Did Empire magazine just reveal one of the big spoilers of ‘Batman v Superman’?

As one of the foremost high-visibility fans of Zack Snyder's Man Of Steel, I have listened to several years now of people telling me why I'm wrong, and why Superman would never do the things he did in that film.

I suspect we're going to hear that same conversation turned up to a deafening roar once Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice arrives in theaters. In the newest issue of Empire magazine, producer Chuck Roven described Batman in this film as an older angrier version of the character, someone who has decided to play “judge, jury, and executioner,” setting off a flurry of thinkpieces about how they've ruined the character.

While I adore Man Of Steel, I understand why some people don't care for that version of the character, or for the choices made in the film, especially towards the ending. I disagree, but at least I can see why some Superman fans disliked that approach. It's clear that Snyder is building from that film's character ideas and story points in Dawn Of Justice. More than that, though, he is leaning heavily on Frank Miller's take on Batman, which was way more dark and violent and deranged than the accepted take up till that point. I would imagine we're destined for more controversy about how each and every thing is handled. Lex Luthor. Wonder Woman. Aquaman. Batman. Doomsday. Just based on the trailers we've seen so far, there are so many things that comic book and movie fans can argue about already that it almost feels like the film has already come out.

It hasn't, of course, and there are things that I would assume we have not seen yet, including major story points. That same Empire piece included mention of a bad guy who we haven't seen in any of the trailers yet, and if you don't want to know what I'm talking about, bail out now. But it makes sense, with Justice League: Part I set for release at the end of next year. They don't have the luxury of setting things up across a ton of different movies, the way The Avengers did. Instead, they've got Batman v Superman, then Suicide Squad, then Wonder Woman. That's it. Then we're heading straight into Justice League, and it seems Warner has now made it official that we're going to be seeing the character that could easily be called “The DC answer to Thanos,” which is the same as saying that Thanos is the Marvel version of this guy. Whichever way you parse it, we are apparently only a few months away now from the arrival of Darkseid.

The image you're looking at there is from a dream sequence, I'm pretty sure, with Batman having a nightmare about what Superman's impact on Earth could be. I can't imagine Darkseid's going to be in much of the film, but the image that Warner released is pretty crazy, and it suggests that we'll see more than just a smile at the camera, a la Thanos and his quick arrival at the end of The Avengers. That is certainly a dramatic introduction for the ruler of planet Apokolips. He is one of the most powerful beings in the entire DC Universe by design, and when Jack Kirby created him, he made no bones about being very clear that Darkseid was based on Adolf Hitler. He is fascism on an interstellar scale, and over the course of his time as a DC bad guy, he's had a positively Shakesperean family history of betrayal and murder and conquest. See that giant Omega symbol in that picture? Well, that's one of the trademarks of Darkseid, who shoots “Omega Beams” from his eyes and hands.

I'll be curious to see if he's pulling strings in this film, or if his attention is drawn to Earth by the events of the movie. Whatever the case, it appears that Zack Snyder and his collaborators aren't going to rest until they've set the entire nerd world on fire with arguments about how they're adapting each new element of the DC Universe. I'm excited for March 25 to get here already.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25, 2016.
Suicide Squad opens August 5 , 2016.
Wonder Woman opens June 23, 2017.
And Justice League: Part 1 opens November 17, 2017.