We’ll never get to see how Zack Snyder planned to finish out his arc of superhero movies. We’ll never even see his cut of Justice League (there is no such thing as the “Snyder Cut”; there is, at best, an assembly cut with unfinished effects), but Snyder did think ahead to what he would have wanted with a Justice League sequel if everything had gone to his original plan.
In an exchange on Vero [via CinemaBlend], a fan asked if the story arc would have ended with a dead Batman. Snyder responded, “Of course.” The death could have been reminiscent of the comics, particularly the Final Crisis event, described by CB as:
The image the fan is using on Vero is evocative of a moment that occurs in Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis event series, which deals with Darkseid’s plot to upend reality through the use of the Anti-Life equation. In the sixth issue of the multi-verse-shaking series, Darkseid apparently kills the Caped Crusader with his Omega Beams after which Superman recovers his body and then faces off with the ruler of Apokolips. By the end of that series we discover that Bruce Wayne is not dead and has in fact been sent back in time by the Omega Beams.
Of course, a movie could have ditched the time travel element and just had a dead Bruce Wayne. And honestly, even though I’m not surprised that Snyder wanted to kill Batman (after all, this is a director who killed off Jimmy Olsen for funsies), it actually wouldn’t be the worst conclusion for the character as he exists in Snyder’s universe. Keep in mind that this is a Batman who has already been fighting for years and is near the end of his rope. While the death of Superman was abrupt, forced, and unearned, I can see a scenario where the death of Batman actually works for the overall story. It’s an arc that see Bruce going from someone who believes that the only way to save the world is by killing someone else (i.e. Superman) to someone who accepts that saving the world means sacrificing himself, which is a better place to leave the character.
But that’s all moot now, although it remains a curious “What if?” At this point, it looks like Ben Affleck is done with Batman, Henry Cavill is apparently done with Superman, and there are no plans for a Justice League 2 on the horizon. Instead, Warner Bros. is hoping their individual superhero titles like Aquaman, Shazam!, and Wonder Woman 1984 can carry the DCEU forward.