The DC Extended Universe, or DCEU, is finally coming to an end. According to newly appointed DC Studios co-CEO James Gunn, after the events of this summer’s blockbuster release, The Flash, the DCEU will undergo a soft reboot and become the DC Universe, or DCU. For many, this marks a bright and hopeful new beginning for DC movies, television, and media. For others, this is the agonizing and unfair ending of the Synderverse.
No matter the degree of personal harmony or discord felt toward past DC projects, the DC fandom should all agree on one thing: proper character selection is integral to the creation of an appealing and enjoyable DCU story. The DC mythos is packed with decades of memorable characters, and its villains are no exception. As more details concerning the future of the DCU are revealed, speculation and intrigue revolving around potential villain choices has increased. The following list contains 10 classic villains from DC Comics that should be included in the DCU. Since the DCU will incorporate movies, television, video games, and more, items on this list will not exclusively refer to inclusion in film.
Psycho-Pirate is the embodiment of a “James Gunn villain,” and practically demands to be written by Gunn into the DCU. As Roger Hayden, he dons humorous, questionable garb, is portrayed as a second-tier baddie, and sports the Medusa Mask (a goofy looking, magical mask that allows for Hayden to project emotions onto others). If description alone isn’t enough to justify the Pirate’s inclusion, the potential return of Pierce Brosnan as Dr. Fate/Kent Nelson could make a compelling case, as Hayden debuted in a 1956 print of Showcase as a Dr. Fate foe. Furthermore, in the comic book crossover event Infinite Crisis, Psycho-Pirate was slain by none other than Black Adam, creating yet another possible pathway for the Medusa Mask to wreak havoc upon the DCU.
In Zack Snyder’s Justice League, audiences were given their first (brief) live-action glimpse of the mighty Darkseid. Effectively serving as DC’s version of Thanos, the Ruler of Apokolips should have been portrayed as virtually invincible in his theatrical debut. Instead, during a flashback sequence where the character is first introduced, he is instantly defeated by the likes of Zeus and crew after Ares was able to strike him with an axe. Darkseid deserves far better treatment and requires a chance at redemption in the new DC Universe. The invulnerable New God must return to the big screen as the most feared villain in all of DC mythos. If the flagship character of the fledgling DCU is to be Superman, then Darkseid should be its prominent villain.
Another timeless Superman foe, Brainiac is every bit as menacing as Darkseid. He ruthlessly conquers and collects planets, and possesses superhuman strength, invulnerability, and an astonishing 12th level intellect. The DCU would capitalize on a tremendously fruitful opportunity if the Collector of Worlds was to collide with the Man of Steel. This clash of titans would give the new Universe a valuable chance to exhibit the more intellectual side of Superman, as the last Kryptonian is not all brawn and brute strength and would be forced to use quick thinking and rapid planning to overcome Brainiac. Furthermore, Brainiac’s inclusion as a top-tier threat could pave the way for a temperamental Superman and Lex Luthor team-up. A villain worthy enough to force that partnership into existence certainly deserves his place in the DCU.
Sinestro was expertly cast as Mark Strong in Green Lantern. Unfortunately, not much else in the movie was executed to the same level. This does not mean the character’s life onscreen has met its untimely end, however. After the announcement of the DCU TV series Lanterns, the former “Greatest Green Lantern’s” inclusion seems all but certain. As one of DC’s most complex and storied villains, it should absolutely be a guarantee that Thaal be a core component of the DCU’s Green Lantern mythos. A Yellow Lantern Core could really spice things up in deep space.
The supervillain best known for “breaking the Bat,” Bane is the only member of this list to have appeared in two theatrical, live-action releases. The first, 1997’s Batman & Robin, did the character absolutely no favors, portraying the Titan-addict as a bumbling sidekick to Uma Thurman’s Poison Ivy. 15 years later, the character was reintroduced in The Dark Knight Rises, where he was able to demonstrate pieces of his comic book intelligence and cunning but did not utilize the superhuman performance-enhancing drug, Venom. Additionally, neither edition of Bane established his Latino heritage. Perhaps a later project using the Knightfall storyline as the basis for its script would finally put an end to these incomplete portrayals of Bane?
Mongul is the barbaric tyrant of the planetoid, Warworld. Depending upon the universe and medium, Warworld is either a gladiatorial planet (like Sakaar from Thor: Ragnarök), or a giant weapon akin to the Death Star. Throw in a few key heroes, and the exploration of Warworld alone has enough potential to fill any movie or TV script. However, Mongul is also the lead villain in what is one of Superman’s greatest tales, For the Man Who Has Everything. In this story line, Mongul attaches a plant known as Black Mercy to Superman’s chest. This connection causes the Man of Steel to unknowingly enter an unbreakable comatose state where he lives out his greatest fantasies.
The intoxicating plant eventually detaches from Superman, but next finds its way to Batman, who thinks that he is living in an ideal world of his own. It is then up to Wonder Woman, Robin, and an enraged Superman to defeat Mongul and save the day. Although the story, written and drawn by iconic comic duo Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, has been put to the small screen three times (once in animation and twice in live-action), it is time for Mongul (and the Black Mercy) to arrive on the silver screen.
4 Granny Goodness
A twisted, evil, and sadistic underling of Darkseid, Granny Goodness would be a pointed fit within the DCU, reminding creators and viewers, alike, that comic book villains can be equal parts campy and frightening. As leader of the Female Furies, Granny should be introduced as a lead baddie in a film or TV show revolving around the Mr. Miracle or the New Gods. This would allow ample opportunity to establish her character before it is time to take her place in a major crossover event as Darkseid’s number one lieutenant.
3 Eobard Thawne
A truly terrifying villain with prior appearances in animated films and television (as well as the live-action Arrowverse), Eobard Thawne has become one of the most notorious rogues in DC history. Also known as the Reverse Flash, the vile Thawne has gone as far as to murder Barry Allen’s mother, simply out of petty revenge. Thawne stars as the main antagonist in the 2011 comic crossover, Flashpoint, of which this summer’s theatrical release, The Flash, is loosely based. To date, no confirmation has been received on whether the Reverse-Flash will make his DCU debut in the film. Hopefully, Thawne will be featured in a significant role, but, if he is given anything less, it should not act as a death sentence for his DCU future.
2 Laira Omoto
Not yet a classic villain in the traditional sense of being an archnemesis, Laira Omoto does have the potential to become an icon of her own. Her backstory is as compelling as any characters, and even has parallels with Sinestro’s. Originally debuting as a heroic Green Lantern, she was forced to mortally wound her own father, and later became one of the “lost lanterns” betrayed by Hal Jordan and thought to be killed. Consumed by revenge and hatred towards Jordan, Omoto eventually succumbed to the rage of the Red Lantern Core. As intergalactic TV show Lanterns is set to follow Green Lantern Hal Jordan uncovering a mystery in deep space, the discovery of Laira and the other “lost lanterns” could also lead to a live-action War of Light and Blackest Night. Laira needs to be included in the DCU slate, and as a huge player.
Deathstroke the Terminator has always been one of DC Comics’ most intriguing and complex villains. He murdered his own son, yet, at times has been responsible for saving countless, innocent lives. Is he a cold assassin for hire, or a just man with a (very) loose moral code? The answer doesn’t even matter; Slade Wilson has got it all. His mask is cooler than cool. He wields two swords behind his back in a much more imposing way than TMNT’s Leonardo. He has guns, super strength, and agility. He is one of few individuals that have defeated Batman. Anytime he is on a television or movie screen, he steals it. An entire generation watched Slade terrorize Robin and his teammates in Teen Titans. Alongside the next generation, viewers witnessed the mercenary brutalize a more mature team in Titans. Fans continue to demand more Deathstroke after Zack Snyder’s Justice League teased additional appearances that never came to be. It is time for Deathstroke to be placed at the center of feature films, and the recently announced The Brave and the Bold would seem to be the perfect starting point.