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Why Ryan Choi Means More Than You Think In Zack Snyder's Justice League

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Contains spoilers for Zack Snyder's Justice League

Fans of the DC Extended Universe have been truly treated with Zack Snyder's Justice League, as the HBO Max-exclusive film delivers plenty of new footage of the team and greatly expands the story presented in the theatrical version released back in 2017. And although we all knew the likes of Darkseid (Ray Porter) and DeSaad (Peter Guinness) were being added into the Snyder Cut of Justice League, there are even more DC Comics characters who have been brought into the fold. Snyder even snuck in a future hero under the noses of casual audiences.

This new hero is related to Cyborg's (Ray Fisher) fully fleshed-out character arc in the film, which frequently visits his father Dr. Silas Stone's (Joe Morton) workplace, S.T.A.R. Laboratories. One of his colleagues there is Dr. Ryan Choi, a minor, supporting character who discusses the Mother Box with Dr. Stone and generally discusses what's going on outside the lab. But as comic readers will have undoubtedly already recognized, Ryan Choi is a superhero waiting in the wings.

In the DC Comics world, Ryan Choi is the Atom

Within the pages of DC Comics, Ryan Choi is a relatively new character. He made his debut in the comics back in June 2006, during DCU: Brave New World #1. Choi ends up taking on the superhero mantle of the Atom from Ray Palmer, who was his former professor at Ivy University. 

In Zack Snyder's Justice League, Zheng Kai plays Choi as a humorous and capable scientist rather than a student. Following Dr. Stone's sacrifice, Choi gets a promotion at S.T.A.R. Labs to a position that could tease where we might've seen him pop up next, if Zack Snyder's Justice League 2 was ever a thing that happened. In the movie, an executive notes that Choi is now the Director of Nanotechnology — a perfect position for the scientist to hold since the Atom has shrinking abilities. It seems the insinuation is that Choi would become the Atom and join the Justice League in a subsequent film, aiding the heroes in their fight against Darkseid (Ray Porter). Unfortunately, there's no actual indication that Zheng Kai will get to suit up in a future movie as Ryan Choi, but the "Director of Nanotechnology" mention is an interesting tease.

For now, fans of the Atom can get their microscopic fix through other mediums. Most recently, he was given the spotlight during the DC Rebirth era of the comics, and he also made it onto the small screen during the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover within the Arrowverse (Osric Chau plays him here). Clearly, DC is trying to give Ryan Choi more exposure, so who knows? Maybe one day we'll see him on the big screen again — this time dressed in a red-and-blue costume and taking a trip to the Microverse.