Zack snyderThe DC Extended Universe movies feature a series of powerful beings from outer space who are known as NewGods. These aliens are ruled by Darkseid and include his subordinates like Steppenwolf and De Saad, as well as those who would resist him. Snyder never fully explored this more cosmic side of the DC Universe, but the comics help expand the New Gods and their role in the universe.
Snyder provides the first glimpse of the new gods in Batman’s prophetic vision in Batman v. Superman, before they take center stage in League of Justice. Much of the material involving the New Gods was cut from the theatrical version of League of Justice, but the Snyder Cut offers a more complete view of the alien race. Snyder’s plans for League of Justice 2 and 3 also include Darkseid, but now it seems unlikely that these films will be completed. The New Gods were first created by legendary artist Jack Kirby after he jumped from Marvel to DC in 1970. In Kirby’s Fourth World saga, the New Gods hail from two planets, the idyllic New Genesis and the dystopian Apokolips. . While the original comics were not commercially successful to the extent that DC expected, the characters have appeared many times over the years and interacted with the more well-known DC heroes, especially Darkseid, who has become a villain who spans Marvel’s Thanos-like universe.
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The New Gods was originally going to star in its own DC movie, directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Tom King, but this project was also canceled. Based on how long DuVernay’s New gods was in development, it may have been originally intended to tie into the Snyder continuity and had to change the creative direction. As it stands, the Snyder Cut provides the most detailed look at who the New Gods are in the DC Extended Universe.
The Snyder Cut reveals that Darkseid is the arch villain of the DCEU. Lord of Apokolips, your goal is to conquer the entire multiverse using the Anti-Life Equation. Darkseid initially attempts to conquer Earth 5000 years before the present, but is rejected by an alliance of Atlanteans, Amazons, Humans, and even the Green Lantern Corps. In this battle, the New Gods are defeated by the Old Gods, traditional figures like Zeus, Ares, and Artemis.
Darkseid is called to return to Earth millennia later due to Superman’s death at the end of Batman v. Superman, which awakens the Mother Boxes he had left behind. He orders Steppenwolf to pave the way for his arrival on Earth, but even after his subordinate’s failure, he is ready to conquer Earth, the only planet that had successfully repelled him before. This conflict would have developed during League of Justice 2 and 3. Darkseid’s flashes in battle during Wonder Woman’s “history lesson” show that she has superhuman strength, speed, and toughness, and is capable of firing bolts of red energy from her eyes.
DeSaad appears by Darkseid’s side as his most loyal advisor and henchman. It is known that he lived for thousands of years and was one of the priests who attempted to command the Mother Boxes in the first battle for Earth. In all five of Snyder’s original films League of Justice arc, DeSaad would likely have played a bigger role in the plot, leading the parademon armies of Darkseid and other New Gods. In the comics, DeSaad is Darkseid’s main torturer, named for the infamous French author Marquis deSade. He has also appeared on screen alongside Darkseid in Smallville.
Granny Goodness has one more cameo in League of Justice like another of Darkseid’s generals. Despite her name, Goodness is a villain known in the original comics for running one of Apokalips’ brutal orphanages. She later becomes part of Darkseid’s elite Female Furies groups alongside Big Barda. Based on what has been revealed about Snyder’s League of Justice plans, Granny Goodness would have likely appeared in the final film invading Earth, and was also involved in the “Knightmare” timeline that Batman glimpses.
Steppenwolf serves as the main villain of League of Justiceand as the “Herald” of Darkseid. Originally Darkseid’s uncle, Steppenwolf became one of his top generals. However, sometime in the past Steppenwolf betrayed Darkseid with his galactic enemies, who made a failed effort to reclaim Darkseid’s throne. For his betrayal, Steppenwolf was exiled and tasked with conquering 150,000 worlds before he could return to Darkseid’s side. At the beginning of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, DeSaad comments that Steppenwolf still has 50,000 worlds to go, which means that he has already devastated 100,000 planets before reaching Earth.
Steppenwolf’s power and appearance changed considerably between the theatrical cut and the director of League of Justice. The Snyder Cut provides Steppenwolf with added motivation by explaining his backstory and gives him spiked armor instead of his bony look in the theatrical version. Previous movies in the DCEU were originally intended to feature Steppenwolf and build for League of Justice, In particular Suicide squad, where Steppenwolf was meant to control Enchantress, but this was later changed when DC executives turned against Snyder’s direction for the franchise.
In either version, Steppenwolf is extremely powerful, requiring all the efforts of the Justice League to take him down. He seeks to unite the Mother Boxes to discover the Anti-Life Equation, thus proving his worth to Darkseid by doing what Darkseid himself could not. In the end, Superman’s resurrection tips the balance in humanity’s favor, but not before Steppenwolf comes dangerously close to victory.
The “history lesson” flashback also shows the Apokoliptian priests working alongside Darkseid during the initial invasion of Earth. Three priests command each Mother Box and aim to create Unity to transform the Earth’s surface into a barren wasteland like Apokolips. However, his plans were thwarted by Zeus and the other Old Gods. DeSaad was a member of this group. Since they hail from Apokolips, they are also members of the New Gods race, but they were probably not as powerful as Steppenwolf, let alone Darkseid.
The new gods appearing in Zack snyderThe DCEU version barely scratches the surface of Kirby’s rich and often bizarre cast of Fourth World comics. The DuVernay now canceled New gods, or future movies involving these characters, could involve their heroic counterparts like Highfather, Mister Miracle, and Big Barda. For now, fans will have to be content with the appearances of these intriguing characters in existing films.
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