When The Knightmare Future Of Zack Snyder’s Justice League Takes Place On The DC Timeline

Batman in Zack Snyder's Justice League's Knightmare future

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Warning: SPOILERS for Zack Snyder’s Justice League are ahead!

Among the most memorable moments from 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was Bruce Wayne dreaming of the Knightmare future, where Earth had been conquered by Darkseid’s forces and Batman is fighting back against a corrupted Superman. While there were no glimpses or even mentions of the Knightmare in the theatrical cut of Justice League, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which is now available on HBO Max, provides another look at this apocalyptic (or should I say, Apokoliptic) world, and thanks to Zack Snyder himself, we now know when the Knightmare takes place on the DC Extended Universe timeline.

Zack Snyder recently stopped by the Reelblend podcast to talk about his four-hour cut of Justice League, and when the Knightmare future came up in the conversation, the filmmaker informed the hosts that those events occur sooner then some might have believed. In Snyder’s words:

The actual full fall of Earth is maybe a year or two later. Maybe longer. I don't know, but not… not 10 years, but probably not five years. They've been on the lam for a while. Because you can imagine that (it’s been) long enough where they've sort of taken their eye off the Batcave as a place that (Batman and his team) might be.

Wow, I can’t say I thought Earth being ravaged by alien invaders would happen just a couple years separated from the present day DCEU. That’s not a lot of time for things to go to hell, and it’s taken everything for the future Batman and his allies to survive being hunted down, which includes having to leave the Batcave behind. While Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice only showed the costumed Bruce Wayne working alongside nondescript members of the Insurgency to overthrow Superman’s regime, Zack Snyder’s Justice League showed him partnered up with fellow Justice Leaguers Flash and Cyborg, Mera from the Kingdom of Atlantis, and notable Batman rogues Joker and Deathstroke.

Interestingly enough, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice wasn’t always going to show the Knightmare, as stunt performer Richard Cetrone revealed last year that the sequence was added when shooting had already begun. And in the case of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, its Knightmare scenes weren’t shot during the original principal photography period, but as part of the additional photography that unfolded last fall. Had Snyder’s plans for Justice League sequels come to fruition, we would have spent a lot more time in the Knightmare reality, with Justice League 2 showing how Earth falls and Justice League 3 seeing the timeline being changed into something a lot less depressing, though coming with great sacrifice.

As things stand now, there are no plans for Zack Snyder’s Justice League saga to continue, especially since the director has classified his cut of Justice League as an Elseworlds-like tale, while the theatrical version of Justice League is still considered to be part of the main DCEU canon. That being said, with a #RestoreTheSnyderverse movement now making its way around social media, and depending on how well the Snyder Cut performs on HBO Max (which you can sign up for using this link), maybe that could change down the line. If not, I’d certainly be game for the Snyderverse, specifically everything within the Knightmare timeline, to be expanded upon through a comic book series.

Should there be any news about the Snyderverse continuing in some form or fashion, we here at CinemaBlend will let you know. If you’re already looking ahead to what’s coming down the DC cinematic pipeline, feel free to browse through our upcoming DC movies guide.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.