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5 Potential Big Bads for James Gunn’s DCU Who’d Make the MCU’s Kang and Thanos Look Like Condiment King

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Images via Marvel Studios/DC Comics

After months of teasing, James Gunn has finally revealed the shape of his initial wave of projects for the rebooted DC universe. Officially titled DCU Chapter One: Gods & Monsters, the franchise will commence with five movies and five TV shows beginning in 2025. With projects ranging from Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow to The Authority, we now possess a clearer idea of which heroes will be leading the charge of the new DCU. Although we still have one big question: which villains will they be facing?

A hero is only as good as their villain, and Marvel Studios has certainly perfected the art of establishing a formidable primary foe for its Avengers — first with Thanos, and currently with Kang the Conqueror, debuting in this February’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Luckily for Gunn and producing partner Peter Safran, there are an abundance of antagonists they can pluck from the pages of DC Comics to have their Justice League fight. Villains tough enough to wipe the floor with the MCU’s offerings and leave them looking like Condiment King (look it up, kids).

Darkseid

Darkseid Zack Snyder's Justice League
Image via Warner Bros./HBO Max

When it comes to DC Comics villains who could make the perfect big bad for the cinematic universe, naturally the first contender to spring to mind is Darkseid. That’s why Zack Snyder set up the ruler of Apokolips as the ultimate evil in his Justice League movie. Unfortunately, the fact that he’s already been utilized by the Snyderverse, even as wasted as he was, is the number one reason why James Gunn should probably give him a miss in the rebooted franchise. We definitely want to see Uxas done justice on the big screen eventually, for for now Darkseid is… on the bench.

Anti-Monitor

Anti-Monitor_DC
Image via DC Comics

After Darkseid, the next villain who makes the most obvious big bad for the DCU is the Anti-Monitor, one of the most powerful beings in the entire DC multiverse who memorably tried — and came close — to destroying all of reality in the legendary original Crisis on Infinite Earths event. It looks like The Flash will be something of a Crisis event itself, but if Gunn and Safran are looking to build up to a full-on Crisis movie to rival Marvel’s Avengers: Secret Wars, then they can start sowing the seeds for the Anti-Monitor’s rise now. On the other hand, we did just get a (very underwhelming) take on the villain in The CW’s Arrowverse.

Nekron

Image via DC Comics

The Green Lantern Corps are finally returning to live-action in Lanterns. Seeing as that’s a TV series, though, fans may be fearing Hal Jordan, John Stewart, and the rest will be kept on the periphery of the franchise. That would be a huge waste of their cosmic potential, though, so Gunn could quickly off-set any worries on that front by establishing Nekron as the DCU’s big bad. The personification of death, who is fueled by the souls of every being that’s ever died, Nekron — and his Black Lantern Corps of twisted, resurrected heroes — led an assault on the Justice League in the Blackest Night storyline.

Superboy-Prime

via DC Comics

Nekron has been hailed as the most powerful dark force in the DC multiverse, so it’s hard to find a potential big bad who’s even more of a threat than him, but there is one out there. Enter Superboy-Prime. Originally introduced as a good variant of Supes in Crisis, Superboy-Prime — from Earth-Prime, essentially our world, where superheroes are comic book characters — later grew insane and set out to eradicate all other Supermen from reality, believing himself to be the only one worthy of the mantle. On top of all Superman’s typical skills, Prime is so powerful that he once caused a continuity reset in Infinity Crisis when he literally punched the timeline.

Legion of Doom

Legion of Doom DC Comics
Image via DC Comics/Alex Ross

Superboy-Prime might be the most powerful, and also wildest, suggestion that Gunn could choose as the big bad for the first chapter of the DCU, but maybe he’s one to save up for future phases. It might actually be a smarter move to make sure the franchise can walk before it runs and start off with an overarching threat that’s a little closer to home. With Superman: Legacy and other films presumably introducing the rogues gallery of the DC universe from scratch, why not revive a promising but sadly junked concept from the old DCEU? Specifically, the concept of building up the Legion of Doom across multiple projects before having the villains come together to battle the heroes in some kind of team-up event.

Given the “Gods & Monsters” slate, a prospective LoD line-up could include the likes of Lex Luthor, Sinestro, and Brainiac.




Images via Marvel Studios/DC Comics

After months of teasing, James Gunn has finally revealed the shape of his initial wave of projects for the rebooted DC universe. Officially titled DCU Chapter One: Gods & Monsters, the franchise will commence with five movies and five TV shows beginning in 2025. With projects ranging from Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow to The Authority, we now possess a clearer idea of which heroes will be leading the charge of the new DCU. Although we still have one big question: which villains will they be facing?

A hero is only as good as their villain, and Marvel Studios has certainly perfected the art of establishing a formidable primary foe for its Avengers — first with Thanos, and currently with Kang the Conqueror, debuting in this February’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Luckily for Gunn and producing partner Peter Safran, there are an abundance of antagonists they can pluck from the pages of DC Comics to have their Justice League fight. Villains tough enough to wipe the floor with the MCU’s offerings and leave them looking like Condiment King (look it up, kids).

Darkseid

Darkseid Zack Snyder's Justice League
Image via Warner Bros./HBO Max

When it comes to DC Comics villains who could make the perfect big bad for the cinematic universe, naturally the first contender to spring to mind is Darkseid. That’s why Zack Snyder set up the ruler of Apokolips as the ultimate evil in his Justice League movie. Unfortunately, the fact that he’s already been utilized by the Snyderverse, even as wasted as he was, is the number one reason why James Gunn should probably give him a miss in the rebooted franchise. We definitely want to see Uxas done justice on the big screen eventually, for for now Darkseid is… on the bench.

Anti-Monitor

Anti-Monitor_DC
Image via DC Comics

After Darkseid, the next villain who makes the most obvious big bad for the DCU is the Anti-Monitor, one of the most powerful beings in the entire DC multiverse who memorably tried — and came close — to destroying all of reality in the legendary original Crisis on Infinite Earths event. It looks like The Flash will be something of a Crisis event itself, but if Gunn and Safran are looking to build up to a full-on Crisis movie to rival Marvel’s Avengers: Secret Wars, then they can start sowing the seeds for the Anti-Monitor’s rise now. On the other hand, we did just get a (very underwhelming) take on the villain in The CW’s Arrowverse.

Nekron

Image via DC Comics

The Green Lantern Corps are finally returning to live-action in Lanterns. Seeing as that’s a TV series, though, fans may be fearing Hal Jordan, John Stewart, and the rest will be kept on the periphery of the franchise. That would be a huge waste of their cosmic potential, though, so Gunn could quickly off-set any worries on that front by establishing Nekron as the DCU’s big bad. The personification of death, who is fueled by the souls of every being that’s ever died, Nekron — and his Black Lantern Corps of twisted, resurrected heroes — led an assault on the Justice League in the Blackest Night storyline.

Superboy-Prime

via DC Comics

Nekron has been hailed as the most powerful dark force in the DC multiverse, so it’s hard to find a potential big bad who’s even more of a threat than him, but there is one out there. Enter Superboy-Prime. Originally introduced as a good variant of Supes in Crisis, Superboy-Prime — from Earth-Prime, essentially our world, where superheroes are comic book characters — later grew insane and set out to eradicate all other Supermen from reality, believing himself to be the only one worthy of the mantle. On top of all Superman’s typical skills, Prime is so powerful that he once caused a continuity reset in Infinity Crisis when he literally punched the timeline.

Legion of Doom

Legion of Doom DC Comics
Image via DC Comics/Alex Ross

Superboy-Prime might be the most powerful, and also wildest, suggestion that Gunn could choose as the big bad for the first chapter of the DCU, but maybe he’s one to save up for future phases. It might actually be a smarter move to make sure the franchise can walk before it runs and start off with an overarching threat that’s a little closer to home. With Superman: Legacy and other films presumably introducing the rogues gallery of the DC universe from scratch, why not revive a promising but sadly junked concept from the old DCEU? Specifically, the concept of building up the Legion of Doom across multiple projects before having the villains come together to battle the heroes in some kind of team-up event.

Given the “Gods & Monsters” slate, a prospective LoD line-up could include the likes of Lex Luthor, Sinestro, and Brainiac.

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