The upcoming Justice League movie will feature DC Comics character Steppenwolf as its villain, but fans know that he's really just a prelude to a much bigger bad to come.
Darkseid, the ruler of Apokolips, is who Steppenwolf serves, and it has long been speculated that after Steppenwolf tries and fails to invade Earth in Justice League, Darkseid will lead his own intergalatic assualt against Earth's heroes in Justice League II.
However, a new report from Geek Magazine has revealed in the DC Films Universe, Steppenwolf and Darkseid will have a much different connection than DC Comics fans are used to. Read on for the details, but know upfront that they could be considered MILD SPOILERS:
In DC Comics lore, Steppenwolf isn't just Darkseid's top general - he's also his uncle. In fact, there's a whole well-established lineage for the "New Gods" of the warring planets New Genesis and Apokolips, and apparently the DC Films Universe isn't afraid to mix that up.
Here's what Geek Magazine (via Screen Rant) revealed about how the movie versions of Steppenwolf and Darkseid will be related:
“In Justice League, Batman and Wonder Woman, following Superman’s death in battling Doomsday, is intent on bringing together a team to take on Steppenwolf. This new menace is the nephew to Darkseid of Apokolips (presumably the big bad of the second JL adventure). Steppenwolf is on Earth to retrieve three Mother Boxes, one of which is now a part of Cyborg.”
Presuming that Geek Magazine has this breakdown correct, it makes a certain amount of sense for the filmmakers to make this change.
Having Steppenwolf be Darkseid's uncle would invite a lot of questions about family relations on Apokolips, leading to necessary explanations of things like how Darkseid and High Father exchanged sons at some point (Orion and Mr. Miracle) and a lot of other mythos from Jack Kirby-era New Gods that the DC Films Universe has already hinted at.
However, for viewers coming to Justice League with limited knowledge of DC Comics lore, the change makes things all-too-simple: Steppenwolf, as nephew of a more powerful being, is simply the training wheels version of the villain the Justice League actually has to face. It's a simple hierarchy of age, experience, and power that even casual viewers would be able to understand.
On the other hand, if the filmmakers were going to make such a change, then it would've probably been better to fully simplify by making Steppenwolf one of Darkseid's sons. A daddy monster coming to get revenge for his defeated kid would be even simpler for viewers to understand (see also: Destiny), unless Justice League has some kind of twist where Steppenwolf abandons his duties and loyalties to Apokolips.
We'll find out when Justice League is in theaters on November 17th.