Over two years after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice debuted in theaters, many members of the audience are still trying to figure out some of its more complicated sequences. This process is made even more interesting by the fact that some of Zack Snyder’s cut scenes from Justice League would’ve likely fleshed out certain BvS storylines. One of the most interesting of the bunch is the Knightmare sequence in which Bruce Wayne has visions of an evil Superman, and Snyder has officially taken to social media to confirm that Supes turns evil in this sequence because of Darkseid’s Anti-Life Equation. When asked if the evil Superman had something to do with the Mother Boxes or an alternate timeline, Snyder clarified:
That might not make total sense for a DC newcomer, but for those of you with knowledge of the deep cuts, it should make perfect sense. Based on what Zack Snyder is trying to tell audiences, it looks like this version of Superman seen in the Knightmare sequence is actually under the control of the Anti-Life Equation, thus hinting that Darkseid is somewhere on Earth controlling him and an army of brainwashed minions. In the simplest of terms, the Anti-Life Equation is a form of mind control, and unlocking its secrets has been Darkseid’s primary goal in many of the most iconic DC storylines.
So, this means two very specific things. For starters, it means that Superman is more of a henchman than a full-blown bad guy in the Knightmare scene — manipulated to servitude after the death of Lois Lane (a death that Batman was directly or indirectly involved in). Moreover, it serves as further confirmation that Darkseid was supposed to step in as the main big bad of the original Justice League story arc.
Alas, Zack Snyder’s Vero-based explanation for Superman’s turn to evil (via Comicbook.com) is not how things shook out, and the DCEU instead opted to have him briefly go feral after the team brings him back using the Mother Box. Lois Lane is still technically the key to snapping him out of his trance and bringing him back to life, but it’s arguably not nearly as dark as the original version of the sequence.
Though we may never fully understand how Zack Snyder’s cut scenes would’ve played into the final cut of Justice League, we can still spend all of our time trying to figure out how they would’ve fit together. Justice League is now available on Digital HD, Blu-ray, and 4K, and make sure to keep your eyes on the seven seas when the DCEU shifts its focus to Arthur Curry for James Wan’s Aquaman, which will debut in theaters later this year on December 21.