'Batman v Superman': Does Doomsday Provide Key to Warner Bros.' Justice League?

Director Zack Snyder teases that the mythology of the monstrous villain could offer hints at the 2017 team movie.
Courtesy of Tony Daniel/DC Entertainment

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is still a couple of months away from release, but director Zack Snyder is already using the opportunity to tease potential threats for the next movie in that cycle, 2017's Justice League.

Talking to The Daily Beast, Snyder suggested that Justice League will see Superman, Batman and their new Super Friends leveling up in terms of villains. "Maybe there's a bigger enemy to fight" than what's on offer in Batman v Superman, he said, and when pushed, offered the following hint: "Well, you have Doomsday, right? He doesn't just crawl out of the ground. He has his own mythology, right? So that has to be explored …"

It's an odd tease, given the existing multiple comic book and cartoon histories surrounding Doomsday.

For most versions of the character — who debuted in 1992's Superman: The Man of Steel No. 18, created with the express intention of having a mysterious new threat that would kill Superman in what would become a best-selling storyline — the surrounding mythology leads not to any new threat, but instead directly back to Krypton and Superman's alien heritage … and that was the threat in 2013's Man of Steel.

The original backstory given for Doomsday was that he was a genetically modified clone of a creature that lived on the planet Krypton in the era before Superman's own race existed. Kidnapped by alien scientists, he was repeatedly cloned and modified until he had become a virtually invincible, mindless killing machine — at which point he escaped his captors, traveled across the universe and ended up on Earth, where he eventually met (and killed, although it didn't last) Superman.

In DC's current comic book continuity, Doomsday's past is somewhat more mysterious, although it's known that he existed on Krypton at the same time as Superman's parents, and that he was exiled to the extra-dimensional prison known as the Phantom Zone at some point before Krypton's destruction. Of course, he later escaped and caused trouble for the Man of Steel and friends, especially when it was revealed that he could infect others into becoming Doomsdays themselves.

The Kryptonian origins continue through the character's past in the CW series Smallville, where he was an artificially-created creature made of DNA from Krypton's deadliest beasts. A similar origin — but different birthplace — was given to the Doomsday of Cartoon Network's Justice League series, where he was created on Earth as an altered clone of Superman by the super-science think tank Project Cadmus … which was also responsible for the Doomsday-like alternate form of Jimmy Olsen in the All Star Superman comic book series.

Where Snyder's mythology comments might work better as a tease is the deeper backstory of the character's comic book incarnations — at various points in Doomsday's printed history, he has come into contact with other villains, whether Darkseid — ruler of a dystopian planet called Apokolips and inspiration for Darth Vader — or alien scientist and collector of alternate realities Brainiac, to name just two. Historically, Doomsday has been a relatively mindless, violent threat, not a big bad by himself. Perhaps the bigger threat the cinematic Doomsday represents isn't to be found in his origins, but his past associations.

Expect all — or, at least, more — to be revealed on March 25, when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice reaches theaters.

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