The Superman You Know & Love Could Be Gone In 'Justice League'

by Danielle Burgos

Spoilers ahead for Justice League. 10 years. Six movies. Five superheroes... or is it six? The DC universe has been building up to the coup-de-grace climactic topper of its cinematic outings with November's Justice League. After the success of Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice, and recent accolades for Wonder Woman, the superhero team is now packed to the gills with the additions of Aquaman and Cyborg, who have their own feature films coming out in 2018 and 2020, respectively. That leaves out one major character, the ur-super hero, whose absence is so notable fans have been questioning whether it's really an absence at all. Sure, the last time we saw The Man Of Steel (in 2016's Batman Vs. Superman) he was being lowered into the ground, but in the world of comics, nothing, not even death, is permanent. So is Superman in Justice League, or is the hero sitting this one out?

Rumors swirled about Superman's return the moment the credits rolled on Dawn Of Justice, and it's no surprise. The film's not-so-ambiguous ending either hinted at a minor fracking-related earthquake in America's Heartland, or that Clark Kent wasn't as firmly planted in the ground as his friends and family thought. As the date rolled closer to Justice League's release, fans dug for any scraps of information as to whether Superman would show up to join the superhero dream team. Director Zack Snyder stoked the fires way back in March with a USA Today interview saying, "It’s hard to have a Justice League without Superman." Fans took note.

In May, Hollywood Reporter noticed Superman's absence from Justice League's first wave of promotional materials, and came up with several theories about DC's plans for the character. The outlet's final take: if Supes makes an appearance in the film, it'll initially be as Evil Superman, though they acknowledged the possibility he might not make an appearance at all. An August Heroic Hollywood article, meanwhile, gushed over a snap of a Mattel catalogue with Justice League figures, including what seemed to be a version of Superman in his black suit from the comic resurrection storyline The Death And Return Of Superman. The most solid lead of all dropped mere days later, when Superman actor Henry Cavill himself shared an Instagram photo of what appears to be an official black super-suit.

A September ScreenGeek article spoke about Superman's return as a given, mostly focusing on a supposed leak describing the outfit he'd wear, and as recently as early October, i09 ran an article poking fun at the frenzy titled, "It's Time For More Ridiculous Rumors About Superman's Resurrection in Justice League," this time focusing on a hat. See, the hat was black, and the logo was silver, so clearly it must refer to the suit Supes wore in the aforementioned The Death And Return Of Superman. Or, it could just be a black hat.

When the latest trailer was released on Oct. 8 2017, fans freaked out, calling it the "Superman Reveal" trailer. Sure, Clark Kent was present, but he's clearly part of Lois Lane's dream. Just a few days ago, DC officially dropped the latest promo art, and as with everything else, it's cryptic and taunting — a stylized Superman appears with the phrase "Hope Never Dies", and his iconic logo joins the rest of the Justice League's in the film's tagline.

Once again it's Cavill who came through with the most solid lead yet — in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he said that he'd been working with Geoff Johns, DC Comic's most prolific and popular writers (and more importantly, Justice League producer), on a more traditional Superman interpretation for Justice League. Cavill says he and Johns have been "delving into the history of the character to get to the core of who Superman is. This is the first time we see the true Superman. The Superman who is confident, and sure, and full of hope and joy.”

Looks like the "metahuman" super-league is going to get a little more super with an appearance from The Man Of Steel, though whether fans will like the rebooted, less-gritty Superman remains to be seen.