justice League -- so if you have not yet seen the film, and don't wish to know what happens, please bookmark this page and save it until after your screening!
The Race Is On
In DC Comics, as Superman got progressively faster and faster, readers began posing a persistent question: who is faster, Superman or The Flash? It was eventually recognized that the only way to settle the argument would be with a straight-up race -- and this classic comic book concept is brought to life in the first end credits scene of Justice League.
After the first round of credits, audiences are brought back to a beautiful, grassy, open area where Flash (Ezra Miller) and Superman (Henry Cavill) are standing together. Having recognized their shared gift for speed from their first adventure together, it has been decided that they will face off in a race as part of a bet. The two discuss what it is that is being wagered, and after a deadpan suggestion from Superman that Flash lose his place on the team, the Man of Steel counters with a suggestion from Batman (Ben Affleck) that The Flash be forced to buy brunch for everyone (a callback to an earlier joke). It's a low blow to the Scarlet Speedster, but he's happy just so long as winning means that he can tell everybody that he raced the Kryptonian and won.
With the terms agreed upon, they decide which coast will serve as the finish line -- and Flash offers that he's never seen the Pacific. While he starts off angled in the wrong direction (Barry Allen clearly isn't great with direction), Superman corrects him, and the men take their places. Flash produces a firecracker, which he ignites with a snap, and after he flicks the explosive down the road, the bang serves as their starting pistol. Sadly, we don't see the result of the race, as it ends with a freeze frame before the credits begin to roll again.
DC Comics learned a long time ago that they needed to address the Flash vs. Superman question, and first did so in Superman #199 back in 1967. The heroes were told by the United Nations Secretary-General that a race around the world could be used to raise money for charity, but eventually discovered that gangsters had rigged the event for a big payout. To prevent this, the duo perfectly timed it so that they would break the finish line ribbon at the same time -- simultaneously avoiding a direct answer to fans' questions. Since then, Flash and Superman have raced many different times in many different scenarios, and the results have varied as well.
It should be recognized that we recently got another live-action version of this showdown, albeit on the small screen. In 2016, the eighteenth episode of the first season of Supergirl ("World's Finest") featured a meeting between the titular Kryptonian (Melissa Benoist) and a visiting Flash (Grant Gustin). At the end of the adventure, the latter needed to get back to his own universe, and it created a scenario where a "race" could solve the problem:
As far as the Justice League scene goes, one does have to wonder if it's actually a fair competition between Ezra Miller's Flash and Henry Cavill's Superman. It's true that Supes had been dead for a few months, but he also had 30-plus years to master his powers, while Barry is still very much a newbie as a metahuman. As such, even if Flash does lose this big screen race, hopefully there will be another face-off years down the road after he develops more of his skills.
Clearly this sequence was included at the end of Justice League as a way of having a bit of fun with two characters who didn't get to share a lot of screentime during the actual movie -- but it's the post-credits material that lets us peer into the future of the DC Extended Universe. So let's take a look at that next, shall we?
A League Of Our Own
At the time of Justice League's release, the future of the DC Extended Universe is a touch sketchy. James Wan's Aquaman is now in post-production, David S. Sandberg is working on Shazam, and Patty Jenkins is developing Wonder Woman 2, but everything else is a big question mark -- including Justice League 2. As of now we don't know when it will be that the legendary superhero team will be regrouping, but if the second Justice League end credits scene is a hint, then it will probably feature a major supervillain team-up.
The sequence begins in an unidentified facility, though going by the end of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice we can assume that it is Arkham Asylum. The inmates are being let out of their cells by the guards, but at the end of the hall one prisoner -- sporting a gleaming shaved head -- doesn't move. A guard identifies him as Lex Luthor, telling him to get moving, but when he is turned around we discover that it is actually a completely different bald crazy person, who begins to hysterically laugh.
Cutting away, we learn where Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) really is. Out in what seems like the middle of the ocean, a speedboat carrying a masked, sword-wielding figure makes its way towards a yacht that is parked in the water. When it arrives and the man de-boards, we see that it is DC Comics fan-favorite Slade Wilson a.k.a. Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello), who has evidently agreed to a meeting with the psychotic genius, still sporting the cue ball look. Relaxing on a sofa, Lex remarks that he is celebrating god's return, and discusses the fact that the heroes of the world have begun teaming up. Deathstroke takes off his mask, revealing that he has the classic white hair and eyepatch look from the comics. Lex makes the argument that they should "level the playing field," and proposes that they do so by forming "a league of our own."
For those of you who may be a bit confused, Lex isn't suggesting the formation of an all-female baseball team, but rather a group of intelligent supervillains who can come together and presumably both defeat the Justice League and take over the world. While it's not explicitly stated, it looks like the scene is teasing the birth of a sinister cadre -- though it's unclear exactly which specific unit from the comics we can expect.
There are a few options on the table, including the Legion of Doom the Injustice Gang, and the Secret Society of Super Villains, but given the wording used, seeing the big screen formation of the Injustice League seems likely in the future. Like the other groups, a big part of the roster is finding specific villains who will match-up against specific members of the Justice League -- though obviously exactly what the DC Extended Universe is cooking up is currently a total mystery.
That said, we may be able to pluck out some possible answers just looking at DC's upcoming slate. For example, Aquaman's most notorious villain, Black Manta, is scheduled to make his feature film debut in next December's Aquaman solo movie; and we're keeping our fingers crossed that Cheetah might find her way into the scheduled Wonder Woman 2. We could see a speedster villain from The Flash: Flashpoint play a larger DCEU, and if they add Joker (Jared Leto), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and maybe even Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam into the mix (all rumored to appear in Suicide Squad 2) alongside Lex Luthor and Deathstroke, you have a fairly formidable lineup.
Of course, one major factor in the mystery is exactly when we could see this team come together in the next few years, and all of the movies that come out between now and then. It would make sense for this idea to fully form in a Justice League 2, but that particular project doesn't currently have a release date, nor did it even appear on the slate of titles presented by Warner Bros. at this past summer's San Diego Comic-Con. Basically, we may not see the live-action version of the Injustice League (or whatever it is ultimately called) until the early to mid-2020s.
What did you think of the Justice League post-credits scenes? Who do you think will win the Flash vs. Superman race? Who do you want to see sign up for Lex Luthor's supervillain team other than Deathstroke? Hit the comments section below with your thoughts!