As rumoured, the Justice League movie does indeed have two post-credits scenes (well, one’s mid-credits, but you know what I mean), and if you want to know what they are and what they mean for the future of the DCEU, you’re in the right place. If you haven’t seen the movie yet and you want to go in spoiler-free, you’re in the wrong place and you need to go away now. Seen the movie? Seen the post-credits scenes, but don’t understand them? Don’t want to see the movie, but need to know what’s next for the DCEU? Read on.
The first bonus sequence is more of a lightweight but fun additional scene, adding a bit of character development, but not really setting up any major storylines. The Flash and Superman meet in a park (spoiler: Superman totally comes back to life during Justice League) for a bit of off-duty hijinx. It transpires that the Flash is trying to improve his speed, and has asked Supes for a race to the coast. Superman happily obliges, and away they go, one on foot, the other a few feet above the ground. It’s frothy, but also plays well off an earlier, more stressful scene between the two, and is a nice, final hint that Henry Cavill’s Superman is finally lightening up and becoming the warm, funny, good-natured hero that Supes is at his very best. What does it mean for the future of the DCEU? Not much.
Things get a lot more serious in the second sequence. We learn that Lex Luthor has escaped prison – somehow getting out of his cell and leaving a bald body-double in his place to keep the guards busy – and is chilling out on a yacht in an undisclosed location. A smaller boat is bringing an invited visitor his way and that visitor turns out to be a certain Mr. Deathstroke.
As Deathstroke steps onto Lex’s yacht he enquires to as to why he’s been summoned. Luthor immediately expresses understanding and respect for his murderous prowess and professionalism (maintaining that he won’t waste his time, as he wants to stay alive). He goes on to observe the formation of the Justice League, and then suggests that they two of them should perhaps think about forming “a league of our own”.
Deathstroke also takes his helmet off, giving us our first look at his face, which is a great recreation of the character’s traditional, slightly grizzled, white-beard-messy-hair-and-eyepatch look. If Joe Manganiello can pull off Deathstroke’s personality as well (he’s a good actor with a lot of charisma, so there’s no reason to think he won’t), then we could be onto a winning depiction here.
Stories from the other side
Now this does raise questions. Clearly, the future of the DCEU (at least in terms of Justice League movies) is now hinged on opposition from a co-operative collective of super-villains. But which collective will it be? The comics have thrown up many over the years, from the Injustice Gang, to the Secret Society of Super Villains, to the slightly better-named, but far less original Injustice League.
The bigger picture here though, is how the assembling of such a league is going to affect the wider DCEU. Because despite currently having four movies under its belt, the franchise actually has a surprisingly low number of viable candidates. Assuming that Lex’s big plan isn’t going to split up the Suicide Squad (who have a sequel of their own in pre-production), or amount to little more than a re-brand of the existing group, then the movie universe is going to need a big influx of bad guys, and it’s going to need it pretty quick.
Now, there are plenty of great villains in the comic universe, and a lot of DCEU movies on the slate to potentially introduce them, but while the in-production list has a lot of titles, what it’s short on is hard and fast details. We can’t yet predict exactly who’s going to appear, but more importantly, with so many release dates TBC, we can’t predict when they’ll appear either. And if DC and Warner Bros. are going to give us an effective build-up to this, they’ll need to squeeze a good few films in between now and the debut of Lex’s group in (presumably) Justice League 2. Even if the new bad guys only turn up in post-credits scenes, a la Deathstroke.
2018’s Aquaman could throw someone up, and 2019’s Shazam could plausibly make Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam a member (and very welcome he’d be too). Wonder Woman 2, the solo Cyborg movie, and Green Lantern Corps should be fertile villain ground in following years as well. And with Gotham City Sirens happening at some point, there’s certainly scope for Poison Ivy and Catwoman to be established for membership too. And conspicuously, Harley Quinn and the Joker still haven’t been mentioned in relation to any standalone Batman movie, which might well keep them free to team up in Metropolis. But however it shakes down, the upshot is that the next few years of the DCEU have to focus on establishing strong, distinctive, well-rounded bad guys as well as the heroes that fans are clamouring for. It needs to be a priority. More vaguely-sketched Steppenwolf types will not do.
And what does this mean for Deathstroke himself? He was once touted to be the primary bad guy in the standalone The Batman movie, but that production is right up in the air now. And he also has a solo movie on the way, currently (excitingly) touted to be helmed by The Raid director Gareth Evans. Frankly, we do not know where all of this is going to lead, but it’s going to be very interesting to find out. But for now, just know that Deathstroke is officially in the DCEU, and he looks great.