The DCEU is a very divisive movie universe right now. With the critic and fan divide being split on almost every movie within the universe, actors signing on and trying to get out of contracts, and movies being announced and dropped every day, the future is far from certain for this superhero powerhouse.
DC comics has no shortage of good stories or characters though. There are several characters out there, good and bad, that fans want to see. If DC were to implement some of these new characters into their movies they could create fresh stories and give their universe a new start while keeping the characters we already love intact.
On the other hand, DC has not only some of the most intriguing villains out there but some of the most powerful ones as well. There is no doubt about that, with the current DCEU lineup of heroes and villains they've released already, Warner Brothers could completely scrap this DCEU and make room for an entirely new superhero universe. Thus, with that in mind, we have compiled a list of 10 DC characters that could save the DCEU as well as 10 that could end it if they wanted to.
20 Could Save It: Martian Manhunter
J’onn J’onzz was born with a twin brother named Ma’alefa’ak. In comics culture, it is kind of a rule of thumb that when you have twins one will be good and the other will turn evil. If you had any doubt about that just know that in Martian J’onn J’onzz means “Light to the Light” and Ma’alefa’ak means “Darkness in the Heart” so their parents were not doing them any favors. J’onn became a police officer, also known as a Manhunter, married and had a daughter. Ma’alefa’ak decided to destroy the Martian race and released a virus killing Martians using their telepathy including J’onn’s family. J’onn was brought to earth by accident by a scientist who helped him overcome his loss. He became known as the Martian Manhunter and has been in almost every incarnation of the Justice League. Martian Manhunter is the member of the Justice League that could save the DCEU with his touching backstory and his hope to not let the fate of his people fall upon Earth.
19 Could End It: Parallax
One thing that has the ability to stop most people in their tracks is fear. As we have already seen in previous DC movies, fear can play a powerful part in destroying a city and a hero. In Batman Begins, the Scarecrow has created a fear toxin that can cause people to lose their mind and become afraid of everything they see. What’s worse than a toxin that can cause fear? The physical embodiment of fear itself. Parallax is fear embodied and is a villain of the Green Lantern Corps. He has possessed Hal Jordan in the comics causing him to go insane. Parallax can cause the greatest heroes to turn evil and can use them to fight other heroes. Parallax could be the cause of an Injustice storyline within the DCEU bringing the entire universe to an end. Parallax in charge of Superman could end everything.
18 Could Save It: Dr. Fate
Doctor Fate could be a very interesting inclusion into the DCEU. This hero could come in contact with the DCEU we have already come to know or he could have his own standalone film. Doctor Fate originated in 1920 when Kent Nelson and his archeologist father Sven were exploring Mesopotamia. The two stumbled across an underground pyramid that contained an ancient being named Nabu. Kent pulled a lever to release Nabu but the lever also released a poison gas that killed Sven. Nabu mentored Kent as well as gave him an amulet, cloak, and helmet in which Nebu would guide Kent to fight evil. Kent became Doctor Fate and became the sorcerer supreme of the earth. (Sound familiar?) Doctor Fate has stopped many villains over the years including preventing the assassination of President Roosevelt during World War II. Kent has since died and the title of Doctor Fate has moved to another, making it a moniker instead of a man. This character could be a new light in the dark current DCEU.
17 Could End It: Brainiac
Spoiler Alert for the Justice League film!
If Justice League has shown us anything it is that Superman is far and away the strongest hero in the DCEU. Steppenwolf is able to toss around Wonder Woman and Aquaman while Batman and the Flash seem to have their hands full simply dealing with Steppenwolf’s army. Cyborg is still learning his powers and isn’t even sure what he is capable of. When Superman returns at the end of the movie to fight Steppenwolf he is able to beat him almost effortlessly and even has time to save an entire building of civilians. Superman also proves that the other heroes are no match when he is first revived. Thus, a villain that Superman has trouble with could bring the DCEU to its knees. Brainiac is just that villain. He is extremely advanced and obsessed with knowledge meaning that he would know everything about the Justice League before he ever came in contact with them.
16 Could Save It: Nightwing
Contrary to popular belief, the original Nightwing was a superhero alias for a Kryptonian crime fighter. Superman and hero Van-Zee have also used the name when fighting crime in Brainiac's bottle city of Kandor. In recent years, the Nightwing name has been used by the human vigilante Dick Grayson after he moved on from the Robin role alongside Batman. Dick Grayson was the first Robin and was taught everything he knows by Batman. Once he was too old to remain under Batman’s wing he knew he had to adopt another identity so that he could continue to fight crime. Nightwing could be a breath of fresh air in the DCEU while also having ties to well-established characters that could make cameos. A Nightwing movie could also be set on a smaller scale allowing for lower budgets and world building within the DCEU as well as allowing for great writing and storytelling with Grayson’s dark past and hopeful future.
15 Could End It: Monarch
Crazy timelines are nothing new in the world of DC. Within the DCEU several fans and critics have speculated that the infamous flashpoint storyline is on the horizon and will reset the movie universe, allowing the exit for some actors while keeping others intact. Another timeline story that could end the current DCEU is that of Monarch. Monarch was the tyrant of Earth fifty years in the future. A scientist decided to travel back in time to stop his rise to power. The scientist found out that a superhero actually became the villain and rose to power by conquering the entire earth. The scientist went back in time not knowing that the evil Monarch was following him the entire time. In the present day, Monarch came into a battle with a hero named Dove and killed her. Dove’s partner Hawk attacked and killed Monarch in a rage. He removed Monarch’s mask revealing that he was Monarch and dawned the armor in that moment. This time shift could completely reset or destroy the current DCEU.
14 Could Save It: Captain Atom
Nathaniel Adam was in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. After being framed for a crime that he did not commit he was sentenced to death. He was given another option. Since he was going to die he had the option to volunteer for an experiment that there was little chance of surviving. If he was able to survive though, he would get a full pardon for “his” crime. The experiment was for Adam to climb aboard a crashed alien ship while the government exploded a nuclear warhead under it to test durability. Adam did survive the blast, but the metal from the alien ship fused to his body and he was shot twenty years into the future. The government thought he was dead for twenty years until time caught up with him and the new administration refused to pardon him. He was used as a government pawn until he could clear his name. Captain Atom could be an underdog military story for the DCEU akin to the Punisher’s Netflix/MCU role.
13 Could End It: Darkseid
There is one villain that the DCEU has been building up in the background for a while. Although it has been more subtle than Marvel’s building of Thanos, there have been hints and even mentions of the character Darkseid. Darkseid is the ruler of Apokolips which is a planet of burning fire and the commander of a team known as Darkseid’s Elite. Although one member of this team was horribly embarrassed in Justice League, the rest of the team is capable of great destruction. Beyond this team is Darkseid himself who is no laughing matter. Although he usually does not fight unless he is provoked he could very well do so since Steppenwolf was defeated. With is army, strength, intelligence, and not to mention the Omega Beams that shoot from his eyes this is one foe who will not go down without a fight. Darkseid’s goal is to find a way to take away freewill and cause people to have steadfast devotion to him. If he can gain this power the DCEU is over.
12 Could Save It: Batman Beyond
The title of Batman always seems to be up in the air. From day to day the involvement of Ben Affleck is wavering. But what is the DCEU without Batman? Well, if creating a universe with older heroes isn’t working out maybe introduce some younger versions. Enter Batman Beyond. Batman Beyond is the alias of Terry McGinnis who is the son of Warren and Mary McGinnis. Warren, who thought he was getting a flu shot, was actually injected with a concoction of nanotechnology created by Amanda Waller that could change any man’s reproductive material to that of Bruce Wayne’s. She created this using Wayne’s blood knowing that one day he would no longer be Batman. This story line may seem out there but in a time when the DCEU seems to barely be hanging on to its Batman it may be time to make the leap and pass on the cowl to a new generation of Bat.
11 Could End It: Nekron
It is usually bad news when death is a character. This would be the case with Nekron. He is the Lord of the Unliving and has the power to summon the dead to do his bidding. Nekron is the enemy of life, thus making him a problem for any hero who takes pride in preserving life. This powerful being is stuck in a dimension of the dead but is constantly trying to find a way into our dimension to destroy the living. Although his origins are very ambiguous, it is thought that he is not a force of darkness. Instead, it is thought that he is darkness and predates the existence of life. If Nekron were to escape from his dimension in the DCEU he could bring an end not only to the heroes, but every living person in that universe. The worse thing about Nekron is that he is the lord of death so even if the Justice League were to find a way to stop him he would simply return to his realm where he would start work on escaping again.
10 Could Save It: John Stewart
Hal Jordan was given the task of giving a power ring and uniform to his new prodigy John Stewart and begrudgingly did so. Jordan thought that Stewart had a bad attitude toward authority which would not make him a good fit for the Green Lantern Corps. Stewart’s first task was to protect a racist politician. When an assassin took a shot at the politician Stewart did not assist Jordan in intervening. When Jordan questioned Stewart he explained that the entire situation was a ruse set up by the politician to gain acclaim and Stewart had saved a police officer in the parking lot from an actual killer. After this Stewart filled in from time to time when Jordan was unavailable until Jordan stepped down and Stewart stepped in full time. This storyline could be a new take for the DCEU and a passing of the torch from an old Green Lantern to a new generation. It is doubtful Ryan Reynolds would return as Hal Jordan but we would like to see Michael B. Jordan get his superhero due as a young John Stewart.
9 Could End It: The Anti-Monitor
Once upon a time in the very hard to follow history of DC plots, there was the creation of two beings: The Monitor who was a force of good and the Anti-Monitor which of course was a force of evil. These two being utter opposites the only logical end was a war. With the two being evenly matched the war ended in both of them being knocked unconscious. After billions of years of inactivity from either the Monitor or the Anti-Monitor a scientist known as Pariah created an anti-matter cube in order to view the beginning of the universe. In doing so he woke the Monitor and Anti-Monitor and the Anti-Monitor immediately used the opportunity to destroy Pariah’s universe. As the Anti-Monitor grows stronger and stronger with the destruction of each universe the Monitor works to delay and eventually stop him. But with the power of the Anti-Monitor growing it is only a matter of time before he can destroy the Monitor and make his way to destroy the DCEU.
8 Could Save It: Jason Todd
Although it hasn’t always been on prominent display in the DCEU, Batman has a strict moral code. What happens when someone he is supposed to work with, someone he himself training, goes against that code? Jason Todd took on the Robin name after Dick Grayson moved on and fought crime alongside Batman until he was killed by Joker with a crowbar. As per usual in the comic book world, Jason did not stay dead but was resurrected as the Red Hood. He is now an anti-hero who does not hesitate to kill an enemy. His introduction could be welcomed in the DCEU with it already being established that there has been a Robin killed by the Joker and Harley Quinn. This type of film could give Ben Affleck a less physical role while allowing him to show off his acting chops as he goes morally toe to toe with his protégé.
7 Could End It: Imperiex
Entropy is the idea that everything in the universe eventually moves from order to chaos. In DC Comics there is a character that embodies this idea named Imperiex. The goal of Imperiex is to destroy universes in order to restart them to make them perfect. Not many things can cause superheroes and villains to fight side by side but this guy can make it happen. In the comics, Imperiex perceives imperfections within the universe and sets out to destroy it. This causes Earth, Warworld, and Apokolips to join forces to stop him. This means Earth’s heroes fought alongside Brainiac 13 and Darkseid. Things usually go awry when working with supervillains and this was no exception, but long story short they were able to stop Imperiex for the time being. That being said, however, there are some imperfections within the DCEU and somewhere out there Imperiex may be set up to destroy it to restart a more-perfect DC universe.
6 Could Save It: John Constantine
Although Constantine had a short stint on television and a movie starring Keanu Reeves, there is still more to be shown. The movie was a standalone and the television show didn’t have the budget to show what Constantine or his enemies are capable of. Constantine is slated to be in a Justice League Dark movie but could have a standalone film before that happens. If Warner Brothers wants to give a little backstory before the Justice League Dark movie, they could even do a buddy cop type movie with Constantine and Swamp Thing. Constantine originated in Swamp Thing where he enlisted Swamp Thing’s help to fight an evil that was trying to emerge and take over the world. With the two finding out how big the evil actually was lead to them recruiting the help of Zatanna, John Zatara, Mento, Baron Winters, Doctor Occult, and Sargon the Sorcerer. Therefore a Constantine movie could be the perfect lead into Justice League Dark.
5 Could End It: Trigon
Humans have often talked about world peace and goodwill knowing that the idea is far from ever becoming true. In the world of DC comics, this idea was accomplished. A group of humans abandoned earth when they were fed up with the way it was being run. They came to a new world and established a world of pacifism and peace. In order to do this, they exorcised all of the dark passions from their souls and cast them into the nether-realms. What could possibly go wrong? Well, all of this evil could merge to become one life form. And that is exactly what happened. All of the evil was summoned into a woman causing her to become pregnant with pure evil. (Think Christmas but much, much worse.) After birth, Trigon killed everyone involved in his summoning and conception including his mother. He now works to destroy worlds and sire children that will do the same. He has one child that was born on earth by the name of Raven.
4 Could Save It: Green Arrow
Unlike his television persona, Green Arrow is usually a fun, lively character and could bring an air of levity to the bleak DCEU without dissolving the world already created. As a child, Oliver Queen idolized Robin Hood and learned how to use a bow and arrow quite efficiently. He developed hesitation to use his weapon, however, after he accidentally killed an animal. When his family took an African safari his parents were mauled by lions and his hesitation cost them their lives. He was raised to adulthood by his uncle until he inherited the Queen fortune and became a drunken playboy with no care in the world. This all changed when he fell off of his boat and was washed up on Starfish Island. The only thing he had was a prop bow from a Robin Hood movie which he floated to the island on. He mastered his bow and survived on the island. When he returned home and took cues from Batman to protect his city.
3 Could End It: Despero
Over the years several heroes and villains have gotten makeovers. Sometimes it is just superficial things such as updated outfits. Sometimes their powers change. But few have gone through more changes than Despero. In the 1960s Despero was a physically weak being but was hyper-intelligent and had the ability to control minds. In more recent years he has become a hulking figure that has brought the Justice League to its knees on a few occasions. Every time Despero comes into confrontation with the Justice League he is defeated and exiled but he keeps coming back. He is driven by his hatred for the Justice League and will not stop his attacks until they are completely destroyed. On most occasions, it is Martian Manhunter that is able to bring Despero down. But in a DCEU without this hero, Despero could destroy them all.
2 Could Save It: Lobo
Two of the bright stars in the superhero movie world are Loki and Wolverine. Loki, being an anti-hero, is full of surprises and mischief whereas Wolverine’s gruff personality makes him an instant fan favorite. DC has a character that embodies both of these fan-favorite personality traits in Lobo. As a child, Lobo created scorpions to kill his entire race claiming it to be a science experiment and gave himself an “A” when they were all dead. Since then he has become a bounty hunter showing no real affection for anyone but having a strict code with the contracts he falls into. He rides a motorcycle through space and is usually drunk. He will fight for good or evil just depending on who is paying the most. If given the right contract he could dismantle the DCEU, but if he were to land a contract with the good guys it could be fun to see him fight alongside the Justice League with his banter and maybe watch him try to weasel his way out of a deal.
1 Could End It: Injustice League Unlimited
If comic history has taught us anything it is that good will rise to match any evil. On the flip side of that evil will rise to match any good. In DC comics anytime a villain rises a superhero also rises to defeat them, however, another villain rises to rival the hero. The same can be said for teams. Thus, with the creation of the Justice League in the DCEU it is only a matter of time before a team rises to match them. The Suicide Squad has nothing on the line up for this team boasting names like Lex Luthor, Joker, Cheetah, Doctor Light, Gorilla Grodd, Killer Frost, Poison Ivy, Bane, Black Manta, Clayface, Deathstroke, Killer Croc, Metallo, Mister Freeze, Reverse Flash, Riddler, Scarecrow, and Two-Face just to name a few. We do not foresee a DCEU movie trying to fit in this many villains but if they did the Justice League and the DCEU could come to a quick end.