Zack Snyder’s plans for Justice League 3 might have brought a major element from Man of Steel into the story. After the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League in 2021, the remaining unmade movies of his planned story remain passionately called for by his fans and followers. The world has a generally sound idea of what ground Snyder’s two intended sequels to Justice League were to cover, as his outlines for Justice League 2 and Justice League 3 were released in tandem with the Snyder Cut.
As envisioned by Snyder, Henry Cavill’s Superman was to be the center of the story, first revealing himself to the world in Man of Steel and inspiring his fellow heroes in the Justice League in different ways. Kal-El also carried the DNA of his people inside of himself in the form of Krypton’s codex. Man of Steel is the only DCEU movie to have made any mention of the codex, but that might not have been intended to remain permanent in the story of Snyder’s Justice League sequels.
With the plot device of the codex remaining unresolved since 2013, there is reason to think that Snyder might have intended to finally pay it off in Justice League 3. The nature of the codex itself and the purpose it served for Krypton argues for an eventual resolution, and paired with Snyder’s known Justice League 3 outline, the film could have been just the right spot to do so. Here’s how Justice League 3 might theoretically have concluded Man of Steel‘s codex story thread.
Man Of Steel’s Codex Explained
In Man of Steel, the Kryptonian codex acted as a safeguard to ensure the continued survival of Krypton’s people in the event of their race being wiped out. When Krypton’s doom becomes clear, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) steals the codex and bonds it to the DNA of his infant son Kal-El before sending him to Earth. When Krypton’s military commander General Zod (Michael Shannon) and his surviving soldiers arrive 33 years later, their goal is to retrieve the codex, carrying the genetics of un-born Kryptonians, and terraform Earth in order to establish a new Krypton and repopulate.
Superman’s efforts with the US military thwart Zod’s plans, with most of the Kryptonians being returned to the Phantom Zone and Superman forced to break Zod’s neck in their final battle. In introducing the codex with its stated purpose in Man of Steel, there’s reason to think that Snyder might have intended to deliver on it in epic fashion down the road. The plans for Justice League 3 offer some potential clues to how it would have played out.
Justice League 3 Was (Thematically) Paying Off A Jor-El Prophecy
In the Justice League sequels, after the post-apocalyptic Knightmare timeline was prevented by The Flash (Ezra Miller), Justice League 3 was intended to showcase Superman leading the League and all of mankind against Darkseid (Ray Porter) in the final battle against Apokolips. Batman (Ben Affleck) would ultimately sacrifice himself to stop Darkseid, with the son of Clark and Lois Lane (Amy Adams) being named Bruce Kent in his honor. 20 years later, Bruce Kent would become the new Batman, and this would act as a thematic fulfillment of Jor-El’s hopes for what Kal-El could bring to Earth.
In Man of SteelJor-El reveals to his son that it was the wish of him and his mother Lara Lor-Van (Ayelet Zurer) to live among humans for a time, and eventually repopulate the Kryptonian race with the codex so that he could be “The bridge between two worlds.Bruce Kent, as a half-human, half-Kryptonian (changed from Snyder’s original plan of Batman being the father of Lois’ son), would be the personification of that very idea envisioned by Jor-El, while his name makes that connection. run even deeper. Over the course of Snyder’s intended arc encompassing five movies, Batman and Superman were to go from sworn enemies to trusted allies.
Superman naming his son after Bruce Wayne would have been not just a way for the Man of Steel to honor the Dark Knight, but would have also brought their relationship full circle. Once viewed by Batman with hatred and paranoia, Superman’s own heroic death in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opened Bruce’s eyes, leading to Batman’s journey of redemption with the Justice League. Bruce Kent, named for a man who once saw Kal-El as an alien menace to be destroyed, would be the literal embodiment of the example set by Henry Cavill’s Superman of bridging Earth and Krypton, as Jor-El once foretold. However, even the successor to Batman’s mantle doesn’t fully illustrate how that payoff might have happened in Justice League 3.
How The Codex Could Have Worked In Justice League 3
Superman was General Zod’s target in being the bearer of the codex in Man of Steel, and it is not inconceivable that he would not have been the only one interested in it. With Snyder’s Knightmare plans to involve Darkseid controlling Superman with the Anti-Life Equation, Darkseid had a potential legion of Kryptonians at his fingertips, and this could potentially have led to the codex re-emerging as a plot device in the Justice League sequels. On the flip side, what Superman and Jor-El envisioned for the codex and Krypton could have led to something quite different.
Harvesting the codex from Superman’s DNA could have enabled Kal-El to lead his people into a new world after being freed from Darkseid’s tool of Anti-Life Equation, but it could have also made the finale of Justice League 3 even more epic. With Superman and the League leading the armies of Atlantis, Themyscira, and mankind against Apokolips, the codex could have also created additional support with an entire population of Kryptonians joining the fight against Darkseid’s forces. While the codex is not featured in Snyder’s whiteboard plans for Justice League 2 and Justice League 3, it is important to remember that the version that has been released represents the initial plan. Any finalized story for the Justice League sequels could have incorporated the codex and a revived Kryptonian population into the story. If so, this would have acted as the other side of the coin from Bruce Kent’s role in the story.
Bruce Kent & The Codex Would Be Micro & Macro Fulfillments Of Jor-El’s Wish
Bruce Kent represents Jor-El’s wish for Superman to overcome his dark challenges and be the bridge between man and Kryptonians on a very personal level. In turning Batman from an enemy into a friend, Superman saved the Dark Knight from his fall from heroism and honored his legacy with his son’s name. While this is a micro-scale fulfillment of that vision, the codex could potentially have done the same on the macro.
The codex itself has influences from the World of New Krypton comic book story, in which bottled Kryptonian city Kandor is freed from its imprisonment by Brainiac, and its Kryptonian population establishes a new Krypton in Earth’s orbit. This eventually leads to the War of New Krypton story, with General Zod leading an assault on Earth with Superman and his fellow heroes standing opposed. While Snyder has made teases of the Justice League sequels adapting Final Crisisif the codex had been brought back into the story, World of New Krypton might have also proven an influence. Most importantly, it would have acted as a macro-level payoff of Jor-El’s prophecy.
The fully updated version of Snyder’s plans for the Justice League sequels remains a mystery, and while it would have carried over a large portion of the basic story laid out, there is undoubtedly more to Snyder’s revised blueprint for the two films. The codex, bearing as much weight to the story of Man of Steel as it does, has been one of the DCEU’s most long-standing riddles with its single film appearance. That seemingly makes Justice League 3 as good a guess as any for where Zack Snyder’s unfinished Justice League arc was intended to finally bring the ultimate purpose of the codex to fruition.
NEXT: Why WB Won’t Be Able To Escape The Snyder Cut
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