Posted on Sunday, June 16th, 2013 by Russ Fischer
In the wake of the first wave of interconnected films from Marvel Studios, and the promise of a Justice League film, there’s the expectation that Warner Bros. is building DC Universe pointers into films such as Man of Steel. And this weekend’s successful launch of a new incarnation of Superman will have fans hopeful that we’ll see that expanded universe come together sooner rather than later.
Man of Steel director Zack Snyder, and David Goyer, who wrote stories for the Christopher Nolan Batman films and scripted Man of Steel, have both said that their Superman movie takes place in a different world from Nolan’s movies. But there is a definite design towards this film with future efforts. The existence of famous and not-so-famous characters is hinted throughout the movie.
What follows is not an exhaustive list of all the Easter Eggs in the film. There are many of those, from visual honors given to classic Superman artists, and appearances from minor characters that the most serious Superman comic fan might strain to recognize.
This list is all about the characters we see in Man of Steel — or the personas whose existence is hinted in the film — that could end up in future DC Universe movies. Full spoilers for Man of Steel follow.
On the eve of Man of Steel‘s opening, Goyer explained some of the explicit positioning of his Superman film with respect to the DC Universe:
It is our intention that, in success, [Man of Steel] would be the “0 issue” [ed: the scene-setting issue for a new series] and from this point onward, possible films could expand into a shared universe. In our world, the Man of Steel world, Zack has gone on record saying that we’re implying there are other superheroes in this world. But I don’t know that they’ve come forward yet. The idea is that Superman is the first one. There might be people helping people, but not in costumes, and that Superman comes forward and announces himself to the world. In him announcing himself, he’s the one that changes things.
Goyer has also said,
The ‘Dark Knight’ films do not exist in the same universe. Zack [Snyder] has gone on record. The fact that we have Wayne Industries on the satellite, Bruce Wayne exists in this universe. Lex Luthor exists in this universe. Other metahumans do exist in this universe, so the hope is, depending on how the film does, that we’ll be able to roll into some other films.
Who else might react to that change? Let’s start with Lex Luthor.
1. Lex Luthor and LexCorp
This one is the biggest, easiest thing to spot. There’s a building decorated with a big “LexCorp” sign, and then there’s that big LexCorp oil truck that blows up in the middle of one fight scene. The message is clear: Lex Luthor, the man who has historically been Superman’s most persistent human nemesis, is out and about in the world. And he’s already powerful. We don’t see Lex, but seeing the evidence of his business empire is almost as good. With all the power that Superman represents, and the damage his battles do, what happens when Lex feels threatened?
2. Bruce Wayne and Wayne Enterprises
A much smaller corporate symbol is seen very briefly late in the film, when Superman has a collision with an orbital satellite. The satellite bears the Wayne Enterprises logo, meaning that Bruce Wayne is also a successful entrepeneur in this film version of the DC Universe. Asked about whether or not the emergence of Superman might push this version of Bruce Wayne into public action as Batman, David Goyer said,
Well, yes… there’s definitely… I don’t want to get too in depth. Obviously, Zack and I have had conversations… but there would be a cause and effect. And that would extend to the collateral damage that happened, and to what other countries feel about the fact Superman calls America his home. Man of Steel doesn’t exist in a vaccum.
This is probably the thinnest “connection” in Man of Steel, but it comes straight from writer David Goyer, which gives it more weight. Goyer told MTV just before release that “we mentioned S.T.A.R. Labs at one point, that’s kind of a connection to Cyborg.” In fact, the S.T.A.R. Labs mention is so slight that everyone we’ve talked to missed it, but there is the fact that Emil Hamilton, the scientist right-hand man to the military in this film, is primarily associated with S.T.A.R. Labs. And the same labs turned Victor Stone into a half-human, half-machine hero generally called Cyborg.
The character is most traditionally associated with the Teen Titans but also made his way (recently) into the Justice League. (You’ll see various animated versions of Cyborg in shows and DTV movies that feature both teams.) As both a mechanically-powered character and a black superhero Cyborg’s inclusion in the Justice League film seems like one of the safest bets around.