It's Time To Talk About That Lex Luthor Scene In Zack Snyder's Justice League

After expertly pitting Superman (Henry Cavill) and Batman (Ben Affleck) against each other in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and successfully getting Superman killed, Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor escaped from prison and... has since disappeared from the DCEU with no explanation.

Maybe this isn't so bad, since some argue Eisenberg ruined Batman v Superman, but it's been several years and a handful of movies since we last saw him in the post-credits scene of 2017's Justice League. He was plotting something dramatic and evil that has yet to lead anywhere, but his newest appearance in Zack Snyder's Justice League rewrites this plan entirely. While Luthor briefly appears in the very beginning of the Snyder Cut, chest-deep in water and communing with Steppenwolf as Superman's death scream reverberates around the world, his moment of villainy comes in the epilogue.

The scene begins similarly to how it played out in the theatrical cut: An Arkham guard finds that Luthor has escaped, leaving a maniacally laughing man in his stead — possibly hinting that the Joker helped him. Then it cuts to Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello) visiting Luthor on his yacht, where they discuss working together. Here's where things become drastically different from the theatrical cut: In 2017, we saw Luthor say, "Shouldn't we have a league of our own?" In the Snyder Cut, however, Luthor and Deathstroke discuss the latter's mission to kill Batman and Luthor gives him a powerful tool: Batman's name is Bruce Wayne.

One Lex Luthor line was a set up for the Legion of Doom, the other was for The Batman

The theatrical version of this scene was a set-up for the formation of the supervillain team the Legion of Doom — or Injustice League — for a potential Justice League 2. Well, Justice League flopped at the box office, so Warner Bros. canceled those plans. However, in Zack Snyder's Justice League, we can see that the original version of this scene was setting up a different movie entirely. Snyder had other plans for a Justice League sequel, involving a face-off against Darkseid rather than Lex Luthor's merry band of villains, so the Batman-centric dialogue was there to tease Affleck's standalone film The Batman.

Several years ago, the DCEU plan was for Affleck to direct and star in a Batman movie with Deathstroke as the villain, according to Collider. However, Affleck dropped out and the film has since been completely reworked into a Robert Pattinson flick with the likes of Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz), the Riddler (Paul Dano), and Penguin (Colin Farrell) starring opposite him. There's no more Deathstroke, no more Batfleck, and it now has a confusing non-position within the DCEU canon.

The Batman would have seen Deathstroke use Batman's real identity against him

Unfortunately, superhero fans won't get to see the extent of what the DCEU would have done with Batman's identity revealed. Spoiler alert: It wouldn't have gone well. Manganiello has since unveiled what the plans for Deathstroke were, making it obvious how crucial Lex Luthor's reveal was going to be for The Batman's plot. First, it's important to know that Deathstroke blames Batman for the death of his son (via GamesRadar), which would have led him down a dark path.

"It was a really dark story in which Deathstroke was like a shark or a horror movie villain that was dismantling Bruce's life from the inside out," Manganiello told Yahoo! Entertainment. "It was this systemic thing: He killed everyone close to Bruce and destroyed his life to try and make him suffer because he felt that Bruce was responsible for something that happened to him." He couldn't have done any of this without Luthor's information.

If that storyline were canon, it would seem that in the Knightmare future vision, Batman should have even more beef with Deathstroke than he does with the Joker (Jared Leto). Still, it seems that Luthor's reveal of Batman's name somehow leads to their team up against Darkseid and evil Superman. While the Deathstroke version of The Batman is long gone, it's still unclear how Zack Snyder's Justice League will affect future DCEU films. Warner Bros. has called the theatrical cut of Justice League DCEU canon, but the film franchise's directors are more interested in sticking to Snyder's version, according to Vulture. Affleck's Batman is set to make what could be his final appearance in the upcoming Flash movie, so there's a chance this scene could hold importance in that film.