Zack Snyder’s Justice League has arrived, and it’s a cinematic mic drop. If you’re a fan of the Justice League, then this film brings your favorite characters to life for an action-packed tour de force that pays tribute to their comic book roots. With a four-hour runtime, there’s so much to digest that it will probably take multiple viewings to catch everything. Trust me, I’ve tried! I’ve already watched it twice, and along with offering an epic, emotional tale about the formation of the iconic team, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is chock full of Easter eggs…and we’ve rounded them all up here! So, refill that popcorn and get comfortable as we discuss what we found and what it all might mean.
- This movie draws some inspiration from Justice League: Origin, a 2011 story arc that reimagined the League’s origin for DC’s New 52 publishing initiative. The story follows the League as they come together to fight Parademons and eventually face Darkseid himself. Some of the film’s imagery and a few scenes were partially inspired by panels from the comic story.
- The New Gods are at the center of this movie, bringing Jack Kirby’s classic creations to live action for the first time. If you want to learn more about Darkseid, Steppenwolf, Desaad and Granny Goodness, check out this great article from my buddy Alex Jaffe.
- As Martha Kent pays her respects at Clark’s grave, she’s joined by Dusty, the Kent family dog. Although the name is slightly altered, this seems to be a reference to Clark’s pet Rusty, who accidentally helped him learn how to fly in 1986’s The Man of Steel #1.
- Lois gives a cup of coffee to a Metropolis cop who just happens to be a double Easter egg. The officer’s name is Jerry, which is an homage to Superman’s co-creator Jerry Siegel and he’s played by Marc McClure, who played Jimmy Olsen in Superman: The Movie and its subsequent sequels.
- Dr. Silas Stone’s colleague is Ryan Choi, who comic book fans might know as the Atom. Choi’s comic book counterpart would go on to join the Justice League much like his predecessor Ray Palmer. Ryan’s destiny is briefly alluded to at the end when he mentions nanotechnology. If you’re in the mood for a heartwarming read, check out Gail Simone’s (Choi’s co-creator) tweet thread detailing her reaction to finally seeing Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
- S.T.A.R. Labs and the government labeled the Mother Box as Object 6-19-82, which translates to June 1982—the cover date for Tales of the New Teen Titans #1, which reveals Cyborg’s origin.
- During the Age of Heroes flashback a Green Lantern can be seen fighting alongside the people of Earth. That warrior is Yalan Gur, a Green Lantern who served the Guardians thousands of years before Hal Jordan was born.
- As the movie takes us to Central City, viewers can spot a produce truck playfully labeled Gardner Fox, one of DC’s original superstar creators. Fox co-created the original Flash, Hawkman, Sandman, the Justice Society, and yes—the Justice League (below)! In fact, he wrote the first story that shows Batman using a Batarang and introduced the Multiverse in 1961’s Flash #123. Not only would this movie have never existed without him, but the entire DC Universe would be unrecognizable.
- Seconds before the produce truck causes Iris West’s car accident, keep your eyes peeled for a hot dog cart with the name Granny Goodness on it. Sounds like Granny needed a fallback plan in case Steppenwolf wasn’t able to unite the Mother Boxes.
- Victor Stone plays football for Gotham City University, a college that has been a part of the DC Universe ever since 1941’s World’s Finest #3. The scene where Victor looks in the stands for his father is taken directly from 2011’s Justice League #1.
- During the flashback to Cyborg’s past, we learn that Victor Stone helped a struggling classmate named Sarah. This could either be referring to Sarah Simms or Dr. Sarah Charles, two of the most important women in Victor’s life.
- Victor uses his powers to help a struggling woman named Linda Reed. Is this a reference to the original Girl Archer from 1951’s Adventure Comics #167, or just a coincidence? Until Zack Snyder tells me otherwise, I’m calling it a bona fide reference!
- Henry Allen is incarcerated in Iron Heights, a prison that has been housing most of the Flash’s rogues since 2001’s The Flash: Iron Heights #1. Fans of the Flash comic books and the CW television series know that Henry was framed for his wife’s murder by the Reverse-Flash, as detailed in the Flashpoint crossover event.
- As Bruce approaches Barry’s secret lair, sharp-eyed viewers might catch National Storage on a building in the background. This is an homage to National Comics Publications, an early name for DC Entertainment.
- When Bruce and Barry are driving away from Central City, a mural for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention can be seen. Zack Snyder and his fans have been very important allies for AFSP, and have helped the organization raise over $500,000. To learn more about AFSP and how you can help, please check out this link.
- The police officer who speaks to Commissioner Gordon is Crispus Allen. Detective Allen starred in the critically acclaimed series Gotham Central, before becoming a host for the Spectre.
- When Bruce, Diana and Barry spot the Bat-Signal in the sky, Ace Chemicals can be seen in another part of the skyline. The infamous chemical plant is the spot of the Joker’s origin and it was first named in the critically acclaimed graphic novel The Killing Joke.
- The League’s first confrontation with Steppenwolf takes place on Stryker’s Island. The island is usually known as the home of Stryker’s Island Penitentiary, which was first seen in 1987’s Superman #9.
- When Cyborg receives a vision of a post-apocalyptic future, a dead Green Lantern can be seen atop a pile of wreckage. This fallen soldier appears to be Kilowog, a gruff but gentle giant who first appeared in Green Lantern Corps #201.
- During Cyborg’s nightmarish premonition, the wreckage of a building can be seen and it’s clear from the architecture that it’s none other than the Hall of Justice. The iconic building has off-and-on served as the Justice League’s headquarters ever since the 1973 Super Friends animated series.
- The scene where a revived Superman takes flight for the first time mirrors the sequence where Clark learned how to fly in the 2013 film Man of Steel. It was a nice moment that reminded us of the eight-year journey we’ve been on with Zack Snyder and Henry Cavill, and how it led us here.
- During the closing epilogue, Batman is seen with a Batmobile that looks more like a military grade tank than the previous model. This war machine is inspired by the behemoth of a Batmobile that was seen in the classic storyline The Dark Knight Returns.
- Batman has an unlikely ally during the Knightmare epilogue—Deathstroke! When fans began speculating on the meaning behind a mysterious symbol on Deathstroke’s sword, Joe Manganiello confirmed that the mark represented the League of Shadows.
- In this film, Arkham Asylum is referred to as Arkham Home for the Emotionally Troubled. This renaming of the infamous Asylum also comes from The Dark Knight Returns. According to a plaque, Arkham was established in 1974, which was the year Batman #258 (Arkham’s first appearance) was published.
- Not only does Jared Leto return as the Joker, but he references one of the Clown Prince’s most heinous acts—the murder of Robin! The Clown Prince famously murdered the Boy Wonder in the controversial storyline Batman: A Death in the Family.
- The film ends with Bruce Wayne being approached by a new ally who calls himself the Martian Manhunter. This shapeshifting hero from Mars first appeared in Detective Comics #225 and was one of the founding members of the League. In fact, he’s even had a few stints as team leader. With dangerous beings like Darkseid waiting to strike, the League is going to need all the help they could get!
Honestly, there’s probably a lot more where that came from! With four hours of footage, this movie is a treasure trove of DC Comics lore. Did you catch anything cool I missed? Head on over to the DC Community and let us know!
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Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, “Gotham Gazette.” Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.