The Apokoliptian warlord Darkseid has killed numerous heroes in the DCEU, as shown in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, especially in its hypothetical Knightmare future, but who are all the heroes who he defeated? The DCEU has set up Darkseid to be the ultimate villain. As a New God, Darkseid is extremely powerful and megalomaniacal and has conquered thousands of worlds in his lifetime, subjugating planets in his quest for power and the Anti-Life Equation. In a potential future, Darkside succeeds, adding Earth to his list of conquered worlds and finally obtaining the Anti-Life Equations, destroying the Justice League in more ways than one.
As shown in a flashback sequence, Darkseid visited Earth once before, upon discovering that the world held the Anti-Life Equation. In a massive battle against humanity and Earth’s greatest defenders, Darkseid was defeated, leaving Earth without the Anti-Life Equation. For millennia, Darkseid continued to conquer worlds, nearly returning to Earth via boom tube in Justice League when Superman’s death activated the Mother Boxes. The Knightmare, a possible future glimpsed by Batman and Cyborg shows a victorious Darkseid who, with the Anti-Life Equation, destroys the Justice League and takes over Earth, leaving a sinister Superman-led Regime in charge.
Darkseid desires the Anti-Life Equation because it’d become his most useful tool in future conquests. The Anti-Life Equation is an all-powerful cosmic formula that can remove the free will of any being, allowing Darkseid to turn his greatest opponents into minions. Darkseid’s acquisition of the equation and the subsequent Knightmare future was originally going to be depicted in Zack Snyder’s planned Justice League sequels. The films are unlikely to be released, but Snyder stated that the final film would have seen Batman’s DCEU ending include him sacrificing himself to prevent Darkseid from obtaining the equation, thus preventing the Knightmare and the subsequent deaths of the Justice League’s heroes.
In DC Comics, Yalan Gur was an ancient Green Lantern and one of the first to defend Sector 2814, which includes Earth. Gur was so renowned that the Oan Guardians of the Universe made his ring immune to the Green Lantern rings’ weakness to the color yellow (due to the Parallax being trapped within the central green power battery). Yalan Gur makes his cinematic debut in Justice League, defending Earth during Darkseid’s first attempt at conquering it. Though he fought bravely, Gur was overpowered by Darkseid, getting dismembered and impaled by the Apokoliptian’s polearm weapon. With its wearer dead, the DCEU Green Lantern ring flies off into space to find a successor, just as Abin Sur’s would millennia later, famously finding Hal Jordan. Since Gur’s death didn’t occur in the Knightmare, his is the only death that can’t be undone in Snyder’s planned sequels.
During Cyborg’s vision of the Knightmare in Justice League, a deceased Wonder Woman is shown early on in the vision. At her funeral pyre, Queen Hippolyta is shown tearfully mourning the loss of her daughter. Also visible is Darkseid, arriving at Wonder Woman’s funeral in an Apokoliptian vessel. Considering how powerful Wonder Woman is and Darkseid’s appearance, the Apokoliptian warlord is likely the one who killed her. Wonder Woman’s DCEU ending is also notable as it is the first to be shown dead in Cyborg’s vision, further proving that she was one of the greatest threats to Darkseid and one of the first to die because of this.
The next death shown in Cyborg’s Knightmare vision was Aquaman. Darkseid is shown overpowering the King of Atlantis in his throne room, impaling Arthur with his second trident and simultaneously disintegrating Vulko, Aquaman’s Atlantean mentor. Aquaman is notably killed with the Trident of Atlan, instead of Atlanna’s trident, which Arthur used throughout the rest of the film. The three-pronged weapon’s original owner, Atlan, fought Darkseid with his famous weapon during the original Apokoliptian invasion of Earth. Mera later wields Aquaman’s trident, when she joins Batman’s insurgency.
While Superman was not directly killed by Darkseid, everything he stood for and believed in was. In the Knightmare scenario, Lois Lane is killed, breaking Superman’s heart and weakening his resolve. Taking advantage of this, Darkseid uses the Anti-Life Equation on him, annihilating Clark’s free will and reducing him to a brainwashed pawn. With his former self gone, Superman became little more than a puppet of Darkseid, enforcing his will on the conquered and terraformed Earth, fighting against everything he’d once stood for. Unlike the Injustice video games that inspired the Knightmare sequence, The DCEU’s Superman is fundamentally incapable of becoming a villain, despite Batman’s right thoughts on Superman in BvS. Zack Snyder’s Superman, like the comic version he’s based on, is an intrinsically good person who would have remained a hero, even if he lost those he loved most.
A formidable veteran Green Lantern, Kilowog’s body is shown towards the end of Cyborg’s Knightmare vision. Kilowog has a large hole burned through his chest, strongly implying that a brainwashed Superman killed him with his heat vision. Since Superman is essentially killed in the Knightmare, becoming an extension of Darkseid’s will, Kilowog is indirectly killed by Darkseid through Superman. In DC Comics, Kilowog is a close friend and frequent partner of the famous human Green Lantern Hal Jordan. It’s unknown if Hal became the Green Lantern in Zack Snyder’s plans for the Knightmare future, but he likely will at some point in the main DCEU.
The first time that viewers see the Knightmare scenario is in a vision that Bruce Wayne sees in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Batman helps create the Insurgency, bringing together various superheroes and supervillains who survived Darkseid’s attack and mind control. In the Dawn of Justice vision, Batman is captured and brutally executed by a brainwashed Superman, finalizing Darkseid’s conquest of Earth. In the planned (but unreleased) sequels to Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Batman is directly killed by Darkseid. Bruce saves Lois Lane’s life and prevents the Knightmare from becoming a reality, and kills Darkseid as he dies from the warlord’s Omega Beams. Although he saves Earth and countless other worlds from Darkseid’s conquests, Batman is one of the few heroes who Darkseid defeats in both the main DCEU and the Knightmare.