Cinematic Justice League: Origins Speculation

Forget what you knew, in the upcoming cinematic Justice League, Wonder Woman IS Supergirl!

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(Artwork by Isikol, a most talented artist and dear friend)

Blasphemy you say? Read on if you dare. There are many more in store...

Start-Off Point

Aside the alleged “no jokes” mandate by Warner Bros, little is known --much less confirmed-- about the cinematic Justice League. Yet with the proper deductive process, even tidbits can be more than enough. All we have to do is put ourselves in the script-writer's shoes.

General Facts

The Box Office spoke. David S. Goyer’s work on the Dark Knight and Man of Steel was exactly what DC was looking for all along. Green Lantern was the last nail on the TV-Batman-humor coffin. Hence the “no jokes” mandate for all upcoming DC transitions to the big screen. Cheers for the new approach:  “how would these heroes really be if they existed in OUR world”. It may be grim, it may be depressive for some, but the point is, it has not only been proven tentpole-profitable, it’s relatable. So the question is, from a writer’s perspective, how can one keep this going with Justice League?

The main problem with JL is to put it plain, it’s too “colorful”. Not speaking solely about costumes, but the whole origins-lore. The main difference between Marvel’s cinematic Avengers and JL is that the Avengers, with the single exception of Thor, are extraordinary individuals that come from our world. And they fit in so smoothly. Tony Stark is the brilliant billionaire tech-freak, Steve Rogers an army experiment, Bruce Banner a lab accident etc. Unlike them, Wonder Woman, Shazam, Aquaman, involve quite over-the-top societies and mythologies that have a really tough time being realistically introduced to our world. Atlantis, Themyscira, the Speed Force, you get the idea. Now Thor and Superman work as aliens. It’s a sci-fi take. You can accept that much, as long as it’s done in measure. Overplay the “aliens” card, and it falls apart. In the Avengers ensemble, every previous stand-alone movie revolved around the alien technology of Thor’s world. That was the one exotic element. JL needs that kind of unison to work. Now Goyer surely needed no one to tell him so. And it’s pretty clear he took appropriate steps way in advance.


Wonder Woman

As we know, Diana will be having a cameo (maybe more) in Batman V Superman. Now what does this mean story-wise? Is she an amazon? Do amazons still exist on an invisible island? Does she fly an invisible plane? Does the entire Greek Pantheon exist in hiding?

That might be unprobable.

“How can it be? It’s the lore!”

The answer is simple. Kryptonite was canon too. So were Clark’s “Kryptonian glasses of identity concealment”. Sacred cows were killed for MoS to work. Diana’s cows are far less sacred. She sells less.

So how would her story play out to be consistent with MoS? Remember that empty-opened capsule in the ancient Kryptonian spaceship? There was also a prequel comic to MoS that told the story of that craft. Kara Zor-El was the occupant of the open capsule, implying that she will soon be making an appearance in the new DC cinematic universe.

Kara Zor-El is Wonder Woman.

“How can it be? Superman ages just fine! Kara should be 18,000 old by now.”

Growing up is quite different to growing old. Growing up is taking the full grown form of one’s species. We’ve seen Clark grow up just fine. After all why shouldn’t he? However, growing old is a process of deterioration. Superman is invulnerable. His cells do not decay. Kryptonians on Earth should never grow old, after they reach adulthood. Think The Man from Earth, a brilliant sci-fi scenario were a Magdalenian (pre-historic) man has survived to this day.

So it’s quite reasonable for Kara Zor-El to have similarly survived throughout the relatively “recent” history of man. It makes quite enough sense she would be a part of a female warrior culture. Even deified. Would that culture have survived? There's no story-serving reason why it should. In fact it’d cause some make-believe trouble. But Diana – Kara could still live by the principles of her ancient sisterhood. Hence the Amazon suit and the heroic persona.


Goyer said the only way he could see the story of Superman making sense, would be as a first-contact story. He was right. The implications of Superman’s existence are huge for mankind. Now consider Aquaman. How insane would it be if another human-species survived on our planet without us knowing? Not to mention how threatening, especially if they were genetically superior in every way. Homo Neanderthal could not co-exist with Homo Sapiens. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes expands on this premise in modern times quite imaginatively, placing two intelligent species battling for dominance/survival.

Aquaman is superior in every way. From a story-telling standpoint this demands his superior species to be immensely outnumbered by ours. It’s important story-wise to keep a balance, both sides evenly matched. Otherwise it’d lead to a very quick war. Though such a confrontation, like in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, is highly likely to be the theme of an Aquaman movie. The two species meeting up, being threatened by one another, conflict scaling up until resolved only in the brink of a nuclear all out war.

On a different note concerning the lore of Aquaman, it's unlikely Poseidon and Triton to be involved, at least not as Greek Gods. It just can’t work in the realistic theme of MoS. So, how could Atlantian existence be explained?

One possibility is Aquaman will be a part of a human aquatic species that evolved secluded in the deep. Quite likely very few remaining and unaware of human civilization, or even having forgotten of it. Superman would be the first to become aware of their existence (super hearing and super sight). Again a first contact scenario.

A better possibility though, that serves unison in a far better way, is the aquatic species to be a crossbreed of men and Kryptonians. Think Kara Zor-El again. She’s been on Earth for 18,000 years. Whether or not she is Wonder Woman, her children could have voluntarily removed themselves from their weaker cousins, providing an answer to “where has Aquaman been all along?” They are absent because we are too fragile for them, and it didn’t go that well in the distant past.


The safest Cyborg bet that supports cohesion, would be him being a military experiment on the technology recovered from the debris of Zod’s ships. Or to take it a bit further, a Kryptonian-tech experiment conducted by Lexcorp, with US military funding. That would not only put Lex originally in a sanctioned by the government spot, but also pit Cyborg (as Lex’s henchman) against Superman and Batman. It would offer the two titular antagonists a story excuse to join forces. Most importantly, this scenario would give Cyborg a story-opportunity to transform from villain to hero, by transcending his programming mandates and regaining his humanity. Pretty much Robocop.

Martian Manhunter

There have been no announcements that the Martian Manhunter will be in JL. Only a rumor that he might be portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, which the actor said it’s the funniest rumor he’s heard and he’ll let it hang there.  But there’s this crazy vibe from MoS that discards Cumberbatch. Remember the scene where Superman is in detention and just stands up, breaks his hand-cuffs and walks up to the glass wall. General Swanwick’s firm expression and body language screamed Martian Manhunter. Also he was never surprised by any of the alien stuff. He looked like he was appraising it all. In fact, the first time we see him making an observation it’s: “I’m only speculating here, but it seems to me whoever is on the helm of that ship, wants to make a dramatic entrance”. It could be mind-reading too. Of course he could very well be just an unshakable military man, assessing a situation. But think how it would serve the story if the General, tasked with monitoring Superman, is an extra-terrestrial in hiding. He would be just the one to make a super-hero military department happen.

In fact, Goyer created a massive fan-uproar, because of a podcast where he commented on his viewing of She-Hulk and the Martian Manhunter. Without getting too deep on this, the man stated the obvious from a writer’s POV. But what we should really keep from that podcast, is Goyer has more than entertained the MM idea. Two of his podcast points particularly stand out. One, he said the “Martian” part is goofy. He should be called just “Manhunter”. This confirms the realistic approach that all the new films will be taking. That discards any incompatible over-the-top canonical origins. Second, Goyer observed that while the MM has these tremendous psychic powers, he simply becomes a homicide-detective, rather than reading say, the president’s mind. “Dare to dream!” This means that, in the movie, the Manhunter will have a more important and powerful secret identity, than just that of a low-scale detective. Which in turn supports the General Swanwick hypothesis.

Finally, if this is accurate, Superman would probably have been able to tell there’s something very un-humanly off with Swanwick’s physiology. Now think of Superman’s last line to him: “I don’t know, General. I’ll just have to trust you…” In the light of the new theory, doesn’t this sound too much like Lois’ welcome to the planet” wink?

The Flash

This is a really tough one. In an old interview, Goyer had expanded on the thematic flaw of the Flash, the way he sees it. The Flash is so fast that he misses on life. In essence, he needs to slow down. He is a symbol of how we live our modern lives, obsessed with short-term pay off, that we miss not only the big picture, but all the small moments that matter. It’s a meaningful interpretation. Now the problem is, when you take a symbolic approach, the new origin must serve as a penance story, one sin that the hero must spend his entire life atoning for. Like Hercules and the slaying of his family. Like in the Nolan Batman, young Bruce leading his parents to getting murder because of his fear. Or... with a Groundhog Day approach. Remember the cynic Frank (Bill Murray), forced to live the same day over and over, until he becomes a better person. We never knew why but we understood why. In fact, in the original script there was a scene where a gypsy woman cast Frank that weird curse. But it was omitted as it served no purpose. The story was symbolic. Who cares why Frank lived the same day over and over again? Totally not the point. Symbolism is hardly the exclusive property of comedy. If we understand that the Flash pays his dues for a terrible character flaw, a few obscure hints will work just as good - if not better - than a full sci-fi explanation.

On the other hand, if such an approach isn’t taken, then the single sci-fi justification that links in any way to MoS, is that the Flash carries some long-lost ultra-rare gene from a far off Kryptonian ancestor. Much like the X-Factor. Just not the Speed Force. It makes no sense whatsoever. In fact, in the spirit of unison, if the Flash’s extraordinary speed is to be related to any other JL’s origin, a good alternate candidate is Shazam. Remember Speed of Mercury? Which finally brings us to:


Dwayne Johnson’s recent revelation he’ll be starring in Shazam as Black Adam really sets the problem. Don’t expect to hear the name “Black Adam” used, unless in a joke-like fashion similar to “Superman”. Now Shazam is a hero that hails all the way from mythology. Strength of Hercules, Speed of Mercury etc. MoS was exclusively sci-fi. It’s highly unlikely there will be a metaphysical element in the new DC cinematic universe. A fair guess is that Shazam’s origin will be a sci-fi mix of Stargate meets The Mummy. To tie things up, the Manhunter’s alien civilization could be the one that built the pyramids, and the one responsible for the Shazam “spell”. In any case wizards or talking tigers are unlikely.

Of course a movie always has the need for antagonists. Even after the JL has been assembled, who would they fight? Lex? How many times? The origin of Shazam, however it may be played out, could very well be the answer to that opponent-void.

The main thing is unison.


  Author Bio
Demosthenes Daskaleas Image

Demosthenes Daskaleas

Born in 1980 in Athens-Greece, Demosthenes Daskaleas is an Architect Eng, the owner of Deimos Comics and the writer of its two series, Kingdom of Light and Theoktonia.