Ever since Detective Comics released its very first issue all the way back in 1937, the world has been introduced to stellar superheroes and dastardly villains to sink their teeth into. At first, storylines and the characters populating them were often action packed but campy, almost caricatures of anything remotely serious. There were certainly serious and somber issues being tackled, such as Superman losing a friend to a car accident, but then DC Comics would release the likes of “Bat Baby”, a comic about Batman being turned into a muscled infant version of himself and fighting crime.
As the decades wore on, superhero storylines began to become more and more complex, with more heroes and villains sharing the spotlight as well as the universe from issue to issue. Now with the advent of the extended DC Universe, which includes both old and new movies, as well as TV shows, the different storylines, as well as the general overarching stories, have become more nuanced. This is where the fans come in.
While it is true that fan theories have existed ever since there have been fans to theorize things, the internet and all the forums and chat rooms that it allows access to has allowed to for DC lovers everywhere to discuss their beloved world(s) of superheroes and speculate at the significance of everything there. Every once in a while though, some of these theories, even the crazier ones, turn out to be true. So today, we’ll be discussing 20 DC universe theories that have actually been confirmed. Look out, potential spoilers ahead for Justice League.
20 Not Their First Meeting
Justice League introduced to the Zack Snyder DC universe a smorgasbord of new heroes for fans to look forward to. In the movie, Batman is working to recruit many different heroes to his league in order to fend off an impending attack on the earth by a terrible entity. Among them are Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman. None of these people are entirely keen to work together, but somehow, with the help of Diana, Bruce manages to convince them to play nice.
When Superman is brought up before the group however, a surprising statement is made by Aquaman: he'd met Superman before. Some viewers were shocked by this line, as at this point in time, this movie universe had mostly established each hero as doing their own separate thing. Some fans, however hypothesized that he was in the water in MoS. In an interview with DC All Access, Zack Snyder confirmed this line to be true, and that the meeting occurred all the way back in Man of Steel!
19 Aquaman To The Rescue!
The fan base around Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel is one of the most divided in terms of whether or not the film is any good. Fans and non-fans everywhere above all else debate constantly on the all the destruction that occurs within the movie, and if or if it is not the fault of Superman. There are some who even argue that in the whole of the movie, Superman does nothing to directly save anyone. It is possible that those same people have blanked out the entire sequence in which Superman directly saves the lives of the trapped men on the burning oil rig.
In an interview between DC All Access and Zack Snyder, he was asked about how, in Justice League, Aquaman mentions that he’s met with Superman before. This line, as you can imagine, has had fans buzzing on its meaning, and some had speculated that it had to be that Aquaman picked up Clark Kent as he was floating in the ocean after being blown away from the oil rig. It seemed the only logical conclusion, considering that was the only time in Zack Snyder’s universe, aside from Clark heading to the Indian Ocean to destroy the terraformer, that Aquaman could really have had a chance to run into him. As it turns, out, this was correct. Zack Snyder confirmed in that interview that a deleted scene would have shown Aquaman rescuing Clark as he floated aimlessly in the ocean with no other way to save himself.
18 Standing Tall
When a deleted scene from Justice League was dug up which showed a newly revived Superman wandering through the old Kryptonian ship, the forums lit up with all sorts of speculation. The scene involves Clark finding two super suits waiting for him, one of them his traditional blue and red and the other a solid black, like Zod’s from Man of Steel. After a moment of contemplation, Superman chooses his usual colors, and zips off to save the day. Fans everywhere were heatedly discussing the significance of this moment, and some came to the conclusion that this sequence is a callback to a conversation held between Clark and Jonathan Kent after Clark saved his classmates.
This controversial scene, where Jonathan professes that he wasn’t sure if saving them was the right thing in the interest of keeping Clark’s abilities a secret. At the end of their talk, Jonathan tells Clark that one day he would need to make a decision, on whether to stand proud in front of the human race, or not. Once again, Zack Snyder confirms this to be the intention in an interview.
17 Bi The Way
This theory is a bit more… retroactive. Hellblazer was the longest running comic series without any kind of retcon or reboot. For 300 issues, starting from January 1988 all the way to February 2013, the comic book world got to know the snarky, streetwise magician known as John Constantine. A man who regularly used illegal substances and had regular run ins with some of the darkest forces in the DC universe, John was also quite a womanizer on top of everything else. Many stories involved either current girlfriends, past girlfriends, future girlfriends, and, in one case, a late girlfriend. Considering some of John’s behavior towards the same sex, many fans started to make speculations concerning his private life.
As it turned out, they needn’t have speculated in the first place, though it’s unfortunately understandable why such a fact about John was made so obscure. In the story Count to Ten, Constantine very briefly mentions that he’s had the odd boyfriend. Unfortunately, because this comic issue came in 1992, the idea of being gay or bisexual was still considered very much taboo. So this mention was very quickly buried. To this day, new Hellblazer fans have had to be pointed to this comic when they’ve asked about John’s sexuality.
16 From One Demigod to Another
Wonder Woman, directed by Patti Jenkins, was a tremendous hit at the box office and among fans everywhere. Featuring a young Diana venturing onto the fields of World War I in order to find and defeat the evil war god Ares, woman everywhere cheered at the strong and smart demigod showing little girls everywhere that they too can be a warrior. Another reason as to why this movie was praised was for its diverse cast, showing the Amazons to be of a wide variety of races instead of merely all being white. Even Wonder Woman herself is played by Israel-born Gal Gadot.
Not only were the Amazons diverse, but also Diana’s companions later on in the film as well. Early on into her journey, Diana is introduced to a Native American who goes by the name of Chief. Diana, being extremely educated on the ways of the world, chooses to greet him in the traditional ways and tongue of his people. Those who understand the Napi language were surprised to hear Chief introduce himself to Diana as Napi, who is a trickster god to the Aboriginals. This detail wasn’t easily caught, considering that this was the only non-english part of the movie that didn’t receive subtitles. When fans asked Eugene Brave Rock, the actor who played Chief, he confirmed their suspicions that Chief was in fact another demigod.
15 With Great Power
In Man of Steel, Zod attempts to sway Kal El in joining him while his minions are destroying the earth in order to build a new Krypton. Part of the reason as to why Zod even bothers with this, aside from trying to find as many of his dwindling race as he could, is that Superman’s father had hidden the Kryptonian genetic codex somewhere with Kal when he was sent to earth. Zod felt that if he could get Kal El on his side, he would be able to find this codex and begin mass producing Kryptonian children much easier than on his own. Part of his plan to convince Superman to join him was to show him a rather nightmarish dream sequence, which ended with Superman being pulled down and trapped by millions of skulls.
Who knows why Zod thought this would work, but as it turned out, perhap Zod was clairvoyant. In Dawn of Justice, after saving innocents in Mexico during a Day of the Dead celebration, there is a rather beautiful visual of thousands of people, with their faces decorated to look like the dead, reaching out to touch Superman in reverence. Fans flocked to the internet when they were struck with Déjà vu, discussing that perhaps this vision from the last movie had actually come true, and was supposed to be a metaphor for Superman being weighed down and immobilized by the countless lives that he was protecting. Zack Snyder later on confirmed this to be true in an interview.
14 The Bad Doctor
Batman is often ranked as being one of the most powerful heroes in the DC universe. This is in spite of the fact that the only things he has to bring to the table is wealth, gadgets, good fighting skills, and a high intellect. He is in fact one of the foremost strategists and leaders of the Justice League alongside Superman and Wonder Woman. As such, when Darkseid was looking for a new "template" for his soldiers, he ended up choosing Batman above all his superhero counterparts.
Part of the process of making him a "template" was to break him mentally and physically, and in order to do that, Darkseid sends a terrifying enemy to defeat Batman in the form of Doctor Hurt. Fans immediately began to speculate on this mysterious figures origins, as he resembled an unnamed character in issue #156. As it turns out, they were correct in their assumptions that he was a descendent of the Wayne's. Simon Hurt, originally unnamed, was revealed to have been resurrected by Darkseid and sent to Batman in order to defeat his family member, so that Darkseid could use him for his own ends.
13 Belongs In There With The Rest Of Them
It’s almost universally agreed nowadays that in reality Bruce Wayne is in many ways just as insane as any of his rivals, including the Joker. It doesn’t take much brain power to realize that a child who watched his parents be fatally attacked in a dark alley and never received any therapy regarding that traumatic event isn’t ever going to be in his right mind. Many fans have certainly accepted this fact, and many point out that many of Batman’s adversaries are doctors, which could represent his actual therapists as he wastes away in Arkham Asylum.
Interestingly, this theory was partially confirmed in a more roundabout manner. In Batman: The Animated Series, the episode "Dreams in Darkness" has Batman doused in the fear serum that the Scarecrow likes to use and begins to hallucinate. He is sent to Arkham Asylum, where he babbles on incoherently about Scarecrow’s plan to poison the city, which nobody believes. In the interest of keeping his sanity intact, the lead doctor decides to leave his cowl on, as he believes that removing will destroy the man underneath. Talk about a meta-narrative!
12 Big Bad All Along
Constantine was a show created by NBC and set in the DC extended universe, which at the time included The Flash and Green Arrow. It also happened to be running alongside the hit show Supernatural, which ironically was inspired by the Hellblazer comics that John stars in. While it is true that the show took a few episodes to find its stride, many potential viewers were turned off of watching it because of its similarities to a show that already existed. In the end, Constantine was unfortunately cancelled, but at least fans got to see one of their theories come true.
On the show, John is directed and occasionally helped by the mysterious angel known as Manny. While Manny was always characterized as ultimately a good individual, fans who knew the capricious nature of DC’s supernatural entities were suspicious of him from the start. In the end, their theories were confirmed when it is revealed that Manny is in fact behind many of terrible things that happened during the course of the season. It’s too bad that reveal happened in the closing minutes of the final episode.
11 More Than Meets The Eye
The Green Lantern is a DC superhero who has been chosen by the universe’s emotional embodiment of willpower. After being gifted with a special ring that allows him to create constructs through sheer will, Green Lantern uses his new abilities to fight crime, evil, and Paralax, the universe’s manifestation of fear. As his worldview and his storylines expanded on the lore of the Power Rings, more and more began to show up, representing a very wide variety of powerful emotions and even the embodiments of Life and Death itself.
At this point in the story, there are nine different kinds of Power Rings that are connected to the emotional spectrum and the powers of life and death. Fans however are certain that there are more to be found in the DC Universe. This was proven correct with the rise of the Phantom Ring, a Ring that grants its user the power to create constructs using whatever emotion they feel at that moment. This powerful object appeared in Green Lanterns Issue 8.
10 Beware Red Lantern’s Light
The Power Rings are connected to powerful entities that are each the embodiment of a single powerful emotion. These emotions aren’t necessarily simple ones like joy, but are more in line with abstract feelings like willpower. One emotion defies that rule, however. The embodiment of rage, known only as the Butcher, is connected to the red Rings of Power, which allows its user to create constructs with anger. Unfortunately, a side effect of being inducted into this corps causes its members to more or less go berserk, becoming extremely and lethally hostile.
There is a theory however that it’s not the ring itself that is causing this to happen. Rather, it is the doing of Atrocitus, the leader of the corps, and his nightmarish way of bringing another lantern into the fold (which involves him replacing their bodily fluids with liquid fire) that causes this to happen. This turns out to be true, as Atrocitus is revealed to not allow his followers to have thoughts of their own when they are inducted. He does eventually allow for some of his team to come back to relative sanity and be able to think for themselves.
9 Indigo Lantern Prefers Mind Control
Whereas the Green Lanterns are connected to willpower and Red Lanterns are connected to rage, the Indigo Tribe is connected to the emotional embodiment of compassion. What this means is that anyone chosen to be a part of the Indigo Tribe care full heartedly for everyone around them, even to the point to self sacrifice. This powerful ring even allows its users to channel the light from other emotional spectrums, which is interesting considering a later reveal.
Fans noticed that some of the Indigo Tribe’s members seemed to have been chosen not only from those who are already naturally compassionate people, but also individuals who lack compassion. In fact, there is a strong argument that point to the fact that the Rings actually force their users to feel nothing but compassion, and will even go so far as to seek out those who care about compassion the least and force it on them. This is proven true when the Black Hand, the leader of the Black Lanterns and an all around terrible person, is forced to convert to the Indigo Tribe.
8 A Short Lived Empire
In a storyline that involves the evil alien collector Brainiac abducting and holding in stasis an Kryptonian city and 100,000 citizens, Superman frees these people, which then prompts them to create a new home for themselves. Using a fusion of both Brainiac’s technology and Krypton’s crystal-growing knowledge, they form a new planet and call it New Krypton. For the first time, Superman is not the last of his race and New Krypton begins a new chapter for a formerly doomed civilization.
Fans were not to quick to celebrate about this new turn of events, though. A huge part of Superman’s lore is the fact he is either the last or one of the very last of his race. In the DC universe, everyone makes a big deal whenever a “Kryptonian” shows up. Unfortunately, the only possible conclusion to such a deviation is such long established lore is for New Krypton to end. They were right, as Lex Luthor uses the villain Reactron as a bomb and destroys the planet.
7 Saving On His Dentist Bills?
Suicide Squad was heavily panned by both critics and DC fans when it came out. Most complaints had to do with the terrible story and the movie’s poor attempt to be just like Marvel’s The Avengers. Above all else though, everyone had a problem with Jared Leto’s bizarre and ridiculous take on The Joker. The past incarnations of the Clown Prince of Crime were often goofy, for certain, but there was always a sinister yet effortless undertone about it.
Jared Leto’s Joker on the other hand is the very definition of trying too hard. One critic described his portrayal as a gangster with a love for clowns. One jarring difference that this Joker had, aside from the slicked back green hair and the variety of tattoos, were the off-putting metal caps on top of his teeth. Knowing full well that this Joker had in the past taken out the original Robin, fans speculated that the Joker lost a few teeth because of this thanks to Batman, and was either mocking him or protecting his chompers. Director David Ayer explained to Empire magazine that those teeth were a message to Batman, more or less declaring, “You damaged me.”
6 Another Cog In The Machine
The Court of Owls is a terrifying addition to the DC universe and as a group are a main antagonist to Batman and his super hero colleagues. They resemble a cult, wearing creepy owl masks with black eyes that cover their facial expressions completely. They work in secret, acting like an analogue of the Illuminati in Gotham, except that they are a well known crime group that the Gotham police are actively trying to take down.
Due to their dark ways, many fans have speculated that the Court of Owls is really just another branch of another big crime group called the League of Shadows. This has been partially confirmed in Detective Comics #938, where at least the military believes that they are directly connected to the League. If those two groups are related, perhaps it's time to move to Metropolis.
5 Amnesia For Days
This is a theory that got the main point right but the reason for it wrong. Mr. Mxyzptlk is a 5th dimension hopping imp that loves to play all sorts of tricks on people. Whether or not the trick is funny to that person doesn't matter to him, as shown in this case. A mysterious Clark Kent has been showing up from time to time in Action Comics, and fans everywhere have been throwing around theories as to his true identity, including Lex Luthor. It was only revealed in Action Comics #975 that it was Mr. Mxyzptlk all along, making the few who believed it was him very happy that they won their bets.
It wasn't due to amnesia however, as the original theory states. In fact, Mr. Mxyzptlk only did this to cause amnesia. Specifically towards Superman and his wife Lois Lane about their son. Apparently, the imp wasn't too pleased that Superman hadn't been around to see him for a while and thought that if he forgot about his own son, he would remember his "old friends". Talk about overkill.
4 Professor Zoom Caused A Big Accident
The TV show The Flash follows the story of Barry Allen and his quest to understand his new powers and the ever expanding gallery of metahumans and monsters he has to face. His powers manifested when he was struck by a bolt of lightning, later revealed to be the mysterious Speed Force, which occurred on the same night that a brand new particle accelerator was brought online. That accelerator unfortunately failed and exploded, throwing particles into the atmosphere and infecting thousands with the metagene.
Considering the care that generally goes into creating such an expensive piece of equipment, fans couldn't help but wonder if a certain well known time-travelling speedster had something to do with it, namely Professor Zoom. The only thing is that originally the explosion was an accident, but when Professor Zoom was stuck in that time line at an earlier date, he caused the accident to happen twenty years earlier to speed up the process.
3 The Speed Force was Created by Other Speedsters
In the DC universe, the Speed Force is a mysterious power that grants many speedsters their super speed, including The Flash and Reverse Flash. Not only can people draw from it, but it can also be weaponized and even merged with to give users nearly god-like abilities and power. A tremendous amount of speculation, both in universe and out, has been devoted to trying to figure out not only what exactly the Speed Force is supposed to be, but where it comes from as well.
One of the main theories that have been put forward is that it's the speedsters themselves that create this force. This has often been dismissed by the community as being too ridiculous, until Rebirth #4 actually revealed this to be true. How this works is still a mystery, which is why some fans aren't too pleased with this seemingly simplistic explanation.
2 In Crisis, Superboy doesn’t have any powers.
During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, our heroes are recruited by the Monitor, a cosmic cataloguing entity, to help defeat the Anti-Monitor, his evil counterpart. A large chunk of this story is devoted to how 5 versions of Earth are partially merged, including that of Earth Prime. Earth Prime is home to Superboy Prime, an extremely powerful version of Superman who seems to manifest many Silver Age abilities as well.
The major issue that fans had about this was the fact that Earth Prime is supposed to be our own, non-super powered planet. So fans couldn't help but think that somehow, in spite of all the power he's shown, Superboy was never originally gifted with powers. This was confirmed when Superboy Prime put on the Black Ring of Power, with called him "Clark Kent of Earth". When Superman put on the ring, it called him "Kal-El of Krypton", which point to the fact that Superboy Prime is in fact a non-powered person who managed to gain his abilities, which is again speculated through the merging of the multiple Earths.
1 Not Just An Ordinary Crime In The End
One of the major points about Batman is his trauma concerning the attack on his parents. As a child, he witnessed the terrible incident, and grew up to dress up as a bat and fight crime, as you do. The hit TV show Gotham explores the story of a young Bruce Wayne and a young Commissionaire Gordon as the child grows up to become the hero we know, and Gordon investigates the tragedy that befell the Wayne family. One of the first things he finds is that the weapon and the ammunition used were too expensive for the average mugger, so he comes to the conclusion that this was no ordinary mugging. Unfortunately for Gordon, Bruce agrees as well, and wants to help.
Of course, the idea of the mugging being more than just a common crime has been circulating the Batman fan base for years, but so far no major story line has ever explored this avenue. Until now, that is. During Season 2 of Gotham, Malone reveals that he was part of the hit that took Bruce's parents away.