Ciaran Hinds (“Game of Thrones”) will play the villain Steppenwolf in next year’s big DC crossover film, “Justice League,” but Steppenwolf isn’t exactly the Joker or Lex Luthor when it comes to mainstream notoriety. He is, however, an important element in the fledgling DC Cinematic Universe. That’s because Steppenwolf is the uncle and right hand man of Darkseid, the ultimate villain that was first teased in “Batman v Superman.”
Both Steppenwolf and Darkseid come from Apokolips, a planet that is pretty much evil incarnate and which has attempted to invade Earth in the DC Comics. During DC’s New 52 era a few years ago, Steppenwolf and Darkseid led the assault on Earth in two parallel dimensions, forcing the Justice League to do battle with him.
Darkseid failed to conquer the prime version of Earth, but Steppenwolf’s invasion of the alternate Earth, known as Earth-2. In fact, he manages to kill the Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman of that Earth.
Steppenwolf is a jack-of-all-evil-trades that can use his tools to counter the strengths of the DC heroes. He has the strength and military resources to rival Superman’s might, the intellect and strategical brilliance to outwit Batman, and he is a master manipulator who plays on emotions, as seen when he had a child with the Earth-2 Wonder Woman only to — quite literally — stab her in the back.
It will take the entire Justice League’s combined efforts to stand up to him, and it still may take the inevitable return of Superman after his “BvS” death to finish the job.
Of course, “Justice League” will also have to give its Steppenwolf a reason to invade Earth, and it already has that set up. He’s going to be looking for the Mother Boxes, a group of ancient supercomputers created by the New Gods that give the user almost divine powers, like teleportation, infinite knowledge and the ability to create life at will. The Mother Boxes have been under the protection of the Amazonians — Wonder Woman’s folks — for millennia, and now it will be up to the Justice League to defend them.
As powerful as Steppenwolf is, he’s ultimately going to serve as a means to introduce fans to Darkseid and present him as the true big bad of this film series.
Like most villainous alliances, the one between Darkseid and Steppenwolf has been at times formidable, but at other times has imploded. We could see Darkseid enter the battle for Earth in an attempt to avenge Steppenwolf’s demise, or he may just get sick of his uncle’s uselessness and decide to do the job himself. With Apokolipian warlords, you can never be too sure.