WARNING: This post may contain spoilers for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League.
Now that Batman V Superman has been released, the introduction of the DC Universe to film audiences has begun. A bevy of characters are about to create a larger universe on screen, for better or for worse. We got a good look at some of these characters in Dawn of Justice, but the most mysterious character is likely the major evil that threatens in Batman’s awkward “knightmare” and the newly released deleted scene. The identity isn’t confirmed yet — could be Steppenwolf, could be Darkseid, could be a brain fart in Zack Snyder’s mind, but all signs point towards Darkseid, the big bad Jack Kirby creation who represents pure evil, lives on a planet that shoots towers of fire, and is out to enslave the universe.
If the sign posts weren’t clear in Batman V Superman, you might be new to Darkseid’s existence in DC Comics. There are moments in the film where Zack Snyder essentially hits you over the head with hints, from the nightmare, to the small scene with Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and the cube that gives him his powers, to Lex Luthor’s painting at the end of the movie. Clues are out in the open.
The painting is a nice clue that aids in understanding who Darkseid is as a character. Unlike Marvel’s Thanos — who has a fascination with death and takes a lot of influence from Kirby’s character — Darkseid and the Fourth World have their origins planted firmly in religious myth. Darkseid’s realm of Apokolips is countered by the bright, good New Genesis. They are locked in a constant war against each other that features notable characters from both sides battling, including Darkseid’s own son Orion — a major hero who might make an appearance, too.
Darkseid himself begins his existence as the corrupted prince of Apokolips, feeling he is the next in line and deciding to murder his brother as he claims the Omega Force as his own. This corrupts Darkseid into the stone form he’s become known for in the comics as he begins his rule. From there, it’s a mixture of Greek mythology, Paradise Lost, and bits of the Old Testament tossed together with world history and the Nazi regime.