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We Finally Know What Darkseid Looks Like In The Snyder Cut

Welcome to the Darkseid.

In advance of the impending release of Zack Snyder's Justice League, colloquially referred to as the "Snyder Cut," on HBO Max next year, the director took to social media to post the first-ever public image of how the iconic DC villain Darkseid will appear in the film.

Unfortunately, the image is a little bit grainy and blurry, but it still gives us a pretty good idea of what to expect from the first live-action appearance of the villain, who was created by the legendary Jack "King" Kirby for the title New Gods in the '70s. The picture depicts Darkseid standing in the middle of a post-apocalyptic hellscape, wielding a bladed, spear-like melee weapon and sporting clothing and headgear that will be quite familiar to fans of DC comics.

Snyder's post was captioned, "He's coming ... to HBO Max," and it caused fans on Twitter to promptly go bonkers. Those fans likely know that the villain was originally going to play a much bigger part in the events of Justice League in Snyder's original vision for the film, but that — after foreshadowing his appearance six ways from Sunday in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – the director was forced by Warner Bros. to revamp his script, saving all of that stuff he was foreshadowing for potential future films and handing off the Big Bad role in Justice League to Darkseid's uncle and lackey, Steppenwolf.

After Snyder stepped away from the production due to a family tragedy, Avengers director Joss Whedon stepped in and essentially took a baseball bat to Snyder's vision. Whedon performed a near-complete rewrite of the script, re-shot the bulk of the movie, and completely reworked the third act, excising Darkseid from the proceedings altogether in the process.

Who is Darkseid, and why are fans so excited about him?

If you're not familiar with Darkseid, it may be helpful to know that the character was the primary inspiration for the creation of Thanos, the Marvel villain who has now achieved icon status thanks to his role as the Big Bad of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Thanos' creator, Jim Starlin, was a huge fan of Kirby's New Gods series, and he originally based Thanos on Metreon, a far slighter and less warlike character. Famously, Starlin's editor told him that if he was going to rip off one of the New Gods, he should rip off Darkseid, "the really good one" (via Comics Alliance).

Indeed, the characters are quite similar. The despotic ruler of the planet Apokolips, Darkseid became obsessed with gaining complete control over the universe, which he hoped to achieve by piecing together the "Anti-Life Equation," a mysterious equation which, once worked out, could enable those with knowledge of it to wipe out all free will and sentience in the entire universe. In the comics, he's generally opposed by the Justice League in general and Superman in particular. He's basically indestructible, immortal, and possessed of near-limitless strength, speed, and stamina.

Like Thanos, Darkseid often uses strategy rather than brute force to achieve his ends, sending minions such as Steppenwolf to achieve specific goals toward his ultimate victory so that he may remain in the shadows. Also like Thanos, he keeps getting his immortal rear end handed to him by the heroes of Earth, although he has at times come perilously close to succeeding in his scheme.

How big of a role will Darkseid have in the Snyder Cut of Justice League?

As pumped as fans are to see Darkseid finally make an appearance in live action, the unfortunate answer to the question of how large a role he'll play in Zack Snyder's Justice League is "probably not very." As previously mentioned, Snyder and his co-writer Chris Terrio were made to significantly reduce his involvement at the script stage, and based on what Snyder has said publicly in the past, it's seeming like Darkseid's big reveal is going to amount to little more than a climax-capping cameo.

While it remains to be seen exactly how Snyder's cut of Justice League will play out, we do know that the third act was supposed to go quite differently. Rather than destroying Steppenwolf's axe, causing his own fear-sensing Parademons to attack him, Wonder Woman was originally planned to take a more direct approach and actually behead Steppenwolf before sending him in pieces back through the interdimensional portal (or "Boom Tube") from which he came. It's at this point that Darkseid (portrayed by Ray Porter) was to appear in the Boom Tube — but before he can pass through it, our heroes destroy the Mother Boxes and collapse the portal.

This would have led into the events of the planned-but-currently-in-limbo Justice League 2, which would have seen the team taking the fight to Darkseid on Apokolips (via CinemaBlend). Obviously, the villain would have taken on a more central role in that film, but when it comes to Zack Snyder's Justice League, that brief tease is all we're likely to get.

Of course, if the fans go wild for Snyder's cut of Justice League, it's possible that the sequel could be kick-started back into production. We'll just have to wait to see how it all plays out when Snyder's restored vision finally drops on HBO Max next year.