Zack Snyder's Justice League is finally available to stream, and with it comes glimpses of the DC Extended Universe that could have been — especially with Snyder's version now existing outside the timeline of all the upcoming (and recent) movies, and the director himself having stated that the studio hasn't expressed any interest in making more movies with him. (Though never say never!)
One of these potential storylines has to do with a new figure eventually stepping into the famous Batcowl, replacing Bruce Wayne at the end of his crime-fighting tenure. And just who was Snyder's prime candidate? Well, it was none other than Bruce Kent, son of Clark Kent (AKA Superman) and Lois Lane, who Snyder had planned to feature in one of his two planned sequels.
"It was going to be Lois and Superman's son," Snyder told Vanity Fair. "He doesn’t have any powers, and then he was going to end up being the new Batman."
As the Army of the Dead director goes on to outline, the movies would have flash-forwarded to a scene in the future, where Lois and Clark introduce the now-adult Bruce to their fallen friend and his namesake. "Twenty years later, on the anniversary of [Batman’s] death, they take young Bruce Kent down to the Batcave and they say, ‘Your Uncle Bruce would’ve been proud if you did this.'"
All of this was to build off yet another planned plot point, in which Batman would have died during one of the now-cancelled sequels, having given up his life to save Lois.
Snyder had originally wanted there to be a romance between both characters, something Warner Bros. pushed back on, so Bruce's motivation was then changed. But the sacrifice remained the same.
"The intention was that Bruce fell in love with Lois and then realized that the only way to save the world was to bring Superman back to life," said Snyder of what he'd wanted to do with that story thread. "So he had this insane conflict, because Lois, of course, was still in love with Superman. We had this beautiful speech where [Bruce] said to Alfred: 'I never had a life outside the cave. I never imagined a world for me beyond this. But this woman makes me think that if I can get this group of gods together, then my job is done. I can quit. I can stop.' And of course, that doesn’t work out for him."
Despite this subplot not being present in his new version of the film, Snyder said that Batman would still be forced to reckon with his guilt after not stepping in front of a blast that kills Lois. This would prompt a heartbroken Superman to lose the will to fight, and give Darkseid the opportunity to take control of him, in turn leading to the deaths of fellow League members Wonder Woman and Aquaman, as well as countless civilians.
"The world falls because Superman succumbs to the Anti-Life Equation," explained Snyder of how this, in turn, would tie back into the Knightmare sequence he'd included in Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. "That’s what the post-apocalyptic world is: Superman just searching for Batman to kill him to get his revenge for the death of Lois."
Of course, all of this would have been undone by Cyborg sending the Flash back into the past so he could warn Bruce to step in front of the blast, thus sacrificing his own life to save Lois and the rest of the world. In fact, according to another tidbit shared by Snyder, Batman's actions in the past would also have saved the life of his eventual successor.
"Lois is pregnant at the end of the movie," said Snyder of this new twist, a storyline Warner Bros. had wanted to cut from the film before he left the project back in 2017. (A pregnancy test can be spotted in her nightstand.) "That was always was my hope, but they made me not do it, originally. But I got it in."
Zack Snyder's Justice League is currently streaming on HBO Max.