DeSaad, the New Villain of Zack Snyder's Justice League, Explained

After years of fans campaigning and hoping, the first trailer for Zack Snyder's Justice League made its debut over the weekend, as part of the DC FanDome virtual convention. The teaser showcased some epic, previously-unseen footage from Snyder's intended cut of the film, much of which fans are still emotionally processing. One of those is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot of one of the film's other villains, the Fourth World character DeSaad. The character, who is portrayed by English actor Peter Guinness, briefly appears in the trailer, looking like a hooded version of fellow Darkseid follower, Steppenwolf. So, who is DeSaad? Here's what you need to know.

zack snyder's justice league desaad
(Photo: DC Entertainment)

Created by Jack Kirby, DeSaad first appeared in 1971's Forever People #2, as a follower of the Apokolips heir, Drax. As was later revealed, Uxas manipulated DeSaad into following him from a very young age, by convincing him to kill his pets and leave New Genesis. In his subsequent appearances, DeSaad helped Uxas overthrow Drax for the throne, and helped establish him as Darkseid. DeSaad continued to serve as Darkseid's torture master, and exhibited sadist tendencies even as Darkseid's motivations pivoted towards finding the Anti-Life Equation.

DeSaad continued to cause trouble in the DC universe in decades of issues that followed, and even briefly became Firestorm after kidnapping and torturing Martin Stein. DeSaad even briefly gets tangled up with the Suicide Squad, trying and failing to train some of their exiled villains to be disciples of Darkseid. He also briefly possessed Mary Marvel, which was revealed during the events of Final Crisis. DeSaad reemerged in The New 52 continuity, trying to help Darkseid in his initial incursion of Earth.

Zack Snyder's Justice League will serve as DeSaad's big-screen debut. The character was previously portrayed in live-action by Steve Byers on Smallville.

Since we knew Uxas was going to factor into Zack Snyder's Justice League, the idea of his right-hand man making an appearance as well, especially after Snyder confirmed as much on social media. Still, DeSaad's arrival definitely surprised fans, and hinted at what kind of expansive world fans can expect from the new cut of the film.

"With Justice League when it came, there was a mix of visions and the movie wasn’t well-received," Superman star Henry Cavill said in an interview back in June. "And then over the subsequent years, there was a big push to see the fabled Snyder Cut. And now that time has come, and I think it’s going to be very enjoyable to watch Zack finally release his version."

"I’m just really happy that Zack got to realize his vision," Cavill continued. "I think it’s important for a filmmaker and a storyteller to have their intended vision released and shown to the world, and I’m looking forward to seeing it myself. It’s been quite the ordeal."

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Zack Snyder's Justice League will debut as a four-part miniseries on HBO Max sometime in 2021.