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Darkseid from the 'Justice League' 'Snyder Cut' trailer Image Credit: YouTube screengrab

After months of begging and angry demands from fans, Warner Bros announced that they would release the ‘Snyder Cut’ of the ‘Justice League’ movie, a superhero film originally directed by Zack Snyder before Joss Whendon had to step in after the former had to abandon the project because of a personal tragedy.

Now that ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ is very much a real thing — streaming service HBO Max will officially drop the movie in May 2021 — audiences are being given some titbits on what to expect from this new version of the 2017 film.

And one of the biggest changes, or rather additions, that we will see is the introduction of DC arch-villain Darkseid. While in the original movie, Steppenwolf was the overarching bad guy, with Darseid being only mentioned once in a passing dialogue, ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ will see Darkseid take a more prominent role, even if Steppenwolf will continue to have a significant presence in the movie.

Actor Ray Porter voiced Darkseid in ‘Justice League’, and will continue the role in the re-edit.

For those who are still scratching their heads over this DC villain, here’s a simple primer to Darkseid and his place in the comic book world.

The Fourth World

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Darkseid Image Credit: DC Comics

Before we get to meeting our DC villain, let’s set the scene quickly. In the early ‘70s, comic book legend Jack Kirby conceived, wrote and drew a series of connected meta-stories exploring a sci-fi based mythology revolving around ancient space deities. This new universe was called the Fourth World and these immortal space deities were known as New Gods. The new world was born after the old deities were defeated in a war, which ended up creating two new planets — New Genesis (filled with light, hope and justice) and Apokolips (a nightmare world of torture and endless suffering) — both living in their own pocket dimension, accessible only through boom tubes (which we will come to later).

Who is Darkseid?

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Darkseid vs Superman Image Credit: DC Comics

The DC equivalent of Thanos, Darkseid is the ultimate evil in this comic book universe, making the likes of Joker, Deathstroke and Lex Luther look like small fry in the business of villainy. A member of the race called New Gods and ruler of the planet Apokolips, his main power — the Omega Beams — is a form of tracking energy that he fires from his eyes or hands which is capable of erasing living objects and organisms from existence. The Omega Beams can also trap and transport targets to other worlds and dimensions. Some super-beings, such as Superman and Doomsday, have proven to be resistant to the beams.

His origin story

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Darkseid Image Credit: DC Comics

Born of the royal family of Apokolips, Uxas (Darkseid’s birth name) is the younger son of Yuga Khan and Heggra. When his brother Drax tried to claim the Omega Force, a source of unnatural and extreme power, Uxas intervened and stole the power for himself, killing Drax in the process and becoming Darkseid. When he emerged from the process, Darkseid appeared in a new physical form, all hardened body and glowing red eyes, and took the Apokolips throne for himself.

A tenuous pact between Apokolips and New Genesis

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Image Credit: DC Comics

Think ofNew Genesis and APokolips and heaven and hell, respectively. Soon after Darkseid took power in Apokolips, he plunged both worlds in a long war. After much time passed Darkseid and Highfather, ruler of New Genesis, agreed to end the war by trading their sons. Orion went to New Genesis and Scott Free went to Apokolips. Darkseid immediately banished Scott to the fire pits to be tortured for eternity. However, when Scott eventually escaped to Earth, and became the superhero Mister Miracle, Darkseid used this as an excuse to restart the war. Orion, Darkseid’s original son, also turned to the good side as Highfather’s ward.

Darkseid has but one mission

Darkseid in the 'Justice League'
Darkseid in the 'Justice League' Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

All Darkseid’s ever wanted, even when he was Uxas, is power. And to wield ultimate power, Darkseid is on the hunt for the Anti-Life Equation. This formula will allow Darkseid to have complete control over any being that the equation is fed into by draining all their hope and will to live. According to the comics, Darkseid believes that a part of the equation lies in humanity’s consciousness, and there’s a chance that this is exactly why we will see him arrive on Earth in ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’.

What is the Mother Box?

Steppenwolf with the Mother Box in 'Justice League'
Steppenwolf with the Mother Box in 'Justice League' Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

Mother Boxes are sentient, portable supercomputers engineered by those in the Fourth World — think mobile phones but for super-beings. And while they have many, many powers, some that even their own makers can’t fathom, Mother Boxes have been used primarily for teleportation and energy manipulation. These box-shaped devices create ‘boom tubes’, which allow users to travel between places and dimensions. We’ve seen three Mother Boxes in the original ‘Justice League’ film, and Steppenwolf used a boom tube when he first arrived in Themyscira in the movie.

On-screen appearances

Darkseid Image Credit: Supplied

Darkseid has appeared in plenty of DC media over the years, including the DC animated movie and TV universes. Most recently, he appeared in the ongoing Harley Quinn animated series and is also set to feature in Ava DuVernay’s upcoming ‘New Gods’ live-action movie.