Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice did a lot to set up the eagerly anticipated Justice League movies, not only by finally bringing DC's holy trinity together on the big screen, but by lining up Justice League's villains in now-traditional superhero movie fashion. The biggest of the DC Extended Universe Big Bads is of course Darkseid, a supremely powerful galactic being bent on controlling the entire cosmos. And that definitely doesn't sound familiar at all.
So what exactly is Darkseid's plan for Earth, and the galaxy for that matter? Although the DCEU has really just begun, we already know a surprising amount about all this, thanks to some key pieces of information hidden in Dawn Of Justice and hints dropped by director Zack Snyder.
Let's start at the end. Specifically, the end of Batman v Superman, and the deleted scene which Warner Bros. later released online.
Communing With The Beast
At Dawn of Justice's conclusion, we find the inscrutable Lex Luthor in a prison cell, clearly having departed from some of his senses. The tycoon is muttering to himself, delivering a cryptic warning to Batman about bells ringing in space.
The upshot of it is: Annoyed at his defeat, Luthor decided to contact some heinous intergalactic villain and invite them to Earth. And in the deleted scene, we saw how this all went down.
Why Luthor would do this is still a mystery, as is much of his motivation for his actions in Batman v Superman. But putting that aside for now, this scene shows us how Luthor used the Kryptonian database to contact Darkseid via General Steppenwolf. And here's where we can start to deduce Darkseid's plan.
Steppenwolf's involvement in the scene is very interesting, considering his role in the New 52 DC comics. In this continuity, which so far the DCEU seems to be drawing from, Steppenwolf lead an army of Darkseid's Parademons to invade Earth-2. Remember Bruce Wayne's confusing vision of a post-apocalyptic world? It's possible that the world seen in Bruce's vision isn't actually a possible future, but actually Earth-2 itself.
Of course, the Flash can travel between universes as well as through time, though he's usually aided by some form of portal technology. So, either Darkseid will visit this destruction on Earth, and Superman will go all supervillain, or this has already happened on a parallel version of Earth. Which would be very exciting, as the multiverse is one of the most interesting and ambitious aspects of DC's vast mythology.
OK, But What Does Darkseid Want?
Here's where we can thank Snyder for those lovely little plot hints, which he revealed to Empire magazine during its film podcast.
According to Snyder, Darkseid's plan is to unleash the Anti-Life Equation on Earth, bending all creatures to his will:
"Maybe he exists, out in the universe somewhere. Maybe he's looking for something, something that's against life ... I don't know."
The Anti-Life Equation is a mathematical proof that, if used correctly, can reprogram minds to forsake their free will. It's been used in various incarnations in DC Comics, most recently in the Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle series, where Darkseid utilized the internet to transmit this equation to Earth's inhabitants. Luckily, Oracle (Babara Gordon) managed to foil Darkseid's plan by shutting down the entire internet.
Unfortunately, the DCEU doesn't have an Oracle — yet (though there's strong implications that she may appear soon). What it does have is Cyborg, who might have the power to resist the Anti-Life Equation, thanks to his technopathy.
Cyborg's cameo in Dawn of Justice was possibly the most interesting and definitely the most emotionally affecting. We got to see his origin story, in all its visceral detail, as Dr. Silas Stone works to save his injured son Victor, who is near death. Of course Victor survives, thanks to a mysterious mother box, which, incidentally, is alien technology.
The mother box gives Victor new life, transforming him into Cyborg, who we know will join the Justice League. Which is convenient, as the Justice League will soon face Darkseid's Anti-Life Equation.
If Darkseid uses the internet to spread this digital disease, then Cyborg could very well foil the villain's plans. Alternatively, Cyborg could be made more vulnerable by his technopathy, allowing Darkseid to control him and take down the Justice League from within. Either way, Cyborg is sure to be pivotal to the plot of this superhero team-up movie, and we can't wait to see how it all plays out.