With this year’s San Diego Comic-Con now in full swing, DC’s film panel showcased some new information and footage for upcoming movies including the fast approaching Justice League. The studio released a special Comic-Con Sneak Peek online that showed off the film’s villain Steppenwolf for the first time, but who is the axe-wielding antagonist and where did he come from?
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Following legendary comic book writer Jack Kirby’s departure from Marvel Comics in the early 1970s, he began to work for DC Comics with the intention of creating a variety of new characters that operated in a world/universe that was to be a one-off, self-contained story away from the rest of the DC Comics continuity (i.e. the stories of Batman, Superman etc.). The most up to date version of the Fourth World tale saw a being named Uxas ascend to the place of the Old Gods on his home world, a forbidden act, where he ultimately tricked them into going to war with one another in a scheme to steal their immense powers while they were busy fighting. This was successful, and Uxas began to absorb the powers of the Old Gods, but while doing so his brother, who had accompanied him, was also able to absorb some of the power too. Following this, Uxas christened himself Darkseid and sought to enslave all life to his will while his brother became HighFather who wished to lead life to a higher state of being. The two had become New Gods.
Following this, Darkseid formed the hellish slave world of Apokolips and High Father created a heavenly world called New Genesis. As stated earlier, Apokolips and New Genesis were always intended to exist outside of the mainstream DC Comics universe, however, after Kirby’s departure from the company DC sought to roll the Fourth World story and its characters into its main continuity and so to allow access to these two worlds from Earth (and vice versa) there were devices known as Boomtubes that opened portals to get from one to the other, which provided the only way to do so. In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice we were introduced to Motherboxes (pictured below) that will essentially be acting as Boomtubes in the DC film world, known as the DC Extended Universe.
Also in Batman v Superman, we saw a representation of Darkseid’s top military commander Steppenwolf generated by the crashed Kryptonian ship (shown above) that was educating Lex Luthor on the stores of Kryptonian knowledge that Superman’s home world had gathered during its time. Clearly a hint at the character’s appearance in a DCEU film to come.
Now we know about Steppenwolf’s involvement in Justice League, and the movie’s latest Comic-Con trailer (mentioned earlier) gave us our first real look at the emergence of the Apokoliptian in the DCEU. The footage showed Steppenwolf coming through a portal generated by the Motherbox located on Wonder Woman’s homeworld of Themyscira. The cinematic incarnation of the war chief looks as though he will retain much of his original characteristics in the comics; his guise, electro-axe weapon and his superhuman abilities such as strength, stamina and invulnerability. As of yet, it is unclear as to where Steppenwolf sits in terms of the amount of power he possesses in comparison to a being like Superman, for example, although it’s quite likely that given this is a Justice League team-up movie it will take more than just The Last Son of Krypton to bring him down.
Justice League arrives in theatres November 17th.