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?