Even though he was entirely cut from the theatrical cut of during Batman’s Knightmare vision where we see the Omega symbol at the bottom of a dried up Gotham Harbor, indicating Darksied had in fact acquired the Omega power. The Knightmare was supposed to be continued right before Superman’s resurrection, this time with Cyborg experiencing the Knightmare, including a full reveal of Darkseid and the Mother Boxes transforming the Earth.
Bringing Darkseid into the Knightmare scene in Justice League wouldn’t only show the expansion of his power since the first invasion, but it would tie it through to Batman v Superman‘s Knightmare scene, revealing he likely used the Anti-Life equation to control Superman. As these threads all come together, it becomes clear that the threat of Darkeid in Justice League isn’t just some distant tease, but a very real and immediate danger. A danger that would become even more real by the end of the movie.
Darkseid Would Be Fully Established Before Justice League 2
When it was first revealed that Darkseid was supposed to make an appearance in Justice League, it was through a leaked storyboard suggesting it may not have been much more than a tease, something akin to the Thanos reveal in the post-credits scene of The Avengers. It was always seen as a simple set-up for Snyder’s Justice League 2, and while that was definitely a component, we now have enough pieces of the puzzle to see a more clear character arc coming together. This was no Thanos tease at the end of The Avengers, or even Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy. Justice League would have given audiences everything they needed to know about Darkseid before Justice League 2 even started, giving him potential to be as well established of a villain as Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War.
Tracking Darkseid’s entire intended trajectory, we’d see him first teased with the Omega symbol in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, then again at the end when Lex Luthor, after communing with Steppenwolf through the Kryptonian ship, tells Batman “the bell’s already been rung. And they’ve heard it. Out in the dark among the stars. Dong dong, the god is dead. The bell cannot be unwrung. He’s hungry. He’s found us. And he’s coming!” It was clear at the time he was referring to Darkseid, but especially in retrospect with these most recent Justice League Darkseid reveals that he would have been at the invasion, fought Ares, sent Steppenwolf back to Earth, and been a part of Cyborg’s Knightmare continuation. This would have all culminated in a cliffhanger ending.
Back in August of 2017, rumors of intense Justice League reshoots were plentiful, but one such rumor was that there was a cliffhanger ending with Darkseid reshot to something more conclusive. The nature of this original scene may have been revealed recently when Zack Snyder answered a fan question about the end of the movie, saying that a cut scene from the final battle was of the League looking up at a Boom Tube. The theatrical cut of the movie has Steppenwolf pulled back through a Boom Tube by parademons, but has a totally different shot of each character watching him go, many of which are obvious reshoots. If the rumor is true, this moment is likely when we would have gotten the movie’s final Darkseid tease after Steppenwolf is defeated, presumably revealing Darkseid to the heroes and setting him up for Justice League 2.
If a Justice League 2 ever happens now, presumably without Snyder, it could still include Darkseid, but with nearly all references removed from the theatrical cut of the movie, and a post-credits scene that teases the Legion of Doom or Injustice League, it’d be a lot more work to introduce him nearly from scratch. The most likely scenario for Darkseid to end up in a movie is through Ava DuVernay’s New Gods project.
The Snyder Cut very well may be completed and released one day, like Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner or Richard Donner’s Superman II, but with the DCEU moving full speed ahead in a different direction, it’s not clear when Warner Bros. might consider it worth the effort. Until then, the true scope of Zack Snyder’s Justice League story will likely continue to leak out as more and more puzzle pieces are discovered.