WARNING: The following article features potential spoilers for Justice League.
With the first Justice League movie hitting screens very soon and a sequel planned for 2019, Batman, Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg and The Flash are going to be pretty busy over the next couple of years. But who are the evil entities that force them to team-up?
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hinted at the imminent arrival of two all-powerful extraterrestrials — Darkseid and Steppenwolf. But what does this dastardly duo want? And what threat do they pose to the human race? Read on to find out why the Justice League should fear them.
Who is Darkseid?
Darkseid is SERIOUSLY bad news. The character cameoed in Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 in December 1970 before making his first appearance proper in Forever People #1 in February 1971. Created by Jack Kirby, the look was Jack Palance, while the attitude was Adolf Hitler, with Darkseid dominating the people of his home planet Apokolips in much the same way Hilter ruled over Nazi Germany.
As a ‘New God,’ he’s not short of evil ambition either, with DC describing the megalomaniac as follows: “Some villains want to increase their financial standings. Some want to best their enemy in battle. Others want to take over a country and a few even desire to rule the planet. One stands above them all. One whose ambition extends beyond simply conquering the world. One that doesn’t want to rule humanity—but all of existence. He is Darkseid, and when it comes to villains in the DC Universe, it doesn’t get any bigger or badder than him.”
Darkseid isn’t short of powers either. He can fire ‘Omega Beams’ from his eyes which are capable of wiping people and objects from existence, and have seriously injured Superman in the past. He’s telepathic, telekinetic, and can teleport himself and others through time and space. So basically, all the teles. As fast and strong as the members of the Justice League, he can regenerate, and as a deity, he’s pretty much immortal. On top of that, Darkseid can also resurrect beings. So he’s got that going for him.
But Darkseid is smart too, possessing an incredible intellect that enables him to manipulate, control, or simply encourage others to do his bidding. Meaning he’s a tyrant who rarely gets his hands dirty. Which may play into the events of the first Justice League movie…
Who is Steppenwolf?
Steppenwolf isn’t a seriously hairy rock band from the late 1960s, but rather a slightly hairy supervillain in the DC universe. Another Jack Kirby creation, he first appeared in New Gods #7 in February 1972.
The character is Darkseid’s uncle, a member of the all-powerful ‘Darkseid’s Elite,’ and head of the army on Apokolips. Meaning he’s a brilliant military leader with a keen strategic mind, whom Darkseid sends as his envoy, to invade and enslave planets with the help of a deadly fleet of flying Parademons.
Like Darkseid, Steppenwolf is immortal, and possesses super speed, strength and stamina, meaning you don’t want to go toe-to-toe with him in a fight. Something that Wonder Woman discovered during the Apokolips War when he killed the Amazonian. Batman also lost his life in this battle, sacrificing himself to end the conflict. So when it comes to defeating members of the Justice League, he has form.
Steppenwolf also has some awesome props for waging war, fighting with an ‘Electro Axe‘ (which looks like something from a horror movie) and marching into battle atop a giant warrior hound (of the demonic ‘Dog Cavalry‘).
Darkseid and Steppenwolf in ‘Batman v Superman’
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice laid the groundwork for both characters to appear in Justice League. Their Parademons were glimpsed during Bruce Wayne’s ‘Knightmare,’ while Darkseid’s Omega symbol could be seen etched into the scorched ground of a destroyed city.
Lex Luthor says, “Devil’s don’t come from hell beneath us, but from the sky above” in reference to a painting that looks like it depicts Darkseid. And at the end of the movie, Lex again seems to reference the warmonger, telling Bruce Wayne: “He’s coming, and he’s hungry.”
As for Steppenwolf, he appears in a brief sequence called ‘Communion’ that was deleted from the theatrical cut of BvS, but added to the ‘Ultimate Edition.’ The scene features Lex communicating with Steppenwolf on a Kryptonian ship, while three cubes float in mid-air, which are very probably the Mother Boxes.
What is a Mother Box?
The Mother Boxes are all-powerful inter-dimensional relics that Darkseid lost to the the Amazonians, Atlanteans and Mankind in an ancient battle which is rumoured to serve as Justice League‘s prologue. Filled with mysterious alien technology, the boxes are powerful in isolation, and all-powerful when brought together.
Meaning that the plot of the forthcoming movie will very probably revolve around Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons carrying out Darkseid’s orders to win them back. Steppenwolf can be glimpsed multiple times in the extended Comic-Con trailer. And it sounds like Ciaran Hinds — who plays the character — lends his dulcet tones to the trailer’s voiceover when he says, “This world will fall. Like all the others.”
All of which means we might see very little of Darkseid in this instalment, with Steppenwolf doing his bidding. But when his efforts inevitably fail, expect Darkseid to take centre stage in the second of the Justice League movies. If not to retrieve the Mother Boxes, then to find the 'Anti-Life Equation' -- mathematical proof that will help Darkseid achieve that dream of ruling over all of existence.
The equation is Darkseid's obsession in the comics, enabling him to destroy free will throughout the universe, meaning the tyrant could effectively control the Justice League alongside all of humanity. That search is his reason for visiting Earth in the comics, and would make for a pretty awesome storyline if the movies follow suit.