Six DC Universe Characters Teased In 'Man Of Steel'

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.

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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?

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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.

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3. Cyborg

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.

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4. Booster Gold and Blaze Comics

A well-hidden easter egg is a very briefly visible billboard for Blaze Comics. It's a relatively deep reference, as these things go, so if you spotted it and knew what it suggests, you're probably more than just a fan of the few DC movies. In short, Blaze Comics is the in-universe company that publishes comics featuring Booster Gold, a time-traveler from the 25th century whose technology makes him a pretty useful member of the Justice League. A relentless self-promoter, Booster Gold hawks tales of his own adventures to increase his fame.

Booster Gold's best incarnation may have been the late '80s Justice League era (later Justice League International), when Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis paired him with Blue Beetle in a revamp of the team book that used more humor than was typical for the time. Will Booster Gold end up in the new Justice League film? Hard to say — this could be a digital artist's in-joke, or a very low-key pointer that we should expect to see the character hit the big screen. (Blue Beetle, meanwhile, was once poised to get his own TV show, which never quite happened.)

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5. Supergirl

This one might actually end up being the most enticing pointer of them all, simply by being among the least-expected. When Superman finds the ages-old Kryptonian exploration vessel that serves as this film's version of the Fortress of Solitude, he finds a few crew cryo units. At least one contains a mummified Kryptonian. (Further proof, if you need it, that such beings aren't immortal on Earth.) Another is open, and empty.

Speaking to Crave Online, when asked about pointers to future characters in the film, producer Deborah Snyder said:

You know what's interesting, and I don't know and I'm not going to say what it means or anything, but the one thing if you look closely when Henry's going through the Fortress of Solitude there's an empty... you know all the bodies... the pods? There's an empty pod. I'm not going to say what, or if, it means anything but there is an empty pod there.

Prodded about whether she's referring to Supergirl, Snyder says, "No. [Laughs] I'm not going to say anything but, it's a thing."

But here's the deal: a Man of Steel prequel comic shows the craft that becomes the Fortress of Solitude arriving on Earth, with the explorer Kara Zor-El — aka Supergirl — as part of the crew. But there's a stowaway on the ship: Dev-Em, a former explorer cadet who killed Kara's best friend and nearly killed her. Murder isn't something Krypton is used to (wait until they really have to deal with Zod) and Dev-Em is not properly imprisoned. He stows on Kara's ship, and is partly responsible for the death of the other crew members.

Dev-Em and Kara are the only two left alive on the ship when it gets to Earth. Is one of them the mummy Superman sees, and is the other running around Earth somewhere? We don't know, but the possibility that Supergirl could show up now that Kal-El has revealed himself to humanity is quite interesting. Read the prequel comic here.

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6. Carol Ferris

This last character is interesting, because we've just seen her portrayed on screen in Green Lantern, with Blake Lively in the role.

One of the last scenes in Man of Steel features a conversation between Superman and a military officer. That officer is accompanied by a lower-ranking woman, Major Carrie Farris, played by Christina Wren (above). Ferris's comment that Superman is "kind of hot," combined with her name, is being read as a revision of the Carol Ferris character from Green Lantern. Why would that be a big deal? Well, Farris has an alter-ego, Star Sapphire, who has been both villain and hero.

Now, since Warner Bros. and DC are in control of both the original Carol Ferris character and the Green Lantern film, as well as Man of Steel, there's no reason that MoS couldn't have given the character a full reboot. It's not like there's a big rights issue in the way. So this could be more of a sly nod than a pointer to the future. Seems like a pretty obvious nod to make if that's all the character is meant to be, however.