The Snyder Cut: Martian Manhunter Scenes Explained

Zack Snyder's Justice League confirmed a fan theory about a DC hero hiding in plain sight


The Snyder Cut has arrived and brought with it plenty of new scenes to change up whole storylines and characters that once existed in the theatrical cut of the movie. Heroes like Cyborg and Aquaman were given more screen time while entirely new additions to the cast were brought into the fold. One such newcomer was J'onn J'onzz, AKA Martian Manhunter, a shapeshifting alien who has, apparently, been working in secret on Earth for quite some time.

The first scene in which we actually see J'onn is a shocker: He's in disguise as Martha Kent when she visits Lois to convince her to return to work after Clark's death. It's never actually made clear why J'onn believes Lois needs to return to work, but he certainly seems very satisfied with himself after the conversation as he shifts back into the guise of a human military officer, General Swanwick, in the hall.

Then, at the end of the movie, J'onn stops by the home of Bruce Wayne to actually announce himself in his Martian form. He and Bruce talk about the potential for new threats to arrive on Earth and Bruce eventually welcomes him to the newly formed Justice League, saying he's happy to have someone like J'onn around for the fight. Why J'onn didn't actually participate in the fight that just took place with Steppenwolf, however, is also not clear--apparently making sure Lois Lane goes back to work as a reporter was more important?

Just why that mattered at all is not totally clear in the film, but we do have some theories. It could be that J'onn had some inkling that the heroes were going to attempt to resurrect Superman, and he figured Lois Lane should be in the vicinity in case things went awry. By pushing her to return to her life, he may have been subtly attempting to make sure she would be near the monument when Superman awoke, instead of grieving at home in her pajamas. How the Martian Manhunter got clued into any of this is anyone's guess; the whole thing is ambiguous enough in the movie itself that it can probably be treated as little more than a wink and a nod to fans who speculated about the possibility of this character existing in the Snyderverse for years. We only wish we could see the inevitable conversation down the road in which Lois thanks Martha for driving all the way to Metropolis to give her a pep talk, and Martha has no idea what the hell Lois is talking about.

As for the Martian Manhunter himself, J'onn was introduced in the comics back in the mid 1950s. One of the last surviving green martians, J'onn had the ability to shapeshift and read minds, making it very easy for him to blend into the population of Earth and live a life in secret. Once a martian police officer, J'onn quickly became a skilled detective on Earth and eventually joined forces with other superheroes, before becoming one of the tentpole members of the Justice League.

Other live-action incarnations of Martian Manhunter include a version in the show Smallville played by Phil Morris and a version in CW's Supergirl played by David Harewood.

Rumors and theories of a special hero cameo began circulating back in the early promotional days of the original Justice League theatrical run when the slogan "unite the seven" was used. Though there is no hard and fast League lineup in DC Comics, the most common modern incarnation uses Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg, and either a Green Lantern or Martian Manhunter (or both) rounding out the roster. Speculation that Martian Manhunter might be the seventh made its way to Snyder himself after the theatrical release in 2018, when he took to social media to acknowledge the idea that certain fans believed Swanwick to be J'onn in disguise.

Now, insiders to both the theatrical and Snyder cuts of the film have informed The Wrap that the addition of Martian Manhunter was, in fact, not part of the original Justice League plan and was added to the Snyder Cut exclusively as a treat for theorists--which, in the end, might explain why the character's appearance doesn't really seem to fit well or make a lot of sense in the movie itself.

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