Note: Spoilers ahead for “Justice League.”
There was one question lingering in audiences’ minds after watching “Justice League”: Do the two very cool and surprising post-credits scenes mean anything for the future of DC on the big screen, especially after the film’s sub-$100 million opening weekend?
The first after-credits scene was mostly just a nod to hardcore fans: The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Superman (Henry Cavill) — who did indeed return from the dead, surprising absolutely no one — line up for a race across the country to see who really is the fastest man alive. That moment was pulled right out of the pages of DC Comics.
Those few seconds of speed may have been the most fun had in the “Justice League”-era of DC movies — besides “Wonder Woman,” of course. It was a lighthearted super-wink to fans from Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment that almost seemed to say, we get it, things have been dark, we’re lightening it up a little bit.
But then, almost on cue, it became much darker in the second post-credit scene, which featured a secret meeting on a yacht. The participants? Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, very much bald and freshly escaped from prison, and perhaps the biggest surprise of the entire “Justice League” movie, Joe Manganiello in his first appearance as Deathstroke.
My “Justice League” audience literally gasped at this moment, but your movie definitely has a problem if you’re more excited to see a villain that’s only there for a few seconds (Deathstroke) than the villain that was a major part of the preceding movie (Steppenwolf). As cool as it was to see two heavyweight DC villains plotting to put together a “league of their own,” fans must now wonder what this scene means for the future of the franchise.
If Lex Luthor is hinting at the Legion of Doom, a gathering of the most lethal villains and foe to the Justice League, that would mean that another potential DC movie might not have Darkseid in it. “Justice League” suffered enough by not giving fans the biggest DC bad guy there is, only ever mentioning Darkseid by name. Staying away from him again could test fans’ patience.
Then there’s the Deathstroke dilemma. While it was rumored that Deathstroke would be the villain in the next Batman movie, Matt Reeves, the director of the new bat-franchise, is redoing the script that presumably had Deathstroke in it. It’s also unknown whether Ben Affleck will want to continue as the Dark Knight. Every appearance he’s made as Bruce Wayne (“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Suicide Squad” and “Justice League”) has been critically drubbed. Affleck could decide he’s done with his cowl and may not have the desire to do a trilogy with Reeves.
So where would that leave Deathstroke? With a solo movie perhaps? While there was enough buzz from his appearance to assume that that could work, is he primarily an enemy for the Justice League now?
“Justice League’s” hazy box-office future makes it hard to predict whether these post-credits scenes are hinting at potential sequel events. It’s most likely that WB/DC will focus on their solo hero movies — “Aquaman,” a “Wonder Woman” sequel, perhaps a Flash and Superman movie, and Reeve’s upcoming Batman films
— before deciding whether it’s worth it to reunite the league again.