Zack Snyder's Plans For Justice League Sequel, Illustrated By Jim Lee
In 2016, Zack Snyder, Chris Terrio, and Jim Lee put together this plan for the sequels to the Justice League movie, and before the original movie was rewritten in 2017. The Zack Snyder Cut of the Justice League may make some of this moot, but it will give an idea of where he was heading. Those plans have now been exhibited as part of The Dreamscapes Of Zack Snyder's Justice League' Exhibition in downtown Dallas. With Zack Snyder's intention to share his original vision, ahead of The Justice League Snyder Cut launching on HBOMax. Here is a transcript of the plans, along with Jim Lee's illustrations. Images were taken by Spn_Darkness and used with permission.
Justice League Parts 2 and 2A
Although originally pitched as one film, we believe the character arcs of our heroes (and villains) along with the epic battle with Darkseid, which Unites the League — the world— and the entire DC Universe — warrants two films.
However, this does not mean that you have two films centered on Darkseid's invasion. Rather, Justice League 2 would be a very grounded, personal and character-driven film that would follow the Justice League both together, and separately, as they mend old wounds, on the road to becoming better and stronger heroes—while Lex Luthor recruits a League of his own, made up of revenge-driven villains introduced in the heroes' solo films: Dr. Maru (Wonder Woman 2017), Leonard Snart (The Flash 2018), Orm and Black Manta (Aquaman 2018) and the Riddler (Ben Affleck's The Batman). These villains would link all of the DC Films together.
Like Empire Strikes Back and the last Harry Potter films, Justice League 2 would end with a cliffhanger. Revealing only at the end of the film Lex and his League are connected to Darkseid, then flash-forwarding five years into the future where Darkseid has taken Earth.
THE HEROES' ARCS THROUGHOUT PARTS 2 AND 2A:
Superman: With Lois' help. the back-from-the-dead Superman will learn to become Clark Kent again, feeling more human than ever as he and Lois start a family.
Wonder Woman: will reconnect with the Amazons and her mother, eventually becoming their now Queen and rejoining these isolationist warriors with the outside
Aquaman: With the help of Mara, will bring the Seven Kingdoms together, becoming the one, true King. budding a new alliance between the oceans and the surface.
The Flash: will free himself from the past, releasing his father from prison with Cyborg's help and learning how to master his time traveling abilities. literally becoming able to be in two places at once.
Cyborg: will evolve both into the modem day god of the Digital Age — and into a human once again.
Batman: will ultimately sacrifice his life for these unlikely friends and the woman he loves — leaving behind a legacy that will never truly die.
JUSTICE LEAGUE 2 (2019)
The Justice League United. We open with the Justice League in acting during a natural disaster — working as the efficient, powerful team they've become, weeks after Justice League 1. They act together. they save lives. but they're refugees. so political tension is high. The world is on edge.
In the aftermath, the Justice League regroup at the only headquarters they know — the Batcave. Flash is enthusiastic. while Superman remains a bit distant — at least with batman. And Aquaman is facing a continued skepticism of the surface world and his involvement in it by the people of Atlantis. Wonder Woman relates to Arthur, her people abandoned this world long ago.
It is clear that although the League is United, the world is not.
The League goes back to their individual lives to mend old wounds — except for Batman. who's dealing with fresh ones. left alone in the cave.
Bruce and Lois
Bruce secretly meets with Lois, both of them still searching for Lex Luthor. There's tension between them since Superman has returned. The meeting ends after Lois tells Bruce that Superman needs her more than ever. Bruce knows Lois is hiding something else.
Lex Luthor recruiting his own League
Meanwhile, deep in the Brazilian jungle, Lex locates Dr, Maw (Last seen in Wonder Woman 2017) — still alive, experimenting on herself, prolonging her life and testing new chemical weapons on unfortunate human lab rats. Like an obsessed stalker, Maru has spent decades collecting information, and artifacts, on Diana and the Amazons. Now that Diana has become known to the world, Lex offers Maw a chance at revenge — the same revenge he wants on Diana's friends, Superman and Batman. Maru accepts. Lex smiles. "Then let it begin…"
In the Atacama Desert, with Maru's help. Lex breaks Orrn and Slack mania out of the desert prison (where they were imprisoned at the end of Aquaman 2018.
Outside of Central City, in Iron Heights Penitentiary, Lex finds Len Snarl (where he was left in The Flash 2018) and offers Lex a chance to advance his weaponry and take down the Fastest Man Alive.
Intercut Lex and the villains with the Justice League returning to their lives
In Metropolis, Superman asks Lois when she was going to tell him. "Tell you what, Clark?" Superman says he can hear the second heartbeat — and she shouldn't call him Clark. Clark is dead, the world believes that too. Superman mistakes Lois' hesitation for fear. "It won't hurt you." he says.
At the Louvre in Paris, Diana and Menalippe (The Amazon who came to warn Diana about Steppenwolf) discover there may be a way to "remember" the path back to Themyscira. Diana must use the Lasso on herself to unlock her mind. It's a dangerous process, but Diana want to help Menalippe home — and Diana wants to see here mother again, even if she might reject her.
Diana puts the Lasso on — and suddenly she's overwhelmed by visions! In the beginning, they're wonderful. For the first time in over a century, Diana sees her home — soaring over the island — she sees the Amazons and finally, her mother. But then her visions grow dark. Diana sees herself as the God of War — in a battle with Superman. As she kills him, Diana cries out!
Menalippe frees Diana from the Lasso. Despite the pain and confusion, Diana remembers the way home…
In a Central City courthouse, Barry is at a hearing. Thanks to Cyborg, Iris, and a troop of lawyers from Wayne, the state has examined new evidence that Barry (and Vic) have presented and agree to re-open Henry Allen's case. Barry's elated.
Along an underwater continental shelf, Aquaman and Mera are in a violent battle with the last of the 7 Kingdoms – The Unseen! It explodes around tidal pools and active lava flows. Arthur has the 7th King on the ground, his trident at his throat. The 7th King tells him to kill him. Arthur says he wants an alliance, but the 7th King refuses. Arthur leaves, frustrated. The Last Kingdom refuses to unite.
In the Batcave, Cyborg upgrades the cave — even providing a female A.I. voice for Alfred, who has become a father figure of sorts. Looking at the empty cave around them, Cyborg as Alfred, "Why's he never home?" Alfred solemnly replies, "Because then he'd have to face himself."
Batman and Lois on the hunt for Lex Luthor
Batman moves deep into the Canadian wilderness, doing second, following up on a lead that Lex may have been sighted in one of the remote towns. He fights his way through a secret location only to discover not Lex Luthor hiding out — but the Riddler! Awake for days — maybe weeks — Riddler has a long unkempt beard, his fingers dirty, his rantings written across the walls of his cabin. He looks at Batman, a man possessed, "Luthor asked the question — I had to know the answer!"
Lois is also on Luthor's trail. She located Dr. Maru's lair in the Brazilian jungle. Lois writes everything in a journal, keeping it off-line and private. She grows pale as she realizes who Maru is… and what Lex might be up to — He's forming a team of his own.
Back in the Canadian wilderness, Batman faces off against the Riddler. He tells Bruce about how Lex came to him for information. Lex presented the Anti-Life Equation, the riddle of life itself— and the Riddler solved it! He knows what it can do. And once it's unlocked, Lex will make life meaningless. The Riddler raises a gun but points it at his own head. "Time to solve the last riddle…" Blamm! Batman's shocked as Riddler kills himself.
The Justice League member unite with their families
Wonder Woman and Menalippe arrive in Themyscira. Diana's unsure what her mother's reaction will be… but a tearful and overjoyed Hippolyta embraces her. The Queen declares there will be a celebration unlike any other in Amazon history — her daughter is home!
In Central City, for the first time since he was a kid there is no wall of glass between Barry and his father. Henry Allen is released from prison, exonerated. Barry's about to tell his father who he is.
In Metropolis, Lois returns to Superman, tells him she will accept Clark is gone, but she has to go, still on the trail of Lex.
In Gotham, Batman returns from the wilderness, shaken by the Riddler's proclamation.
INTERCUT WITH Lois discovering from General Swanwick that Lex has the three mother boxes "oh no…"
Lex activates his plan
At the Three Rivers, helicopters survey the area — Lex is on the scene, his team elsewhere but in contact with him Lex activates the boxes, his true plan — to destroy the Justice League and take this secret power call the Anti-Life Equation for his own. It will give him power over all living life. The Anti-Life Equation glows as Lex turns on the boxes— Cyborg "blinks," feeling a horrible emptiness as the influx of data stops for the first time since he first went online.
And a boom tube erupts in front of Lex, surprising him! Emerging from the portal, Desaad— the horrific, sadistic servant of his master — Darkseid, who emerges behind him. Darkseid, takes the power of the Anti-Life Equation for himself!
Superman vs. Darkseid
In the Batcave, Superman, Batman, and Lois regroup. They learn of Darkseid's arrival. Superman tells Batman that this is a fight among the gods. "She's my world," he tells Bruce, "Protect her." Superman flies off to confront Darkseid—
After Superman leaves, Bruce and Lois argue — Bruce knows she's pregnant. Lois ends the argument by telling Bruce, "You're not the father." She tries to tell Bruce about what she's discovered with what Lex is planning, but he won't listen —
At the Three Rivers, taking in Darkseid's arrival Lex tells Darkseid that Darkseid has the power to kill Superman. Darkseid moves forward, acknowledging Lex. He says to Lex, "I don't want him dead, I want Superman to submit." "The girl," says Lex. She's the key to breaking his spirit.
Superman arrives and a battle with Darkseid erupts!
But Darkseid booms to Lois — the Batcave collapsing around her and Batman at his arrival. Bruce looks down at Darkseid and Lois from behind the glass wall above. Darkseid stares at Lois. Bruce is overwhelmed. What can he do?
Superman flies at incredible speed to Gotham. He arrives just in time to see Darkseid unleashing his Omega Beams from his eyes — turning Lois into ash!
Superman cries out, his soul shatters. Grief-stricken, he moves to tear Darkseid apart, but Darkseid gazes at him, the power of the Anti-Life coursing through his veins —Superman stops, his mind infected by Darkseid. Bruce watches it all in horror. Superman grabs his head in pain, eyes burning…
The Justice League under attack
Before Lois is able to warn everyone, Lex signals his team to attack!
On Themyscira, Dr. Maru unleashes a chemical gas that covers the island — and kills the Amazons, even Diana who dies in her mother's arms. Maru dies herself, a sick and twisted smile on her face.
In Atlantis, Orm and Black Manta attack the coronation — killing Arthur, Mera barely surviving herself, a cut across her face.
In Central City, Len attacks Flash with his amped up weapons, courtesy of Luthor. Cyborg is blown apart saving Barry, losing his lower half.
Back at the Batcave, Batman watches in horror as Darkseid takes full control of Superman. Superman turns on Batman and he barely escapes!
Lex believes he's won, but comes face-to-face with Superman. He looks at Lex with burning red eyes — and lights him on fire.
As Lex screams, The world goes red and — cut to:
Five Years Later
Sand dunes. Smoldering solar pits. Gothic spires rising from the desert. Once, this was Gotham. Now, like the rest of Earth, it belongs to Darkseid.
Coming over the dune, post-apocalyptic Batman (as seen in BvS), with a ragtag army of rebels – the surviving members of the Justice League walk over the rise of a dune to see the dilapidated Wayne Manor. Batman leads them. Flash drags what's left of Cyborg behind him. Bruce looks up to the sky, grimly, "We need to get inside before night. He's coming…"
END PART ONE
JUSTICE LEAGUE 2A (2020)
Green Lantern comes to a post-Darkseid Earth
We open by introducing Green Lantern to the Justice League film universe. He's inside his ship crashing to Earth, desperately trying to make contact with someone —anyone. But there's no response, only static.
The ship crashes hard. Disoriented, Lantern hears someone outside, opening the door. A silhouette figure peers in — it's Batman.
Opening on the five years later Earth seen at the end of Justice League 2, parademons conveyer onto the ship, Batman defending Lantern. Then an unexpected ally assists Batman — Deadshot, firing at the parademons — in this post-Darkseid world, Deadshot is teamed-up with the Dark Knight.
Then they're joined by The Flash
Batman barks at Flash to stay out of the fight, Barry's too important to the mission to risk getting hurt. Flash saves Batman, cocky — but is soon overwhelmed by parademons. Flash is almost killed, but Lantern saves him – the iconic friendship between the two beginning.
Lantern looks across the Earth, analyzing it with his ring. He explains to them who he is and who the Green Lantern Corps is… or was — how he came here looking for his partner from Earth, who's missing and presumed dead, like most of the Lanterns. Darkseid's army is paving their way across the universe. In the sky, the Big Dipper constellation is missing two stars. Batman says that all the stars will go out because of what's happening on Earth.
The sun is setting. Batman says they need to move…
The Justice League regroup
Batman, Deadshot, Flash, and Lantern return to the League's hidden base camp under Wayne Manor. Mera joins them, walking to the camp — across the desert— with Arthur's trident slung across her shoulders carrying two buckets of water. Mera remarks she's had to venture further outside of camp to locate drinkable water.
Bruce explains his operation to Lantern – they are planning on a move that will end Darkseid's rain on Earth. Lantern doesn't think they have a shot — he wants to repair his ship and try and find any surviving members of the Corps. Lantern wonders what this Justice League could do to stop Darkseid…
The Last Supper of the Justice League
Reveal post-Darkseid Cyborg, now half a man — able to plug into machinery, hanging in the Batcave, working on massive technology — a Cosmic Treadmill — that will help the Flash jump back in time. To what end, Lantern asks.
Cyborg tells Lantern the specifics of how time travel works. It's very uncontrollable. And even if they can get Flash to travel back, they can only try this once a year — so that the Earth will be in the very same spot and the Flash doesn't jump into solid bedrock. Flash shrugs, "or space."
In order to operate it they need to steal a Motherbox from Darkseid's army — and they know where one is. But once they power this machine up, they'll get "his" attention. Lantern asks who. Mera answers, a Darkseid-controlled Superman. Even Lantern has heard of the Kryptonian, worried that he's under the control of Darkseid. He heard his spirit was unbreakable.
Deadshot goes on — across the world, beyond parademons, nearly the entire population has fallen to the Anti-Life Equation, their minds being completely controlled by Darkseid. Deadshot says he remembers when his daughter was taken.
It haunts him. Worse than death.
They need to move soon, the planet alignment is tomorrow night — where Earth will be in the same place it was when Bruce first saw Flash in the Batcave. if they don't jump then, they won't have another opportunity for an entire year.
The plan is that Barry will warn Batman — sot that they can be prepared. But the Flash will only have 10-15 seconds before he's taken apart. So what can he say in that amount of time to Bruce? They all agree it's simple, "You have to stop Lex."— if Lex is stopped Darkseid will never come here and Lex will never slaughter the Justice League.
Afterwards, Bruce pulls Barry aside. Bruce tells him that it won't work. He was trying to stop Lex already. Flash has to say something else. Bruce says that this is his fault…
In a rare moment of vulnerability, Bruce admits "She was Superman's world. I believe I broke that connection."
Bruce whispers in Barry's ear… and Flash's eyes go wide. Flash can't help but say, "No way." Bruce responds, "Tell me that. It will change everything…"
The mission starts at dawn. In a Fury Road-inspired batmobile, the Justice League —Batman, Green Lantern, Deadshot and Mera — break into the stronghold, a cathedral swarming with Anti-Life controlled people (Darkseid's soldiers). Human priests kneel at the Motherbox.
Batman says as soon as they get the Motherbox, Superman will be aware of them.
Back at the Batcave, Cyborg and the Flash are preparing for Flash's jump. Cyborg makes it clear that the Flash won't have much time — he needs to deliver the message before he crumbles into nothingness. But if Barry succeeds, it won't matter. None of this will have ever happened.
Batman and the others steal the Motherbox, then make a dead run back to the cave as the Flash and Cyborg prepare for Barry's jump — Superman is in pursuit!
Superman arrives and faces off against the Justice League.
From a tower, Deadshot fires a Kryptonite bullet at Superman's back — but Superman dodges it. Batman asks Deadshot over his comm, "What happened?" Deadshot tells Batman this better work — this better save my daughter. Superman flies through the tower, killing Deadshot.
Mera tries to remove the water from Superman. He crushes her.
Green Lantern fires his ring at Superman, but he sends his corrupted heat vision into the ring — until the ring explodes, taking Lantern's arm with it.
Cyborg does what he can against Superman as Flash prepares to jump — just after Cyborg activates the machine, Superman tosses him to the parademons — they tear him apart.
Then finally, it's Batman facing off against Superman — the Flash runs hard on the machine, seconds away from the jump.
Batman is armed with the kryptonite spear — but Superman impales Batman with it. As these two heroes struggle — the Flash races as fast as he can, exploding through time — just before Superman reaches him.
The Flash races back in time
Flash is pulled through time—
Then we're with Bruce and Lois as they first argue in Justice League 2. "You're not the father." Lois storms out of the Batcave when —
The Flash arrives, landing in the Justice League 2 moment. He tells Bruce what we didn't hear before — what Bruce whispered in Flash's ear — "Lois lied to you. You're the father." After delivering his message, the Flash vanishes from existence!
Lois comes down, trying to reconnect with Bruce, who is still reeling from the information. Again Lois is insisting he listens to her — this time he does. She tells him Lex has a plan to take out the Justice League. Working together they discover his attack plans against the League.
Suddenly, Darkseid's boom tube opens, water pouring into the cave again. Darkseid looks at Lois. Bruce looking down from above behind the glass again —
But this time Bruce goes into action—
Smashing through the glass, throwing himself in front of Darkseid's omega beams as he moves Lois out of the way — he's struck by them, crying out — but he survives!
Superman arrives in time to see Atman injured. He flies into a rage, but instead of being broken — he's empowered, angry. Superman puts Darkseid on his heels and Darkseid is forced to retreat!
Lois tells Superman he has to warn the others. Lex has a plan.
With information from Lois on Lex's "Injustice League", Superman saves the League —stopping Maru from releasing the gas on Themyscira, Orm and Black Manta from killing Aquaman and Len from taking out Cyborg.
Meanwhile, Bruce reveals to Lois that although he's alive — he was hit. There's a darkness growing across his body. He's in pain. But they need to keep fighting. He tells Lois as he boards the Batplane, "I could've had a life outside of the cave with you."
Bruce leaves as across the world —
Earth unites against Darkseid
Darkseid's full scale invasion begins —and it's too much for the Justice League to handle on their own — but they won't have to. Led and inspired by Superman, the countries of the world come together: Armies, Air Forces, Navies. Wonder Woman and he mother lead the Amazons off Themyscira to join the war!
In the oceans, Aquaman pleads to the Seven Kingdoms, declaring there is an eighth —The Surface World — and they must be allies, not enemies. The Seven Kingdoms rise to join the Amazons and the Surface!
The entire world becomes a Justice League
In a "Lord of the Rings"- like finale, the history of the three armies that first battled Darkseid echoes itself today: The world of Men, The Amazons and the Atlantean.
As the battle continues, Green Lantern joins the fight along with the alien Green Lantern Corps.
It's the entire DC Universe together for the very first time — on a scale unlike any that's ever been seen — battling to save the world together.
During the battle, Hippolyta dies saving her daughter, proud of what's she's done.
The Flash is able to move so quickly, he masters his powers — existing in two places at once. Unstoppable, he takes out an entire army himself.
Cyborg is able to overpower the Motherboxes, taking control of them and triggering a chain reaction that destroys them, weakening Darkseid.
It's ultimately a dying Batman who sacrifices himself to save the League and the world — destroying Darkseid!
In the aftermath
Diana becomes the new Queen of the Amazons, leading them to rejoin the outside world and restore and inspire peace.
With the Amazons at her side, Diana negotiates peace between the countries of the world, unlike anything in history.
Arthur is recognized by the kingdoms as a True King that has helped unite the world, the skepticism over his human heritage not only gone but replaced with admiration.
Cyborg evolves, becoming a god of the Digital Age — and able to transform himself to look human again!
Lois mourns Bruce's death. Superman looks closer, realizing that Lois is carrying Bruce's child. Lois admits it, but he already knows. Maybe he always did, he says. He saw what he needed to. But he doesn't shy away. Instead, he embraces Lois — and her unborn child. He has a reason to be Clark again…
20 Years Later
Twenty years later, after a memorial commemorating the Batman's sacrifice, commissioner Barbara Gordon asks Lois, "What are you going to tell him?" — referring to telling Lois' son the truth about his father. For the first time in decades, crime is returning to Gotham — and it needs the Batman again. (Various Justice League members like Martian Manhunter present.) Lois takes her son to the Batcave and reveals the truth — that his father was Bruce Wayne/Batman…
In Gotham, rising from the shadows and out into the moonlight, we meet the ALL-NEW BATMAN!
But did she call him Bruce or Clark?