- The DCEU characters’ stories are left unresolved with the transition to the new DCU, impacting some characters more than others.
- Green Lantern almost joined the Justice League in the DCEU, but plans for his solo movie led to him being replaced by Martian Manhunter.
- Ray Fisher’s Cyborg is the main character in Zack Snyder’s Justice League and his story is redeemed, setting him up for a potential future in the DCEU.
The DCEU includes many characters whose potentially was never fully seen before the beginning of the DCU. Following the formation of DC Studios, DC on film is effectively going back to the beginning with a new cinematic universe, dubbed the DCU. The DCU will have a soft beginning with the 2024 animated series Creature Commandos, before truly kicking off in earnest with 2025’s Superman: Legacy, written and directed by DC Studios co-CEO James Gunn.
With the beginning of the DCU, the preceding DCEU franchise is also being left unfinished, with the stories of its heroes and villains left unresolved. The very unfortunate byproduct of this is that many DCEU characters and stories are being left incomplete or not fully explored. This changeover from the DCEU to James Gunn’s DCU is also impacting some characters more than others, including some who either never had solo movies or some who were just beginning to hit major points in their respective character arcs. Here are 10 DCEU characters whose stories are the most unfortunately ended by the beginning of the DCU.
10 Green Lantern Never Joined The Justice League
He Almost Appeared In The Snyder Cut
Zack Snyder’s Justice League presents six core heroes in the formation of the League: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman, and The Flash. Unfortunately, Green Lantern never canonically joins the Justice League in the DCEU, though he almost did, with Snyder filming a scene with John Stewart (Wayne T. Carr) meeting Bruce Wayne at the end of the film. In the end, Warner Bros. own purported plans for Green Lantern (which were never produced) led to Snyder swapping Green Lantern for Martian Manhunter in the movie’s final scene. However, a released photo of Carr suited up as Green Lantern shows the character fully realized as Snyder intended.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League
- Release Date
- March 18, 2021
- Zack Snyder
- Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, J.K. Simmons, Willem Dafoe
- 242 Minutes
9 Martian Manhunter Finally Revealed Himself In Zack Snyder’s Justice League
His Appearance Will Never Go Beyond A Cameo
Technically, Martian Manhunter is a major character in both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but he spends both films disguised as General Calvin Swanwick (Harry Lennix). In Zack Snyder’s Justice League, he finally shape-shifts into his Martian form, meeting Bruce Wayne at his lake house to join the League in preparing for Darkseid’s coming invasion. Unfortunately, the reveal of Martian Manhunter and his appearance in the final scene of Zack Snyder’s Justice League are his only appearances in his full superheroic form, but both still provide a great cinematic introduction to J’onn J’onzz.
8 J.K. Simmons Was A Perfect Commissioner Gordon
He Only Appeared Briefly In Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Batman’s closest non-superhero ally, Commissioner James Gordon, is a staple of all Batman movies, and J.K. Simmons is as perfectly cast in the role as his famous portrayal of J. Jonah Jameson in the Spider-Man franchise. Simmons only has a minor role in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, but it’s enough to show how much he brings Gordon to life as a long-standing friend of Ben Affleck’s Dark Knight. Presumably, Gordon also has a significant role in Affleck’s Batman movie script, which never came to pass.
J.K. Simmons reprised his role in the fully-filmed Batgirl movie, but the film’s release was ultimately canceled by Warner Bros.
7 Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke Was Teased As Batman’s Greatest Challenge
He Was Set To Be The Villain In Affleck’s Batman Movie
Appearing in both the theatrical and Snyder Cuts of Justice League, Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke has a more substantial role in the latter, with Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) hiring Slade Wilson to assassinate Batman. While this leads into Ben Affleck’s planned Batman movie, it’s not the only Deathstroke set-up in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, with the very next scene teasing the Knightmare timeline with Batman recruiting Deathstroke to help undo the apocalyptic future. In both cases, Manganiello’s Deathstroke stands as one of the greatest lingering DCEU teases of all for both Affleck’s Batman film and Snyder’s Justice League sequels.
6 Aldis Hodge’s Hawkman Was A Stalwart Leader For The JSA
He Was One Of The Best Characters In Black Adam
Black Adam introduces the Justice Society of America on the big screen, with Aldis Hodge’s Carter Hall, a.k.a. Hawkman, leading the team in their conflict with Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson). Though Black Adam only hints at Hawkman’s history of reincarnation, Hodge’s performance as Hawkman is a major highlight of the movie, with Hodge channeling the same combination of physicality and heroic leadership as Henry Cavill’s Superman. With such a strong debut in Black Adam, Hawkman is another DCEU hero whose intended future is still a ponderous question to ruminate over.
5 Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam Was A Huge Power House
Black Adam Won’t Get His Fight Against Superman
- Release Date
- October 21, 2022
- Jaume Collet-Serra
- Noah Centineo, Pierce Brosnan, Mo Amer, Marwan Kenzari, Aldis Hodge, Bodhi Sabongui, Uli Latukefu, James Cusati-Moyer, Dwayne Johnson, Sarah Shahi, Quintessa Swindell
The Rock’s debut as Teth-Adam introduces the Kahndaqi anti-hero in Black Adam as a massively powerful and uncompromising anti-hero who could easily go toe-to-toe with the Man of Steel. Indeed, the end-credits scene of Black Adam teases exactly that, with Cavill’s Superman finally returning after years of being absent from the DCEU (save for the Snyder Cut’s 2021 release). With the powerful presence Dwayne Johnson inherently embodies on-screen, the prospect of a Black Adam-Superman rumble is another DCEU story fans saw cut short.
4 Ray Fisher’s Cyborg Was The Heart Of The Justice League
The Snyder Cut Completely Redeemed His Story (& Set Him Up For More)
While Zack Snyder’s Justice League redeems virtually every character, arguably the greatest beneficiary of the Snyder Cut’s release is Ray Fisher’s Victor Stone, a.k.a. Cyborg. While he was all but an afterthought in Justice League’s 2017 theatrical cut, Cyborg is arguably the main character of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Cyborg’s arc of adapting to his new body and learning to let go of his anger at his father, Silas (Joe Morton), is a powerful superhero origin story, with Victor realizing, “I’m not broken, and I’m not alone.” With Justice League 2 & 3 remaining unmade, Ray Fisher’s performance as Cyborg is still among the best in any DC movie.
3 Ben Affleck’s Batman Movie Sounded Great
Batman Was Tested Like Never Before
Ben Affleck’s departure from portraying Batman unfortunately left his planned Batman solo movie unmade, and from everything that’s been revealed about it, Affleck’s Batman movie sounds like a true superhero tour-de-force (storyboard artist Jay Oliva has even described it as “the best Batman script I’ve ever read.“) Purportedly modeled on David Fincher’s The Game, the story of Affleck’s Batman movie pits him against the vengeful Slade Wilson, a.k.a. Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello), with Batgirl lending him a hand. Though Affleck makes a return to the cowl in The Flash, his Batman movie remains an undeniably fascinating DCEU movie, even as an unproduced one.
2 Darkseid Finally Made It Into A Movie In Zack Snyder’s Justice League
He Was Shaping Up To Be The Ultimate DC Movie Villain
After being teased in Batman v Superman and omitted entirely from the theatrical cut of Justice League, the king of DC villains, Darkseid (Ray Porter), finally appears as a looming but fearsome villain and Sauron-level presence in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Even with Steppenwolf as the main villain of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Darkseid’s presence is ominously felt throughout the movie. Moreover, Darkseid’s planned role as the central villain of Justice League 2 and 3 makes the two unmade sequels even more perpetual teases of the epic conclusion Snyder had planned for his five-movie arc.
In Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Darkseid first appears in the history lesson of mankind’s first battle against Apokolips thousands of years ago. In the theatrical cut of Justice League, Steppenwolf is instead seen in the history lesson.
1 Henry Cavill’s Superman Hit His Stride With Zack Snyder’s Justice League
He Was Set To Lead The League & The World In Justice League 2 & 3
Henry Cavill brings an innate power and command to his portrayal of Superman, but it is also one that has frequently been mistaken for “dark.” In truth, Cavill’s Superman faces an internal battle of what his life as a hero means to the world and whether he can inspire hope in a planet that is so divided by his very existence. After sacrificing himself to stop Doomsday in Batman v Superman, Cavill’s Man of Steel returns more energized with hope than ever in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, and Snyder’s plans for Superman’s ending in Justice League 2 and 3 show he was just getting started.
Superman was to see his darkest hour ever when Darkseid killed Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and brought him under his control with the Anti-Life Equation in the Knightmare future. After The Flash (Ezra Miller) undid the Knightmare timeline, Cavill’s Superman would lead both the Justice League and all of mankind in a final showdown with Darkseid and Apokolips. As Snyder’s outline puts it, “the entire world becomes a Justice League.” With Cavill’s Superman inspiring so much in humanity by Justice League 3, the completion of his arc might be the most grandiose act of hope and heroism Superman has ever accomplished, even with Snyder’s Justice League sequels being unmade DCEU films.