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Credit: HBO Max

Darkseid, Iris West & shirtless Aquaman: Breaking down the first trailer for Zack Snyder's Justice League

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Aug 22, 2020, 7:35 PM EDT

The day of reckoning has come, brothers and sisters. The very first trailer for Zack Snyder's Justice League is here, and it's basically all new footage that we didn't get to see in the Joss Whedon version that opened in theaters nearly three years ago.

The teaser wasn't the only big thing revealed during the movie's DC FanDome panel: Director Zack Snyder also provided some much-needed background on how the film will arrive on HBO Max next year. According to him, it's going to be broken up into four one-hour segments, with plans to combine them into one giant beast for those who want to enjoy all four hours in one sitting.

But let's get back to the trailer, because there's a lot to talk about here. Almost everything about it is different from the movie currently streaming on HBO Max. To prepare ourselves, we here at SYFY WIRE re-watched the theatrical version last night to refresh ourselves on the discrepancies we'd find in the footage released today. Turns out we were right to do that. For your enjoyment, here's a detailed, blow-by-blow breakdown of the debut teaser, and all the questions still remaining.

 

Darkseid's debut:

Credit: HBO Max

The trailer wastes no time in giving us our very first look at Darkseid. Played by Ray Porter, the villain is the feared ruler of Apokolips (a hell-like planet) and a ruthless warlord, who conquers other worlds with his army of Parademons. Created by Jack Kirby, Darkseid was the direct inspiration for Jim Starlin's Thanos the Mad Titan at Marvel. Unlike the theatrical version, the Snyder Cut will feature Darkseid as the main antagonist.

Superman in peril:

Credit: HBO Max

Superman (Henry Cavill) is clearly in a lot of pain here, but what are those bolts of energy surrounding him? Is this an alternate take of the Man of Steel pulling the Mother Boxes apart in the finale?

Hall of Justice in ruins:

Credit: HBO Max

And here we have another look at the "Knightmare" future Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) saw in Dawn of Justice. In this reality where Darkseid conquered Earth, the Hall of Justice crumbled into rubble. In the theatrical version, Bruce, Diana (Gal Gadot), and Alfred (Jeremy Irons) don't visit the League's prospective headquarters until the end of the movie.

Diana visits the Amazon temple:

Credit: HBO Max

This looks like a direct follow-up to the scene where the Amazons light the ancient warning fire after Steppenwolf steals the first Mother Box from Themyscira. After seeing that the Amazon temple caught fire, Diana visits the scene and learns that the planet is in danger. It's probably just one of the many little things that were cut by Joss Whedon to get the film to a two-hour runtime.

Aquaman gets shirtless:

Credit: HBO Max

Jason Momoa without a shirt on. That's it, that's the tweet. But seriously, this is just an extended version of the moment just before Arthur Curry heads to Atlantis to check on the second Mother Box.

Victor Stone's athletic career:

Credit: HBO Max

Aside from Barry Allen (Ezra Miller), Victor Stone (Ray Fisher) got the short end of the stick when it came to explaining his backstory. The explanation of his cybernetic enhancements were pretty much glossed over in Batman v Superman and the theatrical cut of Justice League. Fortunately, it looks as though Snyder will dive into Stone's life before an explosion killed his mother and left him grievously injured.

Superman's black suit:

Credit: HBO Max

Much ado has been made about the inclusion of Superman's black or "Recovery" suit. Here we can see him visiting the Antarctic Fortress of Solitude while wearing the black and silver costume. Back in February of 2018, SYFY WIRE ran an exclusive deleted scene in which Clark looks for some new duds, one of which is the Recovery Suit.

Wonder Woman and the hostages:

Credit: HBO Max

Yet another extended sequence with Diana, this looks like it picks up right after Wonder Woman thwarts the terrorist plot led by Game of Thrones' Michael McElhatton.

Iris West whiplash:

Credit: HBO Max

This is HUGE! Iris West is officially in the DCEU! Kiersey Clemons was originally cast as Barry Allen's love interest, but her scenes were ultimately cut when Joss Whedon took over reshoots. This never-before-seen moment where Barry saves her from a car crash (which, by the way, feels like something out of a Spider-Man flick) probably bogged down the plot. Nevertheless, it will likely be very important in setting the stage for The Flash standalone movie in 2022.

Grave-digging Cyborg?

Credit: HBO Max

Superman's body is dug back up by Victor and Barry in the theatrical cut, but what exactly is going on here? This doesn't look like Kansas, Toto, and Victor seems to be all alone as he robs a grave.

Ma Kent visits Lois Lane:

Credit: HBO Max

In the theatrical cut, Lois (Amy Adams) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane) are immediately reunited over a cup of coffee at the Daily Planet offices. With more room to breathe, Snyder has the time to depict a more emotional reunion between the women in Superman's life.

Atlantean trident:

Credit: HBO Max

After Steppenwolf gets away with the Atlantean Mother Box in the theatrical cut, Arthur and Mera (Amber Heard) have a short conversation about his mother, Queen Atlanna (eventually played by Nicole Kidman in Aquaman) and his duty to protect the world. "I'm gonna need something from you," Arthur says to her. He later shows up underneath Gotham Harbor with a snazzy wetsuit and trident, so we'd wager this shot comes from a scene where Mera hooks Arthur up with some Atlantean swag.

Welcome to Apokolips:

Credit: HBO Max

Yet another glimpse at the hellscape that is Apokolips ... or is this Earth after Darkseid's conquered it? Lois is the key!

Who are you?

Credit: HBO Max

No, seriously, who is this dude? They look like Corvus Glaive, member of the Black Order and servant to Thanos. Again, the comparisons aren't that far off since Darkseid came first. Nevertheless, we're curious as to the identity of this alien. Are they Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) or another minion of Apokolips?

Staggering Cyborg:

Credit: HBO Max

It's a little Terminator-esque to see Victor shuffling along on what can only be an injured leg. One can only guess what happened to him, but come on, Barry. You're right there, give your team member a hand!

RIP Silas Stone:

Credit: HBO Max

Silas, Victor's father (played by Joe Morton), is nearly killed in the theatrical cut by Steppenwolf, but ends up saved by the Flash. Based on this, Snyder planned to disintegrate Stone Sr. with the power from the Mother Box as Victor looks on in horror. Is he trying to destroy it before Darkseid can get his hands on it? Whatever the answer, Victor's death resembles Jon Osterman's in Snyder's 2009 adaptation of Watchmen.

Steppenwolf 2.0:

Credit: HBO Max

Snyder recently teased his more menacing design for Darkseid's horned lieutenant. Now we can see his arrival (in all its spiky glory) at Themyscira for the first Mother Box.

Goodbye, orange hue:

Credit: HBO Max

Taken from the film's climax, this moment is lacking the orange doomsday color of the theatrical cut. The blueish/monochromatic vibe is much more in line with Snyder's visual style.

Superman vs. Steppenwolf:

Credit: HBO Max

Here's another look at the new and improved Steppenwolf as he clashes with Superman within the nuclear reactor in Russia. We don't have much to say about it, except that it looks cool.

Time travel?

Credit: HBO Max

During the FanDome panel, Snyder hinted that we'll get to see some of the Flash's time-travel powers on display in his cut of the film. With that in mind, we wonder if this instance takes place in some kind of time tunnel. In any case, we'll see the character's temporal ability on full display in the character's solo movie in the summer of 2022.

Smallville hug:

Credit: HBO Max

D'awwww. Clark hugging Lois and his mom is so heartwarming, it makes you wonder why it was axed from the theatrical release in the first place.

Master of missiles:

Credit: HBO Max

A blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment. Someone wearing a Gotham University letterman jacket directs a bunch of missiles away from himself. While this is most likely Cyborg (who had an athletic scholarship to GCU), this shot doesn't show any of his cybernetic enhancements as far as we can see. This is very unlikely, but we really hope that this is actually Harry Lennix as Martian Manhunter.

Team meeting:

Credit: HBO Max

This exchange between Barry and Bruce is nowhere to be found in the theatrical cut.

"This guy's probably fought hundreds of thousands of other super-beings on the other planets he's destroyed," a defeatist Barry says. "We have to assume that he's won."

Bruce parries with: "I don't care how many demons he's fought in how many hells ... he's never fought us." It's a pretty badass line that is sure to precede the final battle.