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As of 2017, the DC Extended Universe is a full four years old, having been producing big screen films since the summer of 2013. Since then, a bunch has happened in the continuity, and much of it has led to this weekend's big release: Zack Snyder's Justice League. Of course, we expect that many of you may have forgotten some details in the movies that we've seen up to this point, but that's why we're here to help.
Below and across the next few pages we've put together this handy guide that will help you prepare for Justice League, detailing the histories of the main heroes as we've seen them featured so far on the big screen. So read on and refresh!
We were first introduced to Henry Cavill's Clark Kent a.k.a. Superman in 2013, when Zack Snyder reinvented the classic origin story in Man of Steel. Like every major iteration of the character, he is the last son of Krypton -- an alien who was sent away from his home as a baby by his loving parents just prior to the world's destruction. He was raised by the Clark family in Smallville, Kansas after his ship crashed in a cornfield, and while it took time for him to harness the incredible gifts granted to him by Earth's yellow sun, he reached adulthood as the most powerful being on the planet.
After years of traveling the globe and defeating invading Kryptonian soldiers who wished to reinvent their home world, Clark began to learn his place among humanity, and settled down for life as a reporter working for the Daily Planet in Metropolis. This included starting to make a life with his love, Lois Lane (Amy Adams), but unfortunately, his presence didn't exactly instill immediate harmony in the world. Not only were people suspicious of an alien living among them, but many also held him responsible for the destruction and death that was caused during both the invasion and defeat of General Zod (Michael Shannon).
Superman became a globally controversial figure -- especially in the eyes of important figures like Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) and Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). His ego unable to cope with the existence of Superman, Luthor began machinations to not only bring Wayne's alter ego, Batman, into direct conflict with the Kryptonian, but also orchestrate the Man of Steel's death. The latter was actually accomplished when the supervillain successfully used alien technology to give birth to the monster Doomsday. Though Superman had the assistance of both Batman and Wonder Woman in battle, he died killing the spiky beast with a Kryptonite-laced spear.
As you would expect, the death of Superman had a massive effect on the whole world, and it's with the world still in mourning that the story of Justice League begins.
Rather than introducing us to a young, energetic Gotham crime fighter, Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice instead featured a grizzled warrior who has perhaps seen a bit too much while taking out the scum of his city. While we don't know all the details of his canonical history in the DC Extended Universe, we do know that he has faced off against some considerable villains, and has suffered some intense losses.
Bruce Wayne isn't doing so great from a mental perspective when he first appears in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and a big part of that stems from the other hero in the title of the blockbuster. He was in Metropolis during the epic destruction caused by the battle between Superman and General Zod, and saw many of his employees die when Wayne Tower was destroyed. Quickly the Kryptonian became a target in his eyes, and began his plans for taking him out.
While being subtly manipulated by Lex Luthor, Bruce constructs an armored suit that can take Superman's punches, but more importantly a Kryptonite spear that can actually weaken and kill his alien enemy. He is nearly successful in his mission, but after having a change of heart instead winds up teaming with the Man of Steel. Their powers combined with Wonder Woman's are useful in the battle against the monstrous Doomsday, but ultimately it's only Batman and Wonder Woman who walk away from the fight.
The death of Superman winds up having a significant impact on Bruce Wayne, who begins to see the error in his pessimistic mind set, and open himself up more to the world. Of course, adding urgency to this is both a warning of invasion from an imprisoned Lex Luthor, and an apocalyptic nightmare providing him a glimpse into what could be the future.
Princess Diana a.k.a. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) began her life as a fairly normal Amazon, raised in seclusion from the rest of the world on the beautiful and hidden island of Themyscira. She was raised by an overprotective mother in Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), who wished for her to stay away from the battlefield, but she was trained in secret by Antiope (Robin Wright) and became a fierce warrior.
Her world really starts to change in 1918 when, for the first time ever, a man crash lands in the outskirts of Themyscira. Diana winds up rescuing him -- learning that he is a soldier named Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) -- but is also horrified to find that he is not alone. German forces wind up following Steve to the mystical island, leading many Amazons to die in battle. Through the events, Diana learns about the conflict that would later be known as World War I, and believing that it is caused by the God of War, Ares, she makes the decision to leave Themyscira with Steve.
After arriving in Europe, she successfully leads the Allies to victory and both reveals and destroys Ares -- ending the war. Unfortunately, the horrors witnessed also inspire her to keep a low profile as a hero through the rest of the 20th century -- but everything changes in 2016. After discovering a photo of herself has been stolen by Lex Luthor, she makes her way to America, and after meeting Bruce Wayne/Batman and Superman, helps them defeat the evil that is Doomsday.
Like Bruce Wayne, Wonder Woman is affected by the death of the Man of Steel, deciding to become a more public figure as a result -- but also with that comes the openness to a team-up...
As seen in both Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and his cameo in Suicide Squad, Barry Allen a.k.a. Flash is a speedy young hero who has already started fighting crime in his own special fashion. As demonstrated in the video possessed by Lex Luthor, he's not exactly big time yet, as one of his big collars is a robber at a convenience store.
That said, he has evidently taken down some notable criminals as well. Specifically, he was the one who stopped Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) during a bank robbery and got him sent to Belle Reve Penitentiary - where he was recruited as a member of the Suicide Squad.
The Aquaman solo movie, directed by James Wan, isn't set to come out until December of next year -- meaning that blockbuster audiences have yet to learn about the royal hero who is pulled between the worlds above and below the sea. Instead, Justice League serves as the major introduction for the aquatic hero -- minus the brief bit that we got to see from him in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
While there isn't much context provided, Arthur Curry a.k.a. Aquaman (Jason Momoa) is featured in a video on Lex Luthor's computer that is stolen and watched by Bruce Wayne. The footage, which is all underwater, sees the future Justice League member swim up to the camera, and then swim away at an incredible speed. It's an impressive bit of tape, making it understandable why Batman would want him for his developing team.
Of all the main heroes in the Justice League line-up, Victor Stone a.k.a. Cyborg (Ray Fisher) has had the least exposure to date (at least Aquaman got a close-up). Bruce Wayne learns of his existence in the files from Lex Luthor's computer -- and what's shown is rather horrifying. As shown in lab videos, Victor was clearly in some kind of horrific accident, but fortunately has his father, Dr. Silas Stone (Joe Morton) to help him. Using what audiences will eventually learn in Justice League is a piece of alien technology known as a Mother Box, Silas is able to turn his son into a half-human/half-cybernetic being.
It will be a while before we learn the full story of Cyborg, as it seems as though the hero's solo movie is not on the fast track, but fans will get to learn a lot more about him with his introduction and narrative in Justice League.
Introduced in Wonder Woman, Queen Hippolyta is a fierce and powerful warrior and leader of the Amazons on Themyscira. Eons ago she led battles against many dangerous enemies, gods and monsters included, but sustained a life of peace for centuries in Themyscira. She raised an incredible daughter in Princess Diana, a.k.a. Wonder Woman, and was last seen delivering a heartbreaking goodbye in 1918 as Diana sailed to Man's World.
Decades later, Queen Hippolyta is back in action in Justice League, once again leading the Amazon warriors into battle, but the rest you'll just have to discover on the big screen!