Man of Steel: Five Ideas For the Ending (That Don't Involve Justice League)

When Superman gets rebooted next year in Man of Steel by Zack Snyder, there will be a lot of expectation that the greater DC “cinematic universe” should play a role in the inevitable post-credits “stinger” tease that the movie gets to make room for a sequel. That’s almost certainly true, as it’s hard to imagine that Warner plans a Justice League movie for 2015 and that it won’t involve at least starting to build to it in a Superman movie that hits in late 2013.

Still, it’s fun to speculate as to exactly what else might be teased—what parts of Superman’s mythology might be the next logical progression after General Zod and his band of Kryptonian criminals are (presumably) shunted back to the Phantom Zone.

And you know what they say about fun: That’s what we like to do for a living here. So what would we like to see at the end of the Superman movie?

Supergirl

Last time around, they gave Supergirl her own movie…and it didn't completely work. That’s not to say that she shouldn’t get one again eventually, but if I were going to reintroduce Kara Zor-El to the world of film, it would almost certainly be in a Superman movie that I already knew (or at least strongly suspected) was good.

A rocket crashing to Earth early in the film, and then again late, would be an interesting motif to set up, with Snyder able to toy with the differences between when Clark came down (in a world without aliens, and a world without Superman) versus the one where Kara came down; the similarities to the way her first issue went in the comics would probably be substantial, but given how good the current Supergirl comic is, that’s hard to complain about.

Lex Luthor

This one’s kind of obvious, isn’t it? I’m the last guy to ever need to see Lex on film again, but if he’s not going to be a main character in the movie (from what we can tell, he isn’t), it’s sort of incumbent upon the filmmakers to at least establish his character exists at some point. Tacking him on the end, perhaps suggesting that he had something to do with one of the plot threads along the way and nobody was aware of it, seems like an obvious PS, in the same way that revealing Thanos was behind Loki at the end of The Avengers was a no-brainer when viewed in the context of what they wanted to do next.

Chris Kent

Alright, so it wouldn’t really work to do this character the same way in the movies that they did in the comics—but what kind of story potential would it set up to have the film’s villains parent a child, and then leave a super-baby behind when they disappear again at the end?

This one’s particularly interesting because it almost demands NOT to be immediately followed up on, since you’d be a ways down the road before the infant was big enough and solar-charged enough to really be a plot device.

An alien menace

It really doesn’t matter which one—you could have Brainiac, Mongul or Solaris and I’d be equally happy. While most of these stories revolve around something happening on Earth that will require a fairly immediate response from Superman at some point down the road, an alien floating above Earth and beyond the detection of our satellites is a great, menacing threat that doesn’t inherently have to be dealt with right away.

It could also double as a threat for Justice League. Even though the idea here is to set up for a potential Superman sequel in case the Justice League movie doesn’t go this route, the obvious way to one-up The Avengers’ use of Thanos in their post-credits stinger is to bring Darkseid into The Man of Steel’s.

The studio has also shown that they really have no problem reusing the same ideas and characters already brought to the small screen on Smallville, so that makes the Lord of Apokolips fair game.

Doomsday

Going from deep space to deep beneath the Earth’s core, we get one of the great, iconic comics teasers of all time. Zack Snyder is hoping to build a world that’s gritty and somewhat more realistic for Superman, who’s inherently a kind of fantastic character.

That’s a challenge, but can you imagine anything cooler than the credits being accompanied by a rhythmic, metallic pounding for a while, before giving way to an image of Doomsday’s gloved fist thrashing against reinforced steel walls in the dark, until finally his bony, menacing hands are revealed and he breaks through the wall? It would be dark, it would be threatening, and it would be one of those things that sends a clear message to the neophytes while rewarding the faithful.