Into the Future
Justice League is a pretty big deal for the DCEU. Not only is it the first time we’ve ever seen the League together in live action, it’s also the first concrete look we’ve got at the trailheads to the next phase of DC movies. Films like Aquaman, Wonder Woman 2, The Batman, and Flashpoint have been surrounded by tumultuous rumors of directors leaving, scripts being scrapped, contracts being renewed, and release dates being moved around, making it hard to tell just where any of these characters are heading (or in some cases, where they’re coming from.)
Thankfully, however, Justice League was happy to pepper in some easter eggs and clues about its cast of heroes to give us something to chew on while we wait.
8. Janus in Gotham
It’s blink-and-you-miss-it, but one of the only readable billboards in Gotham City during Bruce’s initial interrogation of the Parademon belongs to “Janus Corporation.” Janus has some history in Batman comics, most notably as the cosmetics company owned and operated by one Roman Sionus, aka Black Mask.
In his modern interpretation, Roman’s a maniacal business man and gangster who is constantly vying for power in Gotham’s underground–his obsession with identity and his “mask” gimmick sometimes even manifests as a criminal cult, depending on the source material you’re looking at. It’s way too early to read too deeply into it, but it’s safe to say Roman would be an ideal and completely fresh pull for a villain in any upcoming Batman (or Batman adjacent) DC movies.
7. Mother Box Mythology
The DCEU’s Mother Boxes are a dramatic departure from their comics source material of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World saga, but that doesn’t mean some Fourth World content didn’t make its way into the movie.
In a single line, Steppenwolf utters a sort of devotional as he sends his Parademons out to hunt: “For Darkseid,” or, the DC Universe’s baddest of the bad. It’s not touched on directly in the movie but Darkseid and Steppenwolf are both “New Gods,” denizens of the extradimensional planet called Apokolips, over which Darkseid reigns as a tyrant king. There’s even a brief mention of the Mother Boxes acting as terraforming technology to re-shape worlds into “Steppenwolf’s home planet.” So, Apokolips is definitely in play here.
6. Gorilla Sign Language
Barry doesn’t know many languages, but he does know “Gorilla sign language.” This, of course, is a wink to Gorilla Grodd, a giant, telepathic gorilla who is one of Barry’s most powerful (and most bizarre) enemies.
In the comics, Grodd got his start as a normal, totally non-telepathic gorilla until an alien spacecraft crashed into his home in Africa, imbuing him with his powers. But over in the DC TV Universe, Grodd was a test subject for S.T.A.R. Labs–a name you may recognize from all the Cyborg-related backstory in Justice League. So it’s pretty likely if Grodd ever does show up in the DCEU, that’s the route he’ll take.
No, the Justice League screenwriters didn’t suddenly forget what year it is or how people speak. Vic’s celebratory “booyah!” at the end of the final battle was a nod to the Teen Titans cartoon where Vic was reinvented as an optimistic, almost parental figure for his team. His catchphrase in the show? Booyah, of course.
Strangely enough, the rest of Vic’s characterization in the movie comes specifically from the comics–and the very recent comics at that. Vic was reinvented as a founding member of the Justice League with his cybernetic enhancements connecting him to a Mother Box in 2011 during DC’s line-wide continuity reboot and relaunch the New 52. Still, there’s no doubt that Teen TItans‘ dedicated fans appreciated the wink.
4. Exploding Penguins
Alfred dryly tells Bruce that he misses the days when their biggest concerns were exploding wind-up penguins, an obvious nod to both Burton’s Batman Returns film (where wind-up penguins were realized in real life) and the fact that The Penguin apparently does exist in this incarnation of Gotham City.
It’s not altogether unlikely that the Penguin could play a role in an upcoming Batman movie project, especially considering that the reinvented character in TV’s Gotham has garnered more than a few fans.
We don’t get much of Barry Allen’s story in the movie, but we get enough to see that he’s following a specific version of his comic book origin–his father’s in jail for the murder of his mother, a crime he didn’t commit. If you’re a fan of CW’s Flash TV show, you know this story already–Barry’s mother Nora was murdered by a time traveling speedster from the future named Eobard Thawne and Henry Allen was convicted of the crime. Ever since, he’s been in prison with Barry desperately trying to prove his innocence.
This is actually the version of Barry’s story that came to the comics fairly recently, with Geoff Johns’ The Flash: Rebirth mini-series in 2009–a reinvention of the character that wound up building directly into 2011’s continuity-rebooting Flashpoint event.
Now, we already know that the DCEU is heading towards a Flashpoint movie care of their SDCC announcement. It’s too early to say whether or not it’s going to mirror the comics’ or the TV shows’ interpretation of events, but the seeds of the story are most definitely already planted.
2. The Hall of Justice
Justice League ends with Bruce and Diana entering a dilapidated building with some pretty obvious plans for the future: a big, circular table, six chairs, but “room for more.”
We don’t get a look at the building from the outside to see whether or not it matches the iconic silhouette, but it’s obvious they’re setting about forming the Hall of Justice, the Justice League’s traditional base of operations on Earth (as opposed to in space, where they occasionally utilize an orbiting space station in the comics and cartoons).
The “room for more” is a hopeful look at the future of the team’s line up–or, more specifically, a nudge for fans of Hal Jordan. A.K.A. Green Lantern, the only original founding member of the League who was not featured in the movie. Though Justice League made it clear that the Green Lantern Corps definitely do exist in the DCEU, Hal–the first Green Lantern from Earth–has yet to be mentioned or referenced at all.
1. Red Skies
One of the more subtle comics nods in the movie was hidden in its color palette. During the final fight–and at several points during the flashbacks–the world is seen with a bright orange-red sky.
Far from just being an ominous aesthetic choice, the concept of the red sky has some pretty loaded history in the DCU. It began with the continuity-altering Crisis on Infinite Earths back in the 80s where the multiverse was collapsed into a single system in order to reconcile all the disparate and contradictory threads and timelines of DC’s Golden and Silver Age comics. As the worlds collided into one another, the skies turned bright red.
Since then, the phenomena has become a sort of shorthand for any event in the DCU that’s happening on a cataclysmic scale–books that deal with them are even sometimes called “red skies crossovers.”
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