Zack Snyder Teases Darkseid In The Snyder Cut, Kind Of
Young Darkseid, AKA Uxas, is coming to Justice League's Snyder Cut. But to what end?
There are fewer villains in DC Comics history more infamous than Darkseid--sure, he may not be as immediately recognizable as The Joker or have as many live-action incarnations as Lex Luthor, but in terms of sheer narrative impact, Darkseid is DC's nuclear warhead. Rather than calling him DC's Thanos, it would be more accurate to call Thanos Marvel's Darkseid--but regardless of the semantics, the two represent a similar threat level, just to put things in perspective. Of course, what Thanos now has that Darkseid doesn't is a multi-billion dollar live-action film series.
At least, until now. Director Zack Snyder has teased the, uh, retroactive arrival of Darkseid to the now three-year-old Justice League movie in the upcoming Snyder Cut being created for HBO Max. So, while it's unlikely that Darkseid's story will actually have any effect or impact on the greater DC cinematic universe moving forward, he'll certainly be added to a movie you've already seen and maybe give some of the big final fights a little bit more context, whatever that's worth. Take a look.
Now, as some fans on Twitter have pointed out already--technically, this isn't Darkseid, this is Uxas, which is just Darkseid's birth name. Also, critically, do not confuse Uxas with Baby Darkseid, who is an altogether different thing. Darkseid is what's known as a New God, a race of (mostly) immortals in the more esoteric branches of DC Comics lore that will, soon, be coming to theaters with Ava DuVernay's New Gods movie. Steppenwolf, the big bad of the Justice League film who wound up in the final cut, is one of the lesser-explored New Gods, just to put things in perspective.
This is where things start to get muddled. The continuity of the New Gods is, unsurprisingly, fuzzy--we're dealing with characters who are, functionally, about as old as the universe itself. They live outside of the flow of time and have technology that can change their appearances, teleport them instantly, and grant them all the knowledge they could possibly want with the click of a proverbial button. Many of them have origin stories, but they're less hard-and-fast timelines of events and more loosely formulated parables that set up the core components for their characters. Many of the A-list, commonly known New Gods borrow major themes in their stories from world mythology and loosely approximated Christianity. This is by design--their creator, Jack Kirby, wasn't trying to create a new superhero story; he was creating a whole theology within the superhero framework.
All of which is to say the lines between "Uxas" and "Darkseid" aren't exactly set in stone. The image shows Uxas wielding a massive battle ax, standing in front of an army. Fans of Darkseid who have spent less time with the more recent additions to DC continuity like the Darkseid War story arc will immediately ping this as strange. Part of what makes Darkseid so imposing is his obvious lack of a weapon. It's not that he can't use them--it's that he doesn't need to. Unlike say, Thanos, who usually comes in with an Infinity Stone or two at his disposal, Darkseid's real power comes from his ability to understand complex equations. It's a little reductive to say that his greatest strength is math, but it kind of is--he holds what's known as "the Anti-Life Equation" in his brain, which gives him absolute control over all sentient creatures. Don't worry too much about it--it's deliberately esoteric. He also has an ability called "omega beams," which are sort of (but not really) an off-shoot of the Anti-Life Equation (technically the "omega sanction," which is the same, but different--again, don't worry too much about it) that allows him to shoot what are basically death-beams from his eyes without expending any effort whatsoever.
What makes Darkseid so effective as a villain is that he's basically Hannibal Lecter as an immortal, nearly omnipotent alien god. He's rarely shown breaking a sweat. Perhaps the scariest thing he can do is show up in your house uninvited, which he does on a semi-regular basis in the comics. Even as a playable character in the fighting game Injustice 2, he stands passively with his hands folded behind his back unless he absolutely has to move. The point being that just his presence alone means that literally anyone could die at any moment, and he doesn't even have to try. In one of his early origin stories, he was able to drive an innocent person to madness just by talking to them--later turning them into one of his most brutal, sociopathic henchmen.
So, while a big-screen story about Uxas (pre-Darkseid) being the sort of character who totes around a giant battle ax in front of giant mechanized hell-armies isn't technically wrong, it seems like an odd choice. Even just from a purely thematic point of view, setting up Darkseid's big-screen introduction as an origin story feels strange--the finer points of where this guy came from matter a whole lot less than the fact that he doesn't have to move a finger to destroy you. But, then again, who can say what will actually happen once this final cut is produced or how much it will ultimately matter once the world has finally moved on from it? After all, seeing how the rest of the DCEU has progressed beyond the need to replicate the MCU's tight-knit shared continuity, it's unlikely that we'll see this version of Uxas-slash-Darkseid (Uxaseid?) again any time soon.
Here's hoping that if he does show up in New Gods, whenever New Gods winds up happening, he'll spend less time armed to the teeth and more time scaring the pants off of just about everyone by sitting completely still.