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No one needs a refresher on Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, but you'd be forgiven for knowing nothing about Steppenwolf, the main villain of the Justice League movie. Instead of choosing Darkseid to be the Big Bad of Justice League as was originally rumored, DC decided to go outside of the box. Steppenwolf hasn't had an incredibly memorable comic book history, but that's all the more reason to learn as much as you can about the baddie before he makes his live-action debut later this week.
Plenty of attention has been given to Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg in the various marketing materials for Justice League, but Steppenwolf is only recently getting some screentime in new clips. He hardly even appears in theatrical trailers! Maybe that's just foreshadowing how mild his presence in the movie will be, but his backstory does provide us with clues and ideas as to what's in store for future Justice League sequels. Here are five things that you need to know about Steppenwolf before sitting down to watch Justice League.
Steppenwolf Is A New God
This might come as a shocker, but Steppenwolf isn't exactly human. He's actually a part of a race of beings known as the New Gods. Created by comic book legend Jack Kirby, they are a group of immortal and colorful beings who consider themselves gods. Members tend to have a wide variety of superpowers, but they are all essentially super strong, fast, and invulnerable, with the most powerful of them easily reaching Superman levels. Steppenwolf doesn't have any crazy powers, but he's a skilled tactician and a master of several different weapons.
Just because they're god-like doesn't mean that they don't come with their own drama. New Gods fall into two groups who have been at war with each other for as long as anyone can remember: the benevolent and righteous inhabitants of New Genesis, and the evil and power-hungry lords of Apokolips. Steppenwolf comes from the latter.
He Lives On Apokolips
There exists no greater place of evil and suffering than the planet of Apokolips. A desolate and lawless place where only the cruelest beings can hope to thrive, Apokolips is a pit of fire that burns away the light of any soul that dares cross its path. It's a bad place, okay? Apokolips is at constant war with the rest of the universe, only held back by the New Gods of New Genesis and the heroes of Earth.
Steppenwolf is the top general of Apokolips military forces, leading them on all manner of conquests. He once was in charge of taking over an Earth in a different dimension, successfully killing that world's Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. It takes a pretty bad dude to succeed on Apokolips, and Steppenwolf is as cruel and merciless as they come. Despite his position of authority, Steppenwolf still has to answer to far higher power: his nephew, Darkseid.
Darkseid Is His Nephew
Darkseid is the ruler of Apokolips and one of the greatest villains in the DC Universe. His ultimate goal is to find the Anti-Life Equation, which will give him the ability to enslave every being in the universe. He's got ambition, to say the least. Darkseid is extremely powerful, boasting great strength and his deadliest weapon, the Omega Beams, which instantly vaporize his enemies. He rules Apokolips with an iron fist, and right there in his inner circle is his Uncle Steppenwolf. Steppenwolf doesn't have much (or any) control over his nephew, but he's considered to be one of Darkseid's Elite. The movie may have switched the dynamic of their relationship (Steppenwolf may be Darkseid's nephew now), but the basic principles are still there. Steppenwolf's presence on Earth is largely on Darkseid's orders.
He's After Three Mother Boxes
In the movie, Steppenwolf is on Earth seeking three Mother Boxes, hyper-advanced supercomputers that are a common technology amongst New Gods. They are basically like iPhones if iPhones knew everything and could teleport people anywhere in the known galaxy. Apparently, Steppenwolf tried to use these Mother Boxes to take over the Earth centuries ago, but he was defeated by the combined forces of man, Atlantis, and the Amazons. Each group took a Mother Box to hide, which leads Steppenwolf to once again return to Earth in search of the tech. What exactly he plans to do with these MacGuffins isn't totally known, but it's nothing good.
He's Not A Big Gray Monster
Those who might be expecting Steppenwolf to look like a big gray monster can check that right at the door. After the release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Bros. released a deleted scene to YouTube showing Lex Luthor confronting a hologram (?) of a monster with horns resembling the helmet worn by Steppenwolf. People figured that this was set up for Justice League, which is correct, but Steppenwolf won't bear much resemblance to this creature. What footage there is of the villain shows that he's a humanoid man with chin horns in a suit of armor. His design clearly changed between the two movies and we can probably consider that deleted scene non-canon at this point.