How To Make A Justice League Movie With Darkseid (READ FIRST)

#1 Edited by OutlawRenegade (1251 posts) - - Show Bio

Earlier this week, a rumor was released revealing that the villain in the Justice League movie will be Darkseid.

If Warner Brothers decides to go the Darkseid route with Justice League, things can still work--even if Marvel uses Thanos. You just have to do everything (acting, writing, directing, casting, scoring, etc.) better than Marvel does, and you have to give your film a different tone than the films Marvel has. Tonally, we'll probably see something moody and epic like Man of Steel or The Dark Knight Rises. This article will focus on writing and where Will Beall should draw inspiration from.

Mr. Beall has two jobs to do. 1) He has to tell an amazing Justice League origin story. 2) He has to tell an amazing Darkseid story. And at most he has 2.5-3 hours to tell his tale. His task would be made easier if he borrowed small parts from certain comics in the same way that Nolan borrowed heavily from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. Not all of the comics that I recommend are great comics, but they do have legitimate bits and pieces to borrow from.

For Mr. Beall to tell a good Darkseid story, I recommend that he borrows from:

1) Final Crisis by Grant Morrison

Premise: What happens when evil wins? That's the Justice League and every being in the DCU have to face when Darkseid and his otherworldly legion actually win the war between light and dark.

Key Scene(s):

2) Legends by John Ostrander and Len Wein

Premise: The villainous Darkseid has a scheme. With his vast resources, he will cause the people of Earth (including members of the U.S. government) to despise and rebel against their heroes. Then he will be able to conquer the planet. That is unless the heroes of Earth can unite into the greatest incarnation of the Justice League ever seen.

*Note: You can probably tell that I'm a fan of turning the entire planet against the Justice League. This could be an opportunity for Darkseid to harness the psychic energies of the classic Justice League villain Starro. If you use Starro though, make him as Lovecraftian as possible!

Key Scene(s):

3) Superman/Batman: Supergirl by Jeph Loeb

Premise: Batman discovers a mysterious teen-aged girl with super-human powers and a connection to Superman. When the girl comes to the attention of Darkseid, the evil overlord of Apokolips, events take a decidedly dangerous turn.

Key Scene(s):

For Mr. Beall to tell a good Justice League story, I recommend that he borrows from:

1) Justice League: Origin (Only issues 1-4) by Geoff Johns

Premise: In a world where inexperienced superheroes operate under a cloud of suspicion from the public, loner vigilante Batman has stumbled upon a dark evil that threatens to destroy the earth as we know it. Now, faced with a threat far beyond anything he can handle on his own, the Dark Knight must trust Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Flash, and Aquaman. Will this combination of legends be able to put aside their differences and come together to save the world? Or will they destroy each other first?

*Note: While this story falls apart in the 5th and 6th issues, it starts with a lot of genuinely great ideas and moments. The Justice League should be the ultimate team, but they shouldn't start that way. The audience wants to see how they grow into the most iconic band of superheroes ever. And that's why Justice League: Origin should be borrowed from. That and the fact that it manages to mix humor with drama to keep the story from getting too bleak. Furthermore, basing the film on the current iteration of the Justice League could bring new fans into the comic book realm.

Key Scene(s):

2) Justice League: The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke

Premise: The New Frontier is the epic tale of the founding of the Justice League. Strangers at first, these very different heroes must overcome fear and suspicion to forge an alliance against a monster so formidable, no one hero can not stop it. If they fail, our entire planet will be "cleansed" of humanity.

*Note: This story is notable because it wasn't just popcorn fun. It had something to say about the time period it was set in and humanity in general. Powerful themes like the ones found in this book could push the quality of DC's movies ahead of Marvel's flashy fluff.

Key Scene(s):

Other Sources For Special Moments:

Bruce Timm's cartoon is filled with epic moments. Check some out in these videos:

And I think everyone knows the Grant Morrison's run on Justice League has a plethora of breath-takingly badass moments too.

Am I forgetting anything? I'd like to see your suggestions for source material below!

#2 Posted by SupBatz (1775 posts) - - Show Bio

Gotta love that Batman vs. Darkseid clip.

#3 Posted by Captain13 (3385 posts) - - Show Bio

Well thought out and well written. I hope Warner takes your points to heart, man.

#4 Edited by Superdork (917 posts) - - Show Bio

You touched on a lot of the story elements that I'd also like to see covered. Good job.

Now I'll add my 2 cents about directing, producing, and casting.

For directing, I'd like to see the Wachowskis do this. They know comics well enough to rip off Grant Morrison and create the first Matrix film. They are great with grand, epic visuals (see Cloud Atlas). They just need a good script from Will Beall and a good producer to reign them in.

Speaking of producers, I really hope that Warner can convince Nolan to produce just one more movie to help set the tone of their universe and attract talented actors.

Speaking of actors, I'd like to see:

(I based the roster both on my personal preference and this.)

And finally, I'd like to see some cool aerial stuff like Green Lantern's scenes in this clip:

#5 Posted by YMCMB (160 posts) - - Show Bio

I. Am. The. New. God.

Good points, this movie is already starting to feel a bit rushed, but I'm hoping for the best. And Darkseid can be an amazing villain if done well.

#6 Posted by CrimsonCake (2679 posts) - - Show Bio

I think that moment when Flash runs around the world should definitely be in the movie.

#7 Posted by AtPhantom (14521 posts) - - Show Bio

@OutlawRenegade:I absolutely disagree with Origins and Supergirl. The two are basically worthless as stories go, let alone Darkseid stories.

I'd add Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle and JLA: Rock of Ages to the list of inspirations.

#8 Posted by colonyofcells (2038 posts) - - Show Bio

I prefer a secret invasion story wherein Godfrey, Desaad, Kalibak, Kanto, Granny, Mantis, Black Racer, Bedlam, etc. are all already in disguise on earth plotting to mind control all the earthlings. I prefer Darkseid as a planner in the first Justice League movie. I don't really see Darkseid as somebody who will ever do any work himself since he is a ruler. Similarly, Highfather does not go around doing hand to hand combat with people.

#9 Posted by Superdork (917 posts) - - Show Bio

@AtPhantom said:

@OutlawRenegade:I absolutely disagree with Origins and Supergirl. The two are basically worthless as stories go, let alone Darkseid stories.

I'd add Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle and JLA: Rock of Ages to the list of inspirations.

I'm a fan of Justice League: Origin myself, so I'd like to see parts of it borrowed from--like each character having a distinct personality unlike many other Justice League stories.

Rock of Ages is basically a shorter version of Final Crisis when you think about it. I thought Rock of Ages was really compressed though. Final Crisis had its issues too. I could still see a movie borrowing parts of both though.

I haven't read Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle. Can you post any noteworthy scenes from it?

#10 Posted by AtPhantom (14521 posts) - - Show Bio

@Superdork said:

I'm a fan of Justice League: Origin myself, so I'd like to see parts of it borrowed from--like each character having a distinct personality unlike many other Justice League stories.

It misses a lot of key notes on those personalities though. I would cringe to see Batman or Superman or Cyborg based on it.

More than that, it's incredibly lazy. Heroes fight not because they have good reason to, but because in a comic like this heroes fight. The villain is amazingly bland and serves as nothing more than a monster for them to fight, and it keeps tripping over it's own points through bad storytelling. There are other, far better stories that did what it attempted to do with much more quality.

@Superdork said:

Rock of Ages is basically a shorter version of Final Crisis when you think about it. I thought Rock of Ages was really compressed though. Final Crisis had its issues too. I could still see a movie borrowing parts of both though.

Yeah, but they differ in some key respect, and both represent a wealth of inspiration to draw upon.

I can't post from SS right now, but it basically serves as a prequel to Final Crisis, showing how Darkseid and co got into their bodies after the destruction of Apokolips and New Genesis.

#11 Posted by OutlawRenegade (1251 posts) - - Show Bio

@AtPhantom said:

@Superdork said:

I'm a fan of Justice League: Origin myself, so I'd like to see parts of it borrowed from--like each character having a distinct personality unlike many other Justice League stories.

It misses a lot of key notes on those personalities though. I would cringe to see Batman or Superman or Cyborg based on it.

More than that, it's incredibly lazy. Heroes fight not because they have good reason to, but because in a comic like this heroes fight. The villain is amazingly bland and serves as nothing more than a monster for them to fight, and it keeps tripping over it's own points through bad storytelling. There are other, far better stories that did what it attempted to do with much more quality.

@Superdork said:

Rock of Ages is basically a shorter version of Final Crisis when you think about it. I thought Rock of Ages was really compressed though. Final Crisis had its issues too. I could still see a movie borrowing parts of both though.

Yeah, but they differ in some key respect, and both represent a wealth of inspiration to draw upon.

I can't post from SS right now, but it basically serves as a prequel to Final Crisis, showing how Darkseid and co got into their bodies after the destruction of Apokolips and New Genesis.

You make good points about the flaws in Justice League: Origin, which is why I don't think it should be the only thing borrowed from. I don't know about all the concepts in Seven Soldiers though. It seems a little silly to have a mob boss Darkseid and a pimp Granny Goodness. How would you make those things work believably in a Man of Steel type world? I'm legit curious.

#12 Posted by AtPhantom (14521 posts) - - Show Bio

@OutlawRenegade said:

You make good points about the flaws in Justice League: Origin, which is why I don't think it should be the only thing borrowed from. I don't know about all the concepts in Seven Soldiers though. It seems a little silly to have a mob boss Darkseid and a pimp Granny Goodness. How would you make those things work believably in a Man of Steel type world? I'm legit curious.

I wouldn't. I mentioned it mostly as a study in characterization. That comic was one of the few times where I took Desaad and Granny as the pure evil they are and just bloody nuisances. SS is also excellent in handling the New Gods as truly cosmic beings rather than just powerful aliens, something I'd like to see more of.

Although, now that I think about it, avatars of the New Gods or themselves in disguise setting up a stage for the fall of the heroes in the first half and then revealing themselves in all their glory once the heroes are gone would make a pretty good story, don't you think?

#13 Posted by OutlawRenegade (1251 posts) - - Show Bio

@AtPhantom said:

@OutlawRenegade said:

You make good points about the flaws in Justice League: Origin, which is why I don't think it should be the only thing borrowed from. I don't know about all the concepts in Seven Soldiers though. It seems a little silly to have a mob boss Darkseid and a pimp Granny Goodness. How would you make those things work believably in a Man of Steel type world? I'm legit curious.

I wouldn't. I mentioned it mostly as a study in characterization. That comic was one of the few times where I took Desaad and Granny as the pure evil they are and just bloody nuisances. SS is also excellent in handling the New Gods as truly cosmic beings rather than just powerful aliens, something I'd like to see more of.

Although, now that I think about it, avatars of the New Gods or themselves in disguise setting up a stage for the fall of the heroes in the first half and then revealing themselves in all their glory once the heroes are gone would make a pretty good story, don't you think?

I've always believed that film makers can do anything as long as they do it well. So, yes. =)

#14 Posted by SmashBrawler (5946 posts) - - Show Bio

@AtPhantom said:

I absolutely disagree with Origins and Supergirl. The two are basically worthless as stories go, let alone Darkseid stories.

I'd add Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle and JLA: Rock of Ages to the list of inspirations.

Damn, I was about to make this exact same post (pretty much) :P

#15 Posted by AtPhantom (14521 posts) - - Show Bio

To be honest though, my main problem with using Darkseid in a JLA movie is that it will inevitably chop away most parts of his character related to the New Gods. That's the real issue here. In comics, you can just stick Darkseid against the world because everyone already knows the backstory and nobody will really mind if the rest of his cast isn't there. But in a movie? His presentation and backstory would be far too large and problematic to translate to the screen.

If you decide to do a full expose on his backstory then you need to include other New Gods in the movie as well. Otherwise the backstory would be pointless. But then it becomes partially a New Gods movie, because their conflict is the primary one, and the JLA is just caught in the middle.

On the other hand, if you don't give his backstory, then you loose much of what Darkseid is. You end up with a generic space tyrant looking to conquer Earth for fun and profit. In other words, Mongul. And if that's the case, you might as well just call the guy Mongul and spare a character from butchering.

That's basically the big reason why I don't think Darkseid would work in a JLA movie.

#16 Posted by Superdork (917 posts) - - Show Bio

@AtPhantom said:

To be honest though, my main problem with using Darkseid in a JLA movie is that it will inevitably chop away most parts of his character related to the New Gods. That's the real issue here. In comics, you can just stick Darkseid against the world because everyone already knows the backstory and nobody will really mind if the rest of his cast isn't there. But in a movie? His presentation and backstory would be far too large and problematic to translate to the screen.

If you decide to do a full expose on his backstory then you need to include other New Gods in the movie as well. Otherwise the backstory would be pointless. But then it becomes partially a New Gods movie, because their conflict is the primary one, and the JLA is just caught in the middle.

On the other hand, if you don't give his backstory, then you loose much of what Darkseid is. You end up with a generic space tyrant looking to conquer Earth for fun and profit. In other words, Mongul. And if that's the case, you might as well just call the guy Mongul and spare a character from butchering.

That's basically the big reason why I don't think Darkseid would work in a JLA movie.

After Justice League, you could do some kind of New Gods spin-off. I mean, if Guardians of the Galaxy can get a film, the New Gods could theoretically get one too.

Despero could also be a great choice of villain--especially if you give him religious overtones.

#17 Posted by AtPhantom (14521 posts) - - Show Bio

@Superdork said:

After Justice League, you could do some kind of New Gods spin-off. I mean, if Guardians of the Galaxy can get a film, the New Gods could theoretically get one too.

Despero could also be a great choice of villain--especially if you give him religious overtones.

That's putting the cart before the horse though. The point of a New Gods spin off should be to introduce us to the premises of the setting so that the JLA movies doesn't have to waste time on it. Having it come after JLA would achieve nothing.

#18 Posted by Superdork (917 posts) - - Show Bio

@AtPhantom said:

@Superdork said:

After Justice League, you could do some kind of New Gods spin-off. I mean, if Guardians of the Galaxy can get a film, the New Gods could theoretically get one too.

Despero could also be a great choice of villain--especially if you give him religious overtones.

That's putting the cart before the horse though. The point of a New Gods spin off should be to introduce us to the premises of the setting so that the JLA movies doesn't have to waste time on it. Having it come after JLA would achieve nothing.

I disagree. You can see in bits of info in Justice League and expand in another film. That's why Justice League is supposed to come first anyway. The best comparison I can make is how the Star Wars movies relate to one another. The universe expands with each sequel or prequel, and you don't need to tell stories sequentially, you know. That's just the way I see it.

#19 Posted by AtPhantom (14521 posts) - - Show Bio

@Superdork said:

I disagree. You can see in bits of info in Justice League and expand in another film. That's why Justice League is supposed to come first anyway. The best comparison I can make is how the Star Wars movies relate to one another. The universe expands with each sequel or prequel, and you don't need to tell stories sequentially, you know. That's just the way I see it.

Yeah, but the problem with that is that the premise of Star Wars is all the same. New Gods are a foreign element in a JLA movie. One we have no connection and require introduction to. You need to have that so that the audience doesn't go "Huh wtf?" If you put the JLA as the first movie, then the JLA still has to deal with that.

To further the analogy, it would be like if half way through Return of the Jedi the Emperor was revealed to be a Borg. You're now stuck with a choice of spending half a movie on the issue of what a Borg is and how they got into such a position in the SW galaxy, or just moving along, promising a Borg spin-off that will reveal all the questions, but leaving the audience asking "What the freaking hell just happened here?" Neither way really works.

#20 Posted by Or35ti (1101 posts) - - Show Bio

@Superdork: I wouldn't want the Wachowski's to direct. They've only had one good film and that was the original Matrix. The Justice League movie shouldn't just be about big action and spectacles, it should be good on an artistic level as well.

#21 Posted by Superdork (917 posts) - - Show Bio

@Or35ti said:

@Superdork: I wouldn't want the Wachowski's to direct. They've only had one good film and that was the original Matrix. The Justice League movie shouldn't just be about big action and spectacles, it should be good on an artistic level as welL

That's why I would have someone like Nolan reign them in the same way Nolan has been reigning in Zak Snyder. I also said a good script was a caveat. The can do scope and they know comics. If someone better came along, I'd take someone better.

#22 Posted by Superdork (917 posts) - - Show Bio

@AtPhantom said:

@Superdork said:

I disagree. You can see in bits of info in Justice League and expand in another film. That's why Justice League is supposed to come first anyway. The best comparison I can make is how the Star Wars movies relate to one another. The universe expands with each sequel or prequel, and you don't need to tell stories sequentially, you know. That's just the way I see it.

Yeah, but the problem with that is that the premise of Star Wars is all the same. New Gods are a foreign element in a JLA movie. One we have no connection and require introduction to. You need to have that so that the audience doesn't go "Huh wtf?" If you put the JLA as the first movie, then the JLA still has to deal with that.

To further the analogy, it would be like if half way through Return of the Jedi the Emperor was revealed to be a Borg. You're now stuck with a choice of spending half a movie on the issue of what a Borg is and how they got into such a position in the SW galaxy, or just moving along, promising a Borg spin-off that will reveal all the questions, but leaving the audience asking "What the freaking hell just happened here?" Neither way really works.

Good point... You could introduce Darkseid the same way that the Lord of the Rings introduced Sauron...

#23 Posted by AtPhantom (14521 posts) - - Show Bio

@Superdork said:

Good point... You could introduce Darkseid the same way that the Lord of the Rings introduced Sauron...

But that runs back into the problem of backstory. Sauron's main conflict was with the people of Middle earth, the protagonists of the movie. Darkseid' main conflict isn't with the protagonists of this movie. So your options are to have your backstory include the entire cold war in heaven between Apokolips and New Genesis, at which point you have to include that war as part of the story too, otherwise there's no point in introducing them at all. The other option is to completely cut out the Apokolips - New Genesis conflict and present a new conflict for Darkseid, at which you've hacked off an important part of his character.

See what I mean how it's a mess to pull off? Now to be clear, I don't think Darkseid would be impossible to pull off, but it would take several movies and a build-up like that of the Avengers to do it. Darkseid can work as a first movie villain.

#24 Posted by SandMan_ (4528 posts) - - Show Bio
@AtPhantom said:

To be honest though, my main problem with using Darkseid in a JLA movie is that it will inevitably chop away most parts of his character related to the New Gods. That's the real issue here. In comics, you can just stick Darkseid against the world because everyone already knows the backstory and nobody will really mind if the rest of his cast isn't there. But in a movie? His presentation and backstory would be far too large and problematic to translate to the screen.

If you decide to do a full expose on his backstory then you need to include other New Gods in the movie as well. Otherwise the backstory would be pointless. But then it becomes partially a New Gods movie, because their conflict is the primary one, and the JLA is just caught in the middle.

On the other hand, if you don't give his backstory, then you loose much of what Darkseid is. You end up with a generic space tyrant looking to conquer Earth for fun and profit. In other words, Mongul. And if that's the case, you might as well just call the guy Mongul and spare a character from butchering.

That's basically the big reason why I don't think Darkseid would work in a JLA movie.

A New Gods movie before the Justice League then?
#25 Posted by Superdork (917 posts) - - Show Bio

@AtPhantom said:

@Superdork said:

Good point... You could introduce Darkseid the same way that the Lord of the Rings introduced Sauron...

But that runs back into the problem of backstory. Sauron's main conflict was with the people of Middle earth, the protagonists of the movie. Darkseid' main conflict isn't with the protagonists of this movie. So your options are to have your backstory include the entire cold war in heaven between Apokolips and New Genesis, at which point you have to include that war as part of the story too, otherwise there's no point in introducing them at all. The other option is to completely cut out the Apokolips - New Genesis conflict and present a new conflict for Darkseid, at which you've hacked off an important part of his character.

See what I mean how it's a mess to pull off? Now to be clear, I don't think Darkseid would be impossible to pull off, but it would take several movies and a build-up like that of the Avengers to do it. Darkseid can work as a first movie villain.

Hmmm, well I guess that means they will change his background and motivation like they have in the New 52. For example, in Justice League: Origin, he was looking for his daughter instead of the ant-life equation. And there hasn't been any mention of Apokolips and New Genesis being at war. That may have been wiped from continuity. Guess we'll have to read Wonder Woman to find out.

If they do change Darkseid's motivation for the film, then they will probably implement those changes in the comics before the movie comes out. Sort of like getting rid of Superman's undies, adding Cyborg to the roster and pushing 6 Justice Leaguers through various channels so that people get used to seeing them together, etc.

in sum: time will tell. I think Darkseid can be done, but you've shown me that would require serious changes to his mythology. I wouldn't be surprised if we see those changes in the comics within the next two years.

#26 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (33884 posts) - - Show Bio

seems legit

#27 Posted by colonyofcells (2038 posts) - - Show Bio

I prefer HIghfather and New Genesis be introduced in a spin off New Gods movie. For a 2nd JLA movie, just don't use Darkseid anymore and give Darkseid to the New Gods movies instead.

#28 Posted by AtPhantom (14521 posts) - - Show Bio

@Superdork said:

Hmmm, well I guess that means they will change his background and motivation like they have in the New 52. For example, in Justice League: Origin, he was looking for his daughter instead of the ant-life equation. And there hasn't been any mention of Apokolips and New Genesis being at war. That may have been wiped from continuity. Guess we'll have to read Wonder Woman to find out.

Just as a heads up, if that has actually happened I will torch DC down. With the lemons.

@SandMan_ said:

A New Gods movie before the Justice League then?

I doubt that would happen though. And I don't know if it could happen without looking like they're ripping off Marvel's strategy.

#29 Posted by entropy_aegis (15451 posts) - - Show Bio

@AtPhantom said:

To be honest though, my main problem with using Darkseid in a JLA movie is that it will inevitably chop away most parts of his character related to the New Gods. That's the real issue here. In comics, you can just stick Darkseid against the world because everyone already knows the backstory and nobody will really mind if the rest of his cast isn't there. But in a movie? His presentation and backstory would be far too large and problematic to translate to the screen.

If you decide to do a full expose on his backstory then you need to include other New Gods in the movie as well. Otherwise the backstory would be pointless. But then it becomes partially a New Gods movie, because their conflict is the primary one, and the JLA is just caught in the middle.

On the other hand, if you don't give his backstory, then you loose much of what Darkseid is. You end up with a generic space tyrant looking to conquer Earth for fun and profit. In other words, Mongul. And if that's the case, you might as well just call the guy Mongul and spare a character from butchering.

That's basically the big reason why I don't think Darkseid would work in a JLA movie.

THIS MAN SO MUCH THIS.

I hate it when DS becomes a generic rockhead with an army.

This edit will also create new pages on Comic Vine for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Comic Vine users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.