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What You Didn't Notice About Steppenwolf's New Device In Zack Snyder's Justice League

Zack Snyder's Justice League immersed us in four hours of a superhero whirlwind, with countless differences to be spotted between it and the 2017 version. There were more than a handful of Easter eggs scattered throughout the film, and while these comic book nods tend to be hidden in the background, many of them were in plain sight. You may not have realized that something looking you square in the face was actually Snyder paying homage to someone — or something — from the DC Comics catalog.

One such instance came in Part 2 of the film, where Steppenwolf interrogates an Atlantean who has been pulled out of the ocean by one of his parademons. Steppenwolf notes that he can smell the Mother Box on the Atlantean and then asks for its location. After he refuses to tell Steppenwolf where it is, the Atlantean is thrown across the beach where he crashes into a large boulder causing a serious head injury.

Still somehow conscious after getting his head bashed in, the Atlantean swears to Steppenwolf that he will never betray his people by giving up the Mother Box's location. It's here that a small spider-like creature appears out of Steppenwolf's arm and crawls onto the Atlantean's face, plugging into his subconscious and revealing the last Mother Box's location. While this creepy-crawly seems to be a freaky piece of tech that's a one-and-done in the movie, it's actually a huge nod to one of the weirdest villains in DC Comics history.

In Zack Snyder's Justice League, Steppenwolf's device is a play off Starro from the comics

One of the oddest villains ever created in DC Comics was Starro, an alien parasite that resembles a starfish. This small purple parasite was introduced in The Brave and the Bold #28 alongside the Justice League itself. The race has battled against The Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, and Green Lantern, according to DC's Fandom page.

Steppenwolf's subconscious-digging weapon is a major nod to Starro, which can be noted in its purple color and how it attacks its victim. While the weapon in Zack Snyder's Justice League has six legs and Starro has five, both essentially attack the same way and for the same purpose.

Starro — a name that refers to both the larger humanoid leader and its parasites as a whole — is all about mind control and plugging into one's subconscious. Starros attach themselves to a victim's face, stripping them of their free will by gaining total control of their mind. The parasites can also clone at a rapid rate and have taken over entire planets before with ease and in no time at all.

Steppenwolf's weapon essentially freezes the Atlantean, much like a Starro does with its victim, and pulls out memories that can be revealed to another being. The larger Starro leader — often known as Starro the Conqueror — can tap into any of his parasites who are occupying a host and pull their thoughts for himself, even from far away. The Starro leader can also influence a host without being near them, as long as one of his parasites is in control. Steppenwolf can be seen as functioning like Starro in that way since his weapon emerged from his armor and pulled a memory from its victim for him to use.

This major Easter egg is easily missed by anyone who might not be well versed in DC Comics history. It was another effort from Snyder to pay respect to his source material, something he always makes sure to honor in his films.