Justice League: 30 Easter Eggs & Secrets You Completely Missed
Every Justice League movie Easter Egg, secret, DC Comics reference and DCEU connection in one place.
NOTE: This article contains SPOILERS for Justice League
Nobody does Easter Eggs and comic book references like DC, and Justice League sets a new record. It’s hard to make any superhero blockbuster these days without filling it to the brim with fan service, cameos, shared universe connections and comic references, but Zack Snyder’s franchise has proven especially generous. Not only were there the Batman v Superman secrets, but a second wave when the BvS Ultimate Cut was released, too. For Justice League, the filmmakers took things a step further.
To make sure that no DC or DCEU fan misses out on a single comic book reference or subtle detail, we’re breaking them all down. From the comics that Zack Snyder painstakingly recreated on film, to the cameos from the original Superman movie, our guide is the only one you’ll need.
So with one final SPOILER warning, let’s get started.
30. Parademon Self-Destruct
Batman may have spent the time since Superman’s death seeking out metahumans hiding on Earth, but it’s the sudden appearance of Parademons that accelerates the formation of the League. That’s not that surprising to fans of the New 52 version of DC’s own Justice League, which followed a similar story in its own origin of the team. And the movie makes the connection more than a little clear.
Not just by making Cyborg a founding member, or relying on his Apokoliptian tech to turn the tables on the villain. When Batman manages to snag a Parademon to get information on their leader and mission, the alien footsoldier goes to extreme measures to keep Steppenwolf secrets. The self-destruct is to be expected of the swarming shock troopers, and was memorabky showcased in the New 52 storyline at the same point.
29. Hint of Black Mask
The Gotham City skyline visible in that opening ‘Bruce Wayne vs. The Parademon’ sequence is sure to offer up plenty of Easter Eggs as more and more fans see it, but at least one sign in the background should please fans of the Batman comics. Keep your eyes peeled as Batman breaks the Apokolips soldier to his will, and you just might spot a sign advertising ‘Janus’ – as in Janus Cosmetics, a well-known corporation in the Dc Comics Universe. Not for the quality of its products (who are we to judge) but for the Sionis family who rules the corporate empire.
Corporate and, when the son of the family, Roman took over control, criminal empire as well. Fans will know him better by the name he took up to lend him credit in Gotham’s underworld. As ‘Black Mask,’ Roman Sionis became one of the most influential and erratic criminal kingpins in Gotham. Whether this sign if a nod to fans or a hint at the villain in future films is a secret only DC knows.
28. Wonder Woman’s at Home With Themis
Wonder Woman’s arrival to thwart the bomb/hostage plot at a London court house was shown in Justice League marketing, perched atop a massive golden statue of Lady Justice. Not all that subtle, given her own role as a protector of “right” and pursuer of truth, and the “Justice” theme of the movie as a whole. But for those who know the real origins of the Scales of Justice-wielding warrior, there’s more thematic layering and winking going on.
For starters, that statue is actually the mythological Themis, a Titan of Greek mythology – the order of gods and goddesses that preceded the Olympian gods under Zeus. In other words, she’s something of an Old God of Earth (which carries weight in the larger Apokolips fiction). As the embodiment of divine justice, Themis represents more than “Law,” but a natural order. That sword of hers? It’s not actually for war, but a representation of her ability to divide right from wrong – cruel from just. And that’s the exact kind of pure heroism Wonder Woman was designed to have… even if she uses the sword for fighting, too.
27. Zeus (?) Defended Earth From Apokolips
After Queen Hippolyta warns her daughter of Steppenwolf’s attack (and a coming invasion), Diana returns to Bruce Wayne to fill him on just how far back this vendetta goes. That’s the introduction given to the ancient battle scenes seen in most of Justice League marketing, when the forces of Apokolips, led by Steppenwolf, made their first attempt to turn Earth into a flaming cinder. The planet was saved thanks to an alliance of Humans, Amazons, and Atlanteans… who had some supernatural help in tipping the scales in their favor. Most notable among them being Zeus himself.
At least that’s what’s implied by Diana, who claims that the Amazons were aided by gods – almost certainly the same Olympian gods and goddesses spoken of in the Wonder Woman solo movie. So when one such god can be seen towering over the everyday humans and Atlanteans waging war, unleashing lightning at Steppenwolf and his forces (as others attack him with melee weapons), Zeus is the logical choice. This was thousands of years before he fathered Diana, but it’s a sign of the ‘Age of Heroes’ that reports say Zack Snyder intended to make even more pivotal to his Justice League story.
26. Zeus Wasn’t The Only Old God, Either
It isn’t just Zeus who gets in on the action – or even the vaguely Ares-esque warrior who leaps at Steppenwolf, axe in hand – but another goddess of Greek mythology. When the Justice League trailers featured the above shot of a glowing archer firing a burning bow strong enough to destroy one of Steppenwolf’s troop carriers, it seemed more than your everyday Amazon. In action, it’s clear the archer is a goddess… and in the world of classical mythology, there’s really just one candidate: Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt. Known to the Romans by a different name: Diana.
That’s not to be confused with the version of Artemis seen in Wonder Woman played by boxing champ Ann Wolfe (it has also been the name of an Amazon in the comics). The Artemis of mythology was another daughter of Zeus, and according to the official credits, the role of the goddess was played by MMA fighter Aurore Lauzeral.
25. Glimpse of Green Lantern
DC fans faced what seems like years of rumors concerning the debut of Green Lantern – a Green Lantern, any Green Lantern – but in the end, Justice League leaves the superhero team one member short. No Hal Jordan, no John Stewart, not even a Guy Gardner or Kyle Rayner. But the movie does confirm that the intergalactic peacekeeping corps exists in the DC movie universe, not only with Steppenwolf observing that no such “Lanterns” now guard Earth (a line that stunned fans when used in a trailer). A Green Lantern does chip in to defeat Steppenwolf, but it’s not one easily recognized… and one who dies moments after making their DCEU debut.
The alien warrior is included in the massive assault of Earth’s people, batting away waves of Parademons with its battering ram of emerald energy. It’s hard to narrow down just what alien race bears the Green Lantern ring of Space Sector 2814 in this distant past, but Steppenwolf soon proves more powerful. As an added bonus for fans, the ring departing its fallen bearer and zipping off to find a new replacement is included, with Steppenwolf staring down the escaping ring with obvious disdain.
24. Aquaman’s Tattoos Tell a Story
The other heroes of the Justice League may rely on suits of armor to protect them, or in some cases, actually define their superhero identities – but not Arthur Curry, the Aquaman. That point is made perfectly clear the first time he removes his cold weather clothing, revealing the black tattoos which seem to cover most of his body. Given that Zack Snyder actually knew Jason Momoa would be his Aquaman for years, it should come as no surprise that those tattoos are anything but random. Sure, they look nice. But the fact that the pointed bands of tattoos on Arthur’s forearms are based on Momoa’s actual tattoo is just the beginning.
The tattoos underwent some changes from the very first reveal of Momoa as Aquaman, along with the armor over top of them (initially shown covering only one full arm). Those triangles we mentioned actually represent shark teeth: a symbol of power, adaptability, and fierce strength in the Polynesian tradition tied to this take on Aquaman. The spearheads covering Arthur’s shoulders signify courage, and battle strength, while the small wave details connect him to the ocean (a symbol of both life and death). Since his tattoos seem to perfectly match the Atlantean armor reserved for him as Atlantis’s king, there’s even more to these tattoos we hope to see explored in his solo film.
23. Aquaman Already Met Superman
Not every secret connection or universe-building storyline is visible on screen, but with Zack Snyder behind the three DC films leading up to and culminating in Justice League, there’s room to expand. Especially with the cast now sharing the imagined crossovers Snyder already laid clues to. Take Man of Steel, and Clark Kent’s efforts to save the crew of a flaming oil rig in the middle of the sea. The rig collapsed in a fiery explosion, but Clark survived (obviously). How he went from the middle of a crushed structure to floating in the open ocean near a mother whale and its child, however, is a mystery no longer.
Jason Momoa revealed shortly before the launch of Justice League that Snyder had let him in on a secret only Arthur Curry would know. After years of an speculation, it was finally confirmed that Aquaman saved Superman in Man of Steel, presumably dragging him loose of the wreckage before Clark regained consciousness (and before Arthur realized he didn’t need saving at all). So when Bruce first brings up the Kryptonian hero when recruiting Aquaman, he keeps the truth to himself: he met Superman long before Batman did.
22. “Exploding Wind-Up Penguins”
It doesn’t take long for Bruce Wayne and Alfred to realize just how much the world has changed since the end of Batman v Superman, leading the latter to claim he doesn’t recognize it at all. With alien invaders, ancient goddesses, speedsters, cybernetic athletes, and Atlantean royalty, he can’t help but long for the simpler days. Specifically, the ones in which “exploding wind-up penguins” were the worst of Bruce Wayne’s concerns.
Aside from alluding to the existence of The Penguin in this version of Batman’s rogues gallery, the line if a specific nod to Tim Burton’s original Batman movies, and the explosive footsoldiers of Batman Returns. In that film the penguins rigged with explosive rockets weren’t wind-up at all, but we suppose that’s a bit more believable.
21. Original Jimmy Olsen Cameo
After Batman v Superman found a small role for everyone’s favorite photojournalist, Jimmy Olsen – really small, killed off-screen before he was even named – the longtime fans of the Man of Steel will be happy to see the actor who made Jimmy Olsen a hero get his time in the spotlight. Actor Marc McClure had previously teased a Justice League movie cameo, and apparently, Mr. Olsen has turned in his press credentials for a badge in the DC movie universe, appearing as the prison guard speaking with Barry Allen when he goes to visit his incarcerated father.
It’s actually the second cameo for McClure, in a way, since he was previously revealed as one of the police officers at the Superman memorial in Metropolis. The shot of Cyborg leaping into the path of an oncoming car was used early on in Justice League marketing (one of the first actual glimpses of Ray Fisher’s CG-ified form), but nobody knew that the police officer being saved was so integral to the Superman legacy. Apparently, once that sequence was cut during Joss Whedon’s reshoots, the studio made sure to give him a cameo in one of the added scenes, as well.
20. A Hint of Gorilla Grodd?
Barry Allen’s career in the DC movies is only just beginning, but according to some of his first lines with Bruce Wayne, he may have met more of his future Rogues than fans would assume. And yes, his most outlandish nemesis has apparently been one of his very first. Shortly after Bruce surprises Barry in his own lair, the speedster begins to rattle off his unique skills and qualifications. Among them is not only the ability to speak Sign Language – but Gorilla Sign Language.
Take that as a fairly obvious reference to the super-sentient ape Gorilla Grodd, a primate who used more than just his massive– make that gigantic body to give The Flash a headache. For that, he relied upon his telepathic skills. Perhaps this suggestion that Barry Allen is working with, or at least communicating with gorillas is teasing an alternate origin for Grodd? Or for those fans who hope Barry is further along in his superheroics, evidence that he’s already forged a friendship with Earth’s more… peaceful primates.
19. The Flash Already Fought Captain Cold?
If Gorilla Grodd is one of Barry’s most iconic enemies, then there’s really no more iconic rival than Leonard Snart a.k.a. Captain Cold. Fans of the comics know it, and now thanks to The CW TV show, casual consumers of superhero storytelling know it, too. So it just wouldn’t be a fan service-filled debut of The Flash without mention – or at least suggestion – of the DC movie universe’s own take on the sub zero supervillain. But to find it, fans will need to keep their eyes peeled on the displays lining Barry’s workspace, not any of the dialogue being exchanged.
We’re referring to the screen focused on a schematic of Barry’s suit, specifically the chest pieces (visible in the above to Barry’s left). On closer inspection, it’s a diagnostic of his suit that seems focused on a… unique quality: Cold Resistance. It’s possible that such a term or feature of the suit could be explained away with any number of physics dilemmas a human speedster would encounter. But for fans, knowing Barry’s taking pains to see how much cold his suit can take needs only one explanation.
18. Cyborg’s Role Did Begin in Batman v Superman
After years of waiting, Justice League finally adds Cyborg to the superhero mix: too long for some, considering how pivotal a character he’s been in both animated and comic book incarnations of the team. Not only does Victor Stone’s introduction satisfy the fans of DC’s modern League, but puts to rest the lingering mystery of the extensive football scenes shot by Zack Snyder for Batman v Superman. It was assumed during production that the game existed to give Victor Stone – the athlete, not the superhero – his DCEU debut. But when the theatrical cut of BvS failed to include a football game at all (only making mention of one) fans were flummoxed. In the Ultimate Cut, the game between Gotham City University and Metropolis State appeared in a scene, but again, no mention of Victor Stone.
Unfortunately, Justice League still doesn’t include the footage of Victor in action (despite using the slow motion shots in trailers). But as an extra bonus for fans, Ray Fisher has confirmed that Zack Snyder planted a sly crossover in BvS for his character – specifically, his absence. That football game being watched by the two cops in the Ultimate Cut? The one where Metropolis State trounces GCU? The reason Gotham is losing so badly is because their star quarterback is missing – since it’s the exact time period of Victor’s accident. Fans don’t get a Stone highlight reel, but his absence speaks volumes.
17. Detective Crispus Allen
The news that actor J.K. Simmons had left behind his Marvel role of J. Jonah Jameson for Commissioner Jim Gordon rocked comic fans, with both Marvel and DC faithful praising him as a ‘perfect’ choice for either role. Since Simmons winds up looking almost exactly like comic depictions of Gordon, it’s a bit disappointing that Justice League only includes him in a few scenes. The meet-up with the superheroes was shown in several trailers and TV spots, but his actual introduction (and first defense of Batman against skeptics) comes a bit earlier.
While walking the floor of his police precinct, Jim is approached by one of his detectives handling the kidnappings and strange alien sightings plaguing Metropolis. The detective in question is actually Crispus Allen, played by actor Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. Allen has been a regular in Gotham City comic stories for years, acting as a pivotal figure in the Gotham Central series. Here’s hoping he’ll return in the future.
16. ACE Chemicals (Yes, That One)
Audience members can be forgiven for training their eyes on the Bat-Signal when it shines into the Gotham sky, since Barry Allen beats everyone to it (and that’s… kind of the point of the signal to begin with). But for the fans in the crowd or simply those with wandering eyes, another great Easter Egg can be found in the form of a neon sign illuminates against the night. The company is ACE Chemicals, one of the most infamous manufacturers and handlers of toxic chemicals in the comic book universe.
For starters, ACE Chemicals is held as the canonical location where The Joker was born into his pale-skinned, green-haired, fractured-mind-ed murderer form (from whatever he was before). It’s also another bit of world-building for the DC movie universe, since director David Ayer adapted the story to screen in Suicide Squad. That movie made it the birthplace of both Joker AND Harley Quinn, and even as the Justice League begins to take shape, it’s a Gotham landmark that’s hard to ever miss.
15. BvS’s Justice League Logo Tease
Since the cast of Justice League is apparently throwing out Easter Eggs that were dropped in previous DC movies from Zack Snyder, it only seems fair that we revisit them as well. In fact, there’s good chance that the DC fandom will be watching their way through Man of Steel, BvS, and Wonder Woman in anticipation of their big screen team-up. But how many will catch what may be the strangest, total-coincidence-or-brilliant-tease detail Snyder inserted into Dawn of Justice. It can be found during Bruce Wayne’s prologue sequence, when he watches his world come crumbling down, staring into the sky at the Superman who will soon define his entire life of crimefighting.
The Easter Egg isn’t Bruce, or even the little girl he saves and embraces… it’s the fallen sign that once marked Wayne Financial, the branch of Bruce’s company now reduced to rubble along with many of the people who worked for him. It also happens to be the exact shape of the logo for Justice League, quite literally built out of those same ashes, from a character perspective. The three vertical bars even mirror the font for the ‘JL’ badge, which means it’s hard to swallow this as sheer coincidence.
14. A Tribute To Batman Comics
If Zack Snyder did one thing right with his Batman in Dawn of Justice, it was the efforts made to recreate the Dark Knight as he appears in the comics. His silhouette, poses, generous amounts of lightning, and the Batsuit itself all hew closer to the source material artwork than any previous version. So when the shot of Batman standing on a skeletal gargoyle was seen in trailers, fans were unfazed. The gargoyle fits the style of Gotham City perfectly, and the movie Batman is as natural whole perched upon it as his comic book counterpart. But it’s no ordinary gargoyle.
The shot is a recreation of the cover art for Detective Comics #682, as illustrated by artist Graham Nolan. The issue itself has little overlap with the movie’s story (focused on the villain KGBeast who was given tribute in BvS), but the Grim Reaper gargoyle is unforgettable enough to please the diehard fans who will spot the homage immediately.
13. Batman’s Original Theme – Did You Catch It?
It came as sad news for many fans of Hans Zimmer and