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5 ‘Justice League’ Stories Fit For Film


If you want to measure the influence of Marvel’s blockbuster hit The Avengers, just look at how quickly Warner Bros. and DC Comics have assembled their own interlocking cinematic universe. After the success of 2013’s Man of Steel, the Distinguished Competition immediately began adding more and more Justice League elements to their still untitled Man of Steel sequel. First came Ben Affleck as Batman, then came Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and then they added Ray Fisher as Cyborg. Earlier this week came the news fans have been expecting for some time now; a Justice League film by Zack Snyder will arrive comparatively hot on the heels of 2016’s MoS follow-up.

The announcement puts to bed all the rumors that 2016’s Man of Steel sequel would sneakily turn into a full on Justice League film. No, the most powerful team in comics will make their big screen debut in a movie that bears their name. But with over five decades of continuity to pull from, what stories should Snyder and company pull from to make the best JLA film? We have a few suggestions.

Crisis On Apokolips

Crisis on Apokolips

This stretch of issues – Justice League of America #183-185 – was already heavily rumored to be the basis of a past JLA script, and we can see why. There’s almost no other choice for a Justice League villain besides the ultra-powerful Darkseid; who else could withstand punches from both Superman and Wonder Woman? The story, which pits the JLA and their Earth-2 counterparts against the evil forces of Apokolips, would need a lot of paring down in order to makes sense in the more grounded Snyder-verse. Still, if Justice League brings beloved DC concepts like the New Gods and New Genesis into the fold, it will simultaneously distance itself from the Marvel movies while injecting some old-fashioned DC fun into the fledgling franchise.

New World Order

New World Order

When a team of alien do-gooders call the Hyperclan arrive on Earth, the JLA can’t help but be a little suspicious of their altruism. They were correct in their assumption, as the League soon discovered that the “heroes” were in fact alien invaders using mind control tech to sway public opinion against Superman and his super friends. The threat of an alien invasion was big enough to unite the Avengers, and the same can be done for the Justice League as well. Plus, this type of stealth, public-relations-driven invasion is pretty different from the mindless swarm of Chitauri that plagued Manhattan back in 2012; the comparisons between the two uniting events really end at “the bad guys are aliens.” Justice League needs a threat that’s big enough to justify uniting the team, and this extraterrestrial threat would also be the perfect way to bring Martian Manhunter into the fold.

Rock Of Ages

Rock of Ages

Another storyline from the Grant Morrison and Howard Porter JLA era, “Rock of Ages” would at least ensure that Jesse Eisenberg gets another go at Lex Luthor after his debut in the Man of Steel sequel. Instead of a team of aliens squaring off against the heroes, this storyline features a number of the Leaguers archenemies all banding together to form the Injustice Gang. This super-powered team of bad guys would also provide the perfect place to reintroduce the Joker on the big screen; the clown prince of crime would have to be drastically different from the Dark Knight version just based on this story’s setting, plot and circumstances. Heath Ledger’s iconic Joker would never team up with other bad guys the way this Joker does.

JLA: Year One

Year One

Why not start at the beginning? This 12-issue series reimagined the Justice League’s origin in much more down-to-Earth terms. The team fought against clashing personalities and media backlash just as much as they fought bad guys like Vandal Savage and the Brotherhood of Evil. No, it’s not as flashy as some of the other stories out there, but it does expertly mix grounded realism with the flashy heroics DC Comics are known for; Snyder would win over a lot of fans by taking pointers from this series’ tone. Plus, with Superman and Batman in diminished roles, fans would get to know – and love – Black Canary, Aquaman and the Flash.

Justice League: Origin


Ray Fisher’s casting as Cyborg might just be a hint that the Justice League film will adhere closely to the team’s New 52 reboot. Cyborg became a founding member of the current Justice League incarnation back in 2011 in this story by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee. This opening arc features a number of elements that might just make it to the big screen. The tone is much more in line with Man of Steel, all of the principal characters meet for the first time, and the threat is – once again – Darkseid and his invading Parademons. Considering the actors already signed on for the MoS sequel, it already seems like this comic book saga has been fast-tracked to the big screen.


  • MirandaDSchuler

    This super-powered team of bad guys would also provide the perfect place to reintroduce the Joker on the big screen; the clown prince of crime would have to be drastically different from the Dark Knight version just based on this story’s setting, plot and circumstances. Heath Ledger’s iconic Joker would never team up with other bad guys the way this Joker does.

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  • AirDave

    Interesting choices.
    The New 52 Origin has been adapted to “Justice League: War”.
    I would add Justice League: The Animated Series “Secret Origin”; “Justice League: A Midsummer’s Nightmare” and the Dini-Ross JLA: Liberty and Justice.
    I would love to see “Liberty and Justice” adapted just for the sake of a great story that does NOT have a single villain. The League fights a virus like in The Andromeda Strain.

  • Nathan Abril

    I still think that for the first movie they should just mix “The Throne of Atlantis” storyline, from Geoff Johns’s Justice League run, with the first Justice League story where they fight Starro the Conqueror. I mean how cool would it be to have Aquaman and the Atlanteans as the villains, only for it to be revealed that they are being mind controlled by Starro the whole time. Just make sure you up the creepiness of Starro, and make him look less “silly” for the film.

  • Mike McTighe

    Crisis on Two Earths would be good, but probably better for a sequel.

  • Daniel

    “DC: The New Frontier” is my first choice. Just update it to the present.

    “Starcrossed” from the “Justice League” animated series would be my second choice.

  • Brad Barnes

    The Len Wein-written run from #100-#118 (1972-74) should be the template for any JLA movie, with (3) JLA/JSA team-ups, The Freedom Fighters, The Seven Soldiers of Victory, the departure of Hawkman, the establishing a civilian identity for Red Tornado, the inclusion of Phantom Stranger & Elongated Man, the attack on the satellite HQ by Shaggy Man, the Injustice Gang, the return of Amazo and of Snapper Carr: whew! Nobody was a better Ringmaster of the JLA circus than Len Wein and he made it look easy, but everybody since has come up short! SUPERMAN Vs BATMAN is not a team-up; it’s a conflict; so any JLA movie resulting from it is going to be chaotic (if they ever complete a script on either project)! JLA is a clubhouse of good friends, not an Animal House of frat boys and mean girls, the team itself should be angst-free, if Zack Snyder can manage that, then all should be swell! :D

  • Jugo

    I’d be cool with anything that’s not a full-scale alien invasion like Avengers or New 52 Origins(JL: War). Hope they don’t try to make it “big” just for the sake of making it big. Save Darkseid for later, please!

  • JT

    My vote goes to the JLA:Animated Series Origin. And Tower of Babel for a sequel.

  • Outside

    Looking at JL: War, Origins is not a good choice.

  • Josh White

    Justice League: Secret Origin

  • MaxLevelJon

    Where are you getting the year 2018 from? I haven’t read that anywhere. Please, explain.

  • Patrick Donakowski

    I wanna see Darkseid the same size as Superman, u can make him a bad-ass, but don’t make him a giant, like in the animated movie ‘WAR’, that’ was dumb

  • Pat Dilloway

    The New 52 one seems likely though they just did an animated version of it so it would seem kinda redundant. The New World Order One might work except I don’t think they have a Martian Manhunter and people might find all that “white Martian” stuff silly.

  • Roderick Garcia

    Building off what Snyder and Goyer wrote, this would the the best route they could take if WB gets there marketing game down right. Wonder Woman deserves a good origin story based heavily on ancient Greek mythology with a cast of strong female characters. Flash doesn’t need a long origin story, it could be told in a 5 minute flash back and since Barry Allen and Hal Jordan are good friends they could appear together in the same movie similar to Worlds Finest. At this point you have the 5 core characters you’ll need for a successful JLA movie. Batman and Superman movies make the most money, so each phase will start with a film for one of those two characters which will help finance the rest of the films.

    PHASE I: (2 Films p/Year)
    01. Man of Steel (2013)
    02. Worlds Finest (2016)
    03. Amazon: Diana of Themyscira (2016)
    04. The Brave and The Bold:
    Flash & Green Lantern (2017)
    05. Justice League of America (2017)

    PHASE II: (2 Films p/Year)
    01. Death and Return of Superman (2018)
    02. Batman: Heart of Hush (2018)
    03. Amazon: Eye of The Gorgon (2019)
    04. Green Lantern Corps (2019)
    05. Aquaman: King of Atlantis (2020)
    06. The Brave and The Bold II:
    Green Arrow & Black Canary (2020)
    07. The Flash (2021)
    08. Justice League of America II (2021)

    PHASE III: (3 Films p/Year)
    01. Batman: Under The Red Hood (2022)
    02. Teen Titans (2022)
    03. Superman: Man of Tomorrow (2022)
    04. Amazon: A League of One (2023)
    05. Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War (2023)
    06. The Flash II (2023)
    07. Aquaman: Throne of Atlantis (2024)
    08. Brave and The Bold 3:
    Black Lightning & Vixen (2024)
    09. Billy Batson & The Curse of SHAZAM! (2024)
    10. Hawkworld (2025)
    11. Batman: Return of The Demon (2025)
    12. Justice League of America 3 (2025)

    PHASE IV: (3 Films p/Year)
    01. Green Lantern Corps: Blackest Night (2026)
    02. Batman & Robin Reborn (2026)
    03. Superman: New Krypton (2026)
    04. Aquaman: Death of a King (2027)
    05. The Flash III (2027)
    06. Green Arrow (2027)
    07. Young Justice (2028)
    08. Billy Batson & The Curse of SHAZAM! II (2028)
    09. Justice Society of America (2028)
    10. Amazon: God of War (2029)
    11. Batman: Night of The Owls (2029)
    12. Justice League of America IV (2029)

  • Monto Gawe

    Any of the 5 seems excellent. So just do it but well. Make sure to include SHAZAM! along with Superman, Batman & Wonder Woman. Green Lantern and Flash are expected. Aquaman or Martian Manhunter are fine additions whereas Cyborg is a hard-sell.

  • Stephen T Corston

    I always though Morrison’s JLA: Earth Two or the animated movie Crisis on Two Earths would be a great idea for a live action film!

  • SicSexSix

    I really dug the almost-filmed “JL: Mortal” screenplay, it was a nice mix of The OMAC Project and Tower of Babel. Flash was front & center, Batman was lurking in the background, and Maxwell Lord, while no Darkseid, has always been a good villain, especially with Brother Eye in his grasp. And with Future’s End bringing the rogue satellite back to the books, the timing is good to feature it in a film as well.

    New World Order would also make for a great film, and the Hyperclan’s shape shifting abilities would easily differentiate them from the Chitauri, so we wouldn’t have to worry about crowds saying they’re ripping off the Avengers. Rock of Ages is an amazing story, hands down one of the best, but it’s too big & sprawling to be the first film, it has too many characters in it & style over substance never works out. Think about it, there’s the League, the Injustice Gang, plus the trip to Wonder World & the Darkseid-ruled future Earth, so either the film gets cluttered or major plot points get cut out. Either way wouldn’t do the story justice (no pun intended). World War III is an all time favorite, but again, it features too many characters to be the starting film of a franchise, though as an eventual sequel, would be amazing.

    Earth 2 is another one, or even something along the lines of Forever Evil, just because I think at some point, a League vs the Crime Syndicate film is essential, though that too would function better as a sequel than a first. Let’s get to know the League & get them established before we get to their anti-matter counterparts.

  • lampofdoom

    I would prefer a nice blend of New World Order, Origins/War, and DC Legends. The Hyperclan can easily be elite Parademons under Darkseid’s command.

    Towards the end of the movie (because DC, aside from GL, doesn’t do post-credit scenes in their live action movies), a televised criticism of Batman and Supes brawling using the terms “so-called heroes” fighting each other rather than trying to change the world. Cue the Hyperclan, who claim to be doing good deeds.

    Justice League: I would love to see the League go up against the world’s fears and criticism and definition of heroism. The Hyperclan being all heroic and stuff also aren’t that big of villains to overshadow any villain to follow up. It’s the only way to bring in Darkseid without actually going with another alien invasion like MoS or JL:War and without looking anything like the Avengers plot. Plus, hero team vs. “hero” team showdown! Can you imagine how the world would react if a group of alien heroes did the complete opposite to Superman and actively did good (world-changing) deeds (changing climates in droughts, actively cleaning the streets of supervillains, etc.)? The world would favor these and cast doubts on Supes and company. Giving the league something to prove. Makes excellent character developments.
    This is the only story that makes the most sense to me. For those saying that MoS2 is too overcrowded, It’s foolish to think that superman won’t get any backlash from the zod fight, thinking that both heroes are just going to roll over and forget about it. Thus, Superman can’t really have a legit SOLO movie. What worked for Iron Man and Marvel won’t work here. MoS’s alien invasion posed a global phenomenon that can’t go unnoticed by other heroes. Which is why i think bringing in all these heroes for cameos towards the end of BvS or MoS2 makes absolutely complete sense. My vote is New World Order’s main plot.

  • Ryan

    I haven’t gone into as much detail as you but this was what I thought could be a simpler DCCU haha

    Title/Character(s) – (Villain) and/or Comic Storyline – Year

    PHASE I:
    • Man of Steel – (Zod) – 2013
    • World’s Finest – (Luthor/Metallo) – 2016
    • Wonder Woman – (Ares) WW 2009 animated movie – 2017

    • Justice League – New World Order/JL: Starcrossed – 2018

    • Batman – (The Riddler) – 2019
    • The Flash – (Mirror Master) – 2019
    • Wonder Woman 2 – Eyes of the Gorgon – 2020
    • Man of Tomorrow – (Brainiac) Superman: Unbound – 2020
    • Green Lantern – (Sinestro) – 2021

    • Justice League 2 – (Vandal Savage/Legion of Doom) JL: Doom/Tower of Babel – 2022

    • Batman 2 – (Ra’s al Ghul) – 2023
    • Wonder Woman 3 – (Circe) – 2023
    • Fastest Man Alive – (Professor Zoom) Flashpoint Paradox – 2024
    • Green Lantern 2 – (Parallax) – 2025
    • Last Son of Krypton – (Doomsday) Death and Return of Superman/Superman: Doomsday 2007 animated movie – 2025

    • Justice League 3 – (Darkseid) – 2026

  • John E Cupach

    I think the original origin with the Appellex aliens would make a good movie. I could also see a Braniac story of some sort

  • Cal

    They’ve confirmed MOS”(Batman vs Superman) for 2016, so if WB wanna get a JL film out shortly after it’ll be 2017 or 2018, there’s also the rumor they may be filmed back to back.

  • samuel

    Totally believe JLA: year one is the way to go
    Give Superman and Batman minor roles to play allowing the other members of the league a chance to shine.
    Replace Black canary with Wonder Woman and I still believe u can have the clashing mother/daughter relationship.

  • BeastieRunner

    Just have aliens invade, maybe led by Starro. Simple is better and a villain with little to no backstory would be a nice change.

    Maybe do it like the premier of Justice League in the DCU, but just add Starro.

  • MaxLevelJon

    So, speculation. I wasn’t sure if this site knew something official.

  • Cal

    Well they announced BvS is 2016 and they will be releasing a JL film after. But yeah the rest is speculation.