'Justice League': Who Will Willem Dafoe Portray?

The actor will play a mysterious good guy in the follow-up to 'Batman v. Superman' — could it be one of these comic book characters?
Murphy Anderson/DC Entertainment

And so Willem Dafoe has signed on to play a mysterious good guy in Warner Bros.' two-part Justice League movie, with the studio notably keeping details about just whom he'll be playing under wraps. But just because no one is officially talking doesn't mean that it's too early to speculate about the identity of the new addition. Here are some potential possibilities — some more likely than others — for Dafoe's DC hero.

Snapper Carr

Who? Lucas "Snapper" Carr has been an honorary member of the Justice League since the team's first appearance in 1959's The Brave and the Bold No. 28. Traditionally a non-superpowered teenager, he was placed into the series by order of then-executive editor Whitney Ellsworth as an audience identification figure, and survived through 1969's Justice League of America No. 77 before leaving the team in shame after falling for a scheme by the Joker. He reappeared on an irregular basis in following years, going on to temporarily become a superhero in his own right before becoming a super-spy for the international intelligence agency Checkmate.

But How Likely Is It Really … ? The fact that Carr has traditionally been portrayed somewhere between his teens to early-20s would likely rule out the 60-year-old actor, but stranger things have happened.

Ted Grant

Who? One of DC's first wave of super heroes, Ted Grant — better known as the costumed Wildcat — first appeared in 1942's Sensation Comics No. 1, going on to join the Earth-2 version of the Justice League, the WWII-era Justice Society of America. In later years, it was retconned that Grant, a world-class heavyweight boxer, had played a part in training Bruce Wayne and other wannabe superheroes during a period of semi-retirement from crime fighting, and became a somewhat crabby mentor to a number of younger heroes.

But How Likely Is It Really … ? Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice very purposefully introduced the notion that Superman is not the first superhero in the cinematic version of the DC Universe — in fact, it even suggests that Wonder Woman was active as far back as the First World War. With that in mind, there's space for a hero fighting the Nazis during the '40s before settling into an easier life … but would he really add enough to Justice League to merit such a high-profile casting?

Martian Manhunter

Who? A founding member of the Justice League — although that was retconned away when DC rebooted its comic book mythology in September 2011 — J'Onn J'Onzz is, like Superman, the last survivor of his race who arrived on Earth without his consent, only to become dedicated to defending his adopted home world. He debuted in 1955's Detective Comics No. 225, and spent the early part of his career undercover as a human police detective before embracing his superhero destiny. In recent months, his entire history has been revealed to be a lie in DC's current Martian Manhunter series, which introduced the prospect of Martian sleeper cells all across the world preparing a stealth invasion that only he could prevent. Sounds like the kind of overwhelming threat that the Justice League could help with …

But How Likely Is It Really … ? While J'Onn was missing from the footage of other superhumans seen in Batman v. Superman, the fact that he can change his shape could explain away that absence — and bringing in the character for the first Justice League movie could please longtime fans of the comic book incarnation of the team, and offer up a Superman-esque stand-in should Henry Cavill's Man of Steel remain unavailable for the first part of the movie. File under "surprisingly plausible," even if the character's appearances on CBS's Supergirl might prove a problem.


Who? The leader of the New Gods — and, more importantly, opposite number of rumored Justice League villain Darkseid — Highfather (AKA Izaya the Inheritor) first appeared in 1971's The New Gods No. 1 as the patriarch of New Genesis, a planet populated by a race of quasi-mythical beings dedicated to optimism and positive pursuits, as opposed to the all-things-evil world of Apokolips, ruled by Darkseid. In current comic book mythology, Darkseid and Highfather are siblings, transformed by the death of the "old gods" into all-powerful beings locked in eternal conflict over the role of free will in the universe.

But How Likely Is It Really … ? This seems the most obvious choice for Dafoe to play — large enough to span the two Justice League movies, yet obviously a role to be kept under wraps considering that Darkseid himself hasn't been confirmed for the movie despite the many, many hints in Batman v. Superman. Age-appropriate and given to melodramatic proclamations and grand gestures, Highfather seems a role entirely suited to Dafoe's strengths. If this isn't who he's playing in the two movies, someone need to do a quick rewrite to fix things ASAP.