There are many things wrong with the theatrical cut of Justice League. One of those is that, given the pantheon of DC supervillains out there, Steppenwolf was a weak choice of antagonist for the first ever time the League united on screen. For one thing, the character’s design falls short of some of the more iconic CG movie bad guys, but here’s a look at how Darkseid’s general could have appeared in an earlier version of the film.
Some concept footage for an initial Steppenwolf design has hit the web, and you can take a look at a screenshot of it in the gallery below. As you can see, it’s a whole lot more monstrous and intimidating than the one in the eventual movie, sporting a different version of his antlered helmet, a less visible, scarier face and a more ornate armor, covered in spikes. To remind you of the finished Steppenwolf, there’s also a screenshot from the film itself included as well.
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As you can see, this take on the villain is much closer to the one depicted in a deleted scene from Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, in which Lex Luthor receives a vision of the Apokoliptian invasion in Zod’s Kryptonian ship. The two looks are distinct, but both favor a much less human interpretation of Steppenwolf. It’s known that this concept was toned down at the request of Warner Bros. early on into JL‘s development, with the studio fearing that he’d be too frightening for kids.
If you follow the link to the original Instagram post below, you’ll see that fans are actually just as mixed about this design as they are the ultimate one. In both cases, the villain is far removed from his comic book counterpart, who is actually a humanoid figure clad in red and black armor. It seems most would’ve preferred it if actor Ciarin Hinds had been allowed to play the part in person, to make Steppenwolf a more tangible threat for the Justice League.