Though we recently learned that Warner Bros. have no intention of ever releasing Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League, fingers remain crossed that someone at the top will one day change their mind, similar to how Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut saw the light of day long after Richard Lester’s version hit theaters.
One reason that I say this is because I happen to be a huge fan of the almighty Darkseid, the biggest bad in the DC Universe. And had the studio not called an audible by reducing Justice League to a standalone event as opposed to the two-parter it was originally intended to be, we would’ve seen the true Lord of Apokolips in the followup.
Of course, Joss Whedon made more than a few alterations once he was brought aboard to replace Snyder, one of which was reframing the story so that Steppenwolf be looked at as the supreme evil, thus removing expectations of Darkseid waiting in the wings.
Offering a hint at what was previously on the agenda is visual effects house Weta Digital, who had this to say about a certain epic battle scene:
“We handled the massive battle flashback where Steppenwolf and legions of armies from all over the DC Universe fight for the anti-life equation. It’s set in a fully CG environment with big energy effects and large-scale battle scenes.”
From the sound of it, the Mother Boxes replaced the Anti-Life Equation as the MacGuffin in the theatrical cut, a creative move that I imagine was executed as another means of assuring nobody look beyond Steppenwolf. But had plans not been altered, the third act would’ve been much grander in scale as well, thus forcing us to continue pondering the alternative.
How Snyder would’ve presented the Anti-Life Equation (something that’d allow for Darkseid to enslave all life in the universe) is known only to a few at the moment, so it’s hard to pin down how it’d have factored into Justice League. It’s been interpreted differently in various comics and cartoons in the past because it’s essentially an intangible, but you really can’t craft a tale featuring Jack Kirby’s baby without it.