Volume Six, Issue Forty-Seven!
“A (In) Justice League of Their Own”
So it looks like Justice League is setting up to be a pretty big box office disappointment. The fact that it couldn’t clear a $100 million opening weekend when that seems to be the norm for comic book movies is pretty troubling, and despite the fact that fan response has been pretty okay (me included), you wouldn’t be the only one to be curious and concerned about what Warner Bros has planned for the future of the DCEU. While I doubt that Warner Bros is going to completely pull the plug on their cinematic universe (Aquaman has finished filming and we’re still getting the solo Batman film and a sequel to Wonder Woman), there’s obviously going to need to be a change in the way DC and Warner Bros approaches these films. And the way they should go is the one that probably won’t happen, but would be really cool.
Assemble the Injustice Gang.
Or Secret Society of Villains. Or Injustice League. Whatever you want to call them, assemble a villain team to fight the Justice League in their sequel. Not only would it be something comic book fans haven’t seen on the big screen before, but it’s also something that WB’s rivals Marvel Studios, Fox, and Sony haven’t done before. Pitting a hero team vs. a villain team would not only make for a fun time at the cinemas, but something that could really shake things up for the studio.
Now I’m not talking about the Crime Syndicate, aka the Earth 3 bad guy versions of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman here. No way. I’m talking Lex Luthor, Black Adam, and a few of the other villains we’ve seen in the DCEU so far. Now, to explain the rest of this, I’m jumping into SPOILERterritory here, so if you still haven’t seen Justice League (which if you haven’t by now I’m guessing you won’t be seeing it in theaters), turn back now.
Still here? Good. The end credits scene for Justice League has Deathstroke, played by Joe Mangianello, meeting with Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor aboard his super expensive yacht. Luthor mentions to Deathstroke that since the heroes have banded together, why shouldn’t they? It’s an awesome scene, even with Eisenberg’s Lex in it (who looks great until he opens his mouth), and should be the story going on in the shadows of the upcoming DC movies, almost like a reverse version of how Marvel set up the Avengers. Instead of Nick Fury meeting the heroes of the MCU and gradually bringing them together to save the world, the DCEU should have Lex and Deathstroke appear in the after credits of the upcoming films, gradually adding to their ranks. They appear to Black Manta at the end of Aquaman, Black Adam at the end of his film, and even snipe some members of the Suicide Squad from under Amanda Waller’s nose in that sequel.
Think about it. The DCEU already has a considerable amount of villains, despite only having four movies under their belt. Suicide Squad alone has enough characters that could be persuaded to join Lex, and there’s significant star power behind the actors that play some of these villains. Imagine a team where Will Smith’s Deadshot and Mangianello’s Deathstroke are squabbling over who gets “dibs” on Batman? Or The Rock’s Black Adam taking on Wonder Woman and Superman? You could even swell the ranks of Lex’s team, allowing for multiple villains to take on the heroes at one time. It’s a really killer concept that could generate legitimate buzz for comic book movie fans and general audiences alike.
Not only that, but it could be an interesting way to get Green Lantern into the fold. We all know he’s going to show up at some point, most likely in Justice League 2 (assuming that happens). What if Lex has been making contact with a hidden alien force, and that force is actually Sinestro arriving on Earth? You’d have to take some liberties with it, but you could have the yellow lantern arrive and working with Luthor to prep the planet for Parallax, which could lead to either having Green Lantern already established and arriving to help the team, or you could spin his origin story and make him the Vision of Justice League 2 (just maybe make sure his story is fleshed out better). All the while Luthor’s been financed by Ra’s Al Ghul, which would lead to Batman having to either protect Luthor from Ra’s when his plan fails, or go after Ra’s in a future movie. It’s a great way to flesh out the world of the DCEU without having to spend too much time dumping exposition.
There’s still hope for the DCEU, and I really believe that Justice League was a step in the right direction for the studio. While I doubt they will set up their upcoming movies with this direction (if they even keep this tease from the movie), but it would be a really unique way to build up anticipation for a Justice League sequel, something that DC really needs right now.