Zack Snyder’s DCEU Plans Included Superman’s Son and a Flash Trilogy

The Big Picture

  • Zack Snyder expressed interest in continuing his Snyderverse on Netflix if given the opportunity, and Netflix president Scott Stuber is open to it.
  • Snyder’s vision for the DCEU was visually spectacular, unique, and divisive, but he shouldn’t shoulder all the blame for its demise.
  • If Snyder had been allowed to continue, his plans included Darkseid coming to Earth, controlling Superman with the Anti-Life Equation, and a future battle against Darkseid with an epic, Avengers: Endgame-level showdown.

Zack Snyder‘s DCEU Snyderverse may seemingly never die, with a “faint hope” clause from Snyder himself, stating, “If Netflix had the rights to the characters from my DC universe, of course I would do it, absolutely” in an interview with Even Netflix president Scott Stuber is open to the idea. That interview is dated December 12, 2023, after the Snyderverse had “officially” been declared over by Snyder in response to a post on Vero. If, and it is a big if, the Snyderverse was allowed to continue on Netflix, it would be fascinating to see what Snyder had in mind for the DCEU. Visually spectacular? Yes. Unique? Absolutely. Divisive? You know it. But before looking at what Snyder had in mind for the DCEU, it’s only fair to add that, as the old proverb goes, “it takes two to tango.” Snyder’s vision still had to fall within the scope of what Warner Bros. was asking for, meaning Snyder shouldn’t shoulder all the blame for its demise.

Zack Snyder Gave a Glimpse of His DCEU Plans

Zack Snyder, Ben Affleck, and Gal Gadot on the set of Justice League 
Image via Warner Bros. 

Snyder’s involvement in the creation of the DC Extended Universe began with Man of Steel in 2013. He was brought in to direct the film, which was being overlooked by the creative team behind the Dark Knight trilogy. Nevertheless, Snyder’s fingerprints are all over the film: a slate-gray world, grandiose action pieces, a fully-realized Krypton, and the divisive act of Superman (Henry Cavill) snapping the neck of General Zod (Michael Shannon) before he could take the lives of innocent bystanders. Man of Steel made big money and was critically well-received, but it wasn’t MCU big money, and it wasn’t MCU beloved. Any plans for another solo adventure with Superman fell to the wayside, with Warner looking to expedite the creation of a DCEU. Then, as referenced in the previously cited Forbes article, fate intervened. While talking about plans for a follow-up, Snyder suggested that “it would be cool if he [Superman] faced Batman.” Batman never came off the table after that, with Warner much more confident in Batman’s box-office potential than Superman’s. The keys to the DCEU were now in Snyder’s hands, and he began plotting out the franchise’s future.


‘Superman: Legacy’ Can’t Repeat This DC Storytelling Mistake

This has been the downfall of recent Superman adaptations.

The public’s introduction to those plans came with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The film received mixed reviews, and its $874,360,194 box-office take, although better than Man of Steel‘s, was below expectations (a whole article could be devoted to Warner Bros.’ “expectations”). What it did do was introduce two figures pivotal to Snyder’s plans: Ben Affleck‘s Batman and Gal Gadot‘s Wonder Woman. It also laid the foundation for what appeared to be Snyder’s endgame, a scene in which Bruce Wayne dreams about a postapocalyptic world where he leads rebels against an evil Superman, before being awakened by the Flash (Ezra Miller), who appears in a portal delivering a cryptic message before vanishing.

The realization of what that sequence was referencing wouldn’t be played out until years later, with the release of 2021’s Zack Snyder’s Justice League. While both the Snyder Cut and the Justice League theatrical release introduce Darkseid and Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), only the end of the Snyder Cut expands the scope of Bruce Wayne’s Knightmare dream, revealing at least part of what Snyder’s vision would have led to. The world is being ruled by Darkseid, Lois Lane (Amy Adams) is dead, Superman is evil, and Batman is leading a team of heroes and villains, including Jared Leto‘s Joker, in rebellion, and fans everywhere were left wondering what could have been.

Zack Snyder’s Vision of the DCEU Was Expansive

Had Snyder been allowed to continue with the DCEU, the follow-up to Justice League would have been insane. In an interview with GQ, Snyder explains what would have happened next. Hold on. Darkseid would come to Earth. Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) has found the Anti-Life Equation, a thing that allows you to control all will, and teams up with the Riddler, who deciphers it. Luthor hands over the deciphered equation to Darkseid, telling him that “if you kill [pregnant] Lois Lane, you will be able to control Superman, and he will succumb to the Anti-Life Equation.” Darkseid and Superman battle, but Darkseid finds his way to the Batcave, where Lois is hiding. Batman isn’t able to save Lois, and Superman arrives just in time to see Lois killed. Grief-stricken, Superman falls to the Anti-Life Equation, as Luthor promised, and the Earth falls under Darkseid’s control.

The action would then cut to the future of the Knightmare sequence, disclosing the rebel band’s objective: find one of the Mother Boxes, use it and Cyborg’s (Ray Fisher) smarts to send Flash back in time to give Bruce an advantage over Darkseid, saving Lois. It’s revealed that the Joker is on hand because only he knows where there is a stash of Kryptonite and where the Mother Box is. Flash jumps back in time, creating a new timeline where Bruce sacrifices himself to save Lois. Superman doesn’t fall to the Anti-Life Equation as a result, and the final act would have seen an epic, Avengers: Endgame-level battle between Darkseid, his minions, and the New Gods versus the armies of man, Atlanteans, and Themysicarans (a previous reveal would have explained how Wonder Woman has Kryptonian blood in her veins). The good guys win, and 20 years later we catch up with Superman’s son, powerless, who becomes the new Batman.

The end. Right? Wrong. According to Jay Oliva, a storyboard artist on several of the DCEU movies, the Snyderverse would continue on, revealing an M. Night Shyamalan-level twist. The Flash movie we got would have been radically different, with director Rick Famuyiwa at the helm. The Flash would have been a trilogy, and one that set up none other than Eobard Thawne, aka Reverse Flash, as the true big bad of the DC Universe. He was the one pulling the strings behind everything in the DCEU, and the Snyderverse would have ended with an adaptation of Flashpoint (which was the inspiration for the movie we got), which would have made a clean ending to Snyder’s vision. Additionally, it would have sidestepped the issue that Marvel is currently dealing with. Rather than try to craft a new narrative in a convoluted universe after the big event film, Snyder’s plan would have allowed for a full reboot, a new cast, everything, without having to explain a damn thing. Whether that reboot would have seen a Snyderverse Part II, we’ll never know.

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