DC Comics and Warner Bros.’ Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is loaded with all sorts of Easter Eggs and comic book references. And with numerous films springboarding from the climactic battle between The Man of Steel and The Dark Knight, these subtle hints may be more crucial to understanding the new DC Cinematic Universe than anything else.
From the first ever live action appearances of beloved comic book characters to minor clues concerning both the history and future of this film world, BvS is filled to the brim with Easter Eggs. Not only that, but the story is heavily drawn from multiple comic book storylines, which can give further context for the events and provide all the information you need for better understanding this film and the many to follow.
Read on for an in-depth look at every Easter Egg and comic book reference, but be warned, the following includes heavy spoilers for Batman v Superman!
When discussing the mercenary Anatoli Knyazev (more on him later), Alfred mentions “If he even is a man, and not some … phantasm.” That reference may seem unremarkable to most, but is quite clearly a reference to the story found within the 1993 animated feature film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, which saw The Dark Knight battle a mysterious vigilante in Gotham. While the reference may be nothing more than a little lip service to fans of the film, it may also be that the events of that film happened in some way or another within this Batman’s past.
Yes, Superman’s best pal is indeed in Batman v Superman. While it was rumored that Daily Planet reporter Jenny had taken his place in the mythos with her inclusion in Man of Steel, Jimmy Olsen debuts right at the beginning of this film. Here, he’s Lois Lane’s photographer who turns out to be a CIA spy who is never actually mentioned by name. That little camera he uses is the main identifier of his true nature. He’s also shot in the head and killed after one minute of screentime, so fans of the character can start rioting now.
Robin and The Joker
During one of his moments of preparation in the Batcave, Bruce Wayne takes a moment to glance at an enshrined costume. Sporting an “R” symbol on the left breast and complete with trademark short shorts, this is the costume of Robin, Batman’s longtime sidekick. It’s also covered in green spraypaint spelling out “HaHaHa Joke’s On You Batman.” Comic fans will know that this is a callback to the controversial ’80s storyline “A Death in the Family,” where the villainous Joker murdered Robin. In that story, it was the second Robin – Jason Todd. However, there are no details concerning who specifically was murdered and whether any other sidekicks are currently active in this DC Cinematic Universe.
While only referred to by his real name of Anatoli Knyazev, Luthor’s head henchman is actually the longtime Batman villain known as KG Beast. In comic books, he is a physiologically-enhanced Russian assassin with a gattling gun in place of his amputated left hand. So there’s quite a bit of difference between comic and film counterparts.
Played by Tao Okamoto, Lex Luthor’s right hand woman is Mercy Graves, who was originally introduced in Bruce Timm’s 1990’s Superman: The Animated Series. In it, she acted as Luthor’s chauffeur and bodyguard, displaying serious skills whenever anyone threatened her boss’s life. However, this may slip by viewers as she is only referred to by name once, shortly before being blown up by Luthor’s terrorist attack on the Senate. So she probably won’t have a chance to show off her sweet martial arts moves.
Darkseid and Apokolips
Batman’s apocalyptic vision sees many different clues concerning potential future films thrown at viewers with very little context given. The most important of these concern the villain Darkseid, an evil god from another dimension who seeks to conquer everything. As Batman emerges from his bunker, we see a destroyed wasteland with giant omega symbol carved into the Earth, which is the symbol of Darkseid. Further backing up this idea are the giant columns of fire in the distance, which come from massive fire pits that dominate Darkseid’s home planet of Apokolips and any planet he conquers. Also during the vision, Batman is besieged by flying creatures that are most certainly Parademons – Darkseid’s forces. Finally, Luthor mentions that something is coming to Earth at the end of the film, which is most likely Darkseid, especially considering that Luthor learned about the universe from the crashed Kryptonian ship and his office painting shows demons coming from the sky.
Batman’s nightmare/vision of a future where Superman reigns over a destroyed Earth seems to take cues from two recent storylines. The first is Injustice: Gods Among Us – a 2013 video game concerning a parallel Earth where Superman goes rogue and becomes the world’s despotic ruler after the murder of Lois Lane, leading to a rebellion headed by Batman. The other is Flashpoint – a comic book event where The Flash travelled back in time to alter the past, only to cause massive changes that resulted in a far worse world. The vision seen here seems to take elements from both, as Superman rules like his Injustice version, The Flash appears to travel back in time to fix the past like Flashpoint, and Lois Lane is said to be the key to everything, drawing parallels to Injustice. Where this exactly goes will most likely be addressed in the upcoming Justice League Part 1 and Part 2.
Clearly, the character of Wonder Woman is more than just an Easter Egg in Batman v Superman, she’s a fully formed character. However, there are small glimpses of her that are meant for the keen-eyed fan. In particular, she goes nameless throughout much of the movie until a flight attendent calls her “Ms. Prince” as she hastily leaves a plane. That is in reference to her full name of Diana Prince, which she goes by in man’s world. The other main Easter Egg is her use of the glowing Lasso of Truth, which she uses to ensnare Doomsday during the final battle. That particular weapon had gone unseen prior to the film and its inclusion here is a major piece of the character falling into place.
The only future Justice League member to be featured in two cameos, The Flash (Ezra Miller) is seen in two very different scenarios. First is his appearance at the end of Bruce Wayne’s apocalyptic vision, coming out of a lightning-covered portal to warn him that he “was right about him” and that “Lois is the key to everything.” He also remarks that he “came back too soon,” so it seems as though this Flash has time traveled from the future to warn Batman. He’s also sporting a heavily armored look with his traditional costume underneath. His second cameo comes during the very unsubtle top secret video email, seen in civilian clothing stopping a robbery in a convenience store, with his speed and a sudden burst of lightning destroying everything around him. His lightning symbol can be seen on his file.
You may have thought, “What’s Chris Pine doing in that old photo?” Only seen in the 1918 photograph taken of Wonder Woman, Steve Trevor (Pine) is seen by the heroine’s side during World War I, as documented by the black and white photograph hidden in Luthor’s archives. What happened to Trevor and why Wonder Woman decided to abandon the world of men after WWI will be revealed in 2017’s Wonder Woman solo film, which takes place during the time period and costars Pine.
Among the videos seen by Wonder Woman in the Luthor archive email sent by Batman is a mysterious, trident-wielding man deep within the ocean, hiding inside a sunken ship. Portrayed by Jason Momoa (who is clearly holding his breath despite the character being able to breathe underwater), this is Aquaman – the superhuman hero of the seas. We see him destroy a camera with his signature weapon and then rocket away through the water at superhuman speeds. His stylized “A” symbol can be found on his file.
The final Luthor email video focuses on a scientist attempting to save the life of a young man who has lost almost his entire body. What the video doesn’t say is that the scientist is Silas Stone (Joe Morton, who played Mikes Dyson in Terminator 2) and the man on the table is his son, Victor Stone (Ray Fisher). After multiple experiments, Silas uses strange technology to create a cybernetic body for his subject, which begins to form arms and legs while the man screams in pain. While the process doesn’t finish in the video, comic books and DC Comics themselves have said that this is indeed the young hero known as Cyborg, who will help form the Justice League. His “C” symbol can be found on his file.
While the film doesn’t directly say this, the technology used by Silas Stone to turn his son into Cyborg is almost certainly a Mother Box, which can be interpreted by its, shapeshifting, alien-like cube design. Mother Boxes are sentient pieces of technology used by the New Gods of Apokolips and New Genesis and can communicate with other devices, heal the injured, and create teleporting “Boom Tubes.” Their inclusion here is in line with Cyborg’s modern origin found in DC Comics’ “New 52” reboot and further ties in the character of Darkseid to the DC Cinematic Universe.
The Dark Knight Returns
The largest influence on the events of BvS comes from writer Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, a late ’80s comic book that told the story of an older Bruce Wayne coming out of retirement to fight for Gotham and battle Superman. Numerous elements of that story can be seen here, including Batman’s power armor used to help him fight Superman hand-to-hand, Superman being temporarily withered away by a nuclear bomb, and Batman being older than most live action versions and haunted by the death of Robin. Most specifically, Batman tearing through a wall to grab a criminal from behind and getting into a standoff with another pointing a gun at a hostage is taken directly from the comic, as is the exchange “Believe me, man, I’ll waste her.” “I believe you.” Which is followed by Batman shooting the criminal. The only difference here is that the hostage is Superman’s mother Martha Kent, where it was a nameless victim being held by the mutant gang in The Dark Knight Returns.
The Death of Superman
The monstrous Doomsday was originally introduced in the ’90s comic book event known as “The Death of Superman,” where he rampaged toward Metropolis, destroying everyone and everything in his way as Superman fought to stop him. Both Superman and Doomsday killed one another simultaneously, finally putting a stop to the rampage. Here, Doomsday is actually a genetically altered and monstrous General Zod and only briefly referred to by his comic book name. Unlike the comic, Superman is aided by both Wonder Woman and Batman and also dies, but Kryptonite was never used during the source material. Finally, Superman is given a military funeral with a casket featuring a silver and black emblem, which he wore upon his rebirth. Like the comics, the Superman of BvS will return to life, as indicated by the brief levitating earth around his casket.
Were there any easter eggs we missed? Have your own personal favorite? Let us know in the comments below!