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Zack Snyder explains the Knightmare timeline in Justice League

Ben Affleck as Batman in Zack Snyder's Justice League
(Image credit: Warner Bros./HBO Max)

Zack Snyder has clarified the timeline of the Knightmare future featured in Zack Snyder's Justice League.

The Knightmare timeline is a worst-case-scenario future, where Darkseid has succeeded in conquering Earth, and Superman has succumbed to his mind control via the Anti-Life Equation in the wake of Lois Lane's death. To prevent the apocalyptic events from coming to pass, the surviving heroes must find the perfect point to go back in time and warn Batman of what's coming – as seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where Flash burst into the Batcave. Just how far into the future these events occur, though, has never been specified in the movies.

"The actual full fall of Earth is maybe a year or two later,” Snyder told the ReelBlend Podcast, before adding, "And maybe longer, I don't know, but not 10 years, probably not five years, but somewhere, it's well..."

He revealed more about the remaining heroes, too: "They've been on the lam for a while. Because you can imagine that, long enough where they've sort of taken their eye off the Batcave as a place that they might be."

In the Snyder Cut, we see Superman holding the burned body of Lois in the Batcave, and Darkseid placing a hand on his shoulder. This is presumably the moment he falls to the villain's mind control – and is the very thing Batman and co. need to prevent from happening.

Snyder talked a bit about this Knightmare version of Superman, explaining why he switches back to his classic costume after wearing the black suit in the Snyder Cut: "He's in the black suit when he's holding the dead Lois," Snyder said, then explained, "In my mind, once he succumbs to Anti-Life, he goes back into the blue and red."

The Snyder Cut is streaming on HBO Max, and other VOD services around the world, now. If you've watched all four hours, check out our deep dives into the movie here: