DC continues to look to its comics and wider materials for inspiration on which villains to pit against the Justice League as the new DC Cinematic Universe takes shape. Although there are numerous antagonists to pull from, some are a little too controversial and will likely be avoided in the DCU for now.
This could be because of a backlash from fans, a misrepresentation on the screen previously, or due to the questionable stories these characters were involved in. Regardless, figures like Parallax, The Batman Who Laughs, and Music Meister probably won’t be getting the call-up from the page to the cinema anytime soon.
10 Three Jokers
The Joker has become the notorious arch-nemesis to Batman and one of DC’s most maniacally intelligent characters. While he has served as a Justice League villain on countless occasions, it’s fair to say that one Clown Prince of Crime is enough for the DCU. Three’s a crowd.
The Batman: Three Jokers narrative introduced audiences to the idea that there had been multiple iterations of the Harlequin of Hate causing havoc in Bruce Wayne’s life. The idea was controversial and massively confused canon. The Criminal, The Clown, and The Comedian were said to be the three distinct personalities, but in truth, there is just too much to unpack for all three to be present in the DCU.
9 Doctor Light
Doctor Light has been adapted to the screen before, although in quite a different incarnation. The character served as a memorable Justice League villain for all the wrong reasons. Taking center stage in the narrative Identity Crisis, Doctor Light’s mind was erased after committing a sexual assault against Sue Dibny and getting accused of her murder.
Not only are the heinous actions of the villain far too controversial to begin bringing to a cinematic experience, but the actions of the League following his crimes also sit uncomfortably in DC canon. The story as a whole is likely best left on the page, with Light’s atrocities and the League’s human rights abuses quietly moved away from by DC.
Catman was one of Batman’s most notoriously laughable characters, at least in the old days. He’s faced the Justice League before as part of the Secret Six and has even called out Green Lantern on some of his morally ambiguous actions. The character is complex, but the original iteration is too controversial for adaptation.
Catman was laughable because of his garish costume, copycat antics of Catwoman, and pathetic personality. Newer continuities have crafted a much more well-rounded figure that would be fit for the big screen thanks to a deeper exploration of his motivations, sexuality, and code of conduct. However, the original incarnation has no place in the DCU.
7 The Batman Who Laughs
Readers have become bored of always seeing Batman and Joker as the focus of DC’s narratives. The Batman Who Laughs might have been briefly popular, but he was equally controversial as a threat to the Justice League and Multiverse as a whole. The DC Dark Multiverse could have focused on any villain; it instead used an amalgamation of very familiar characters.
Although he is well-rounded and terrifying, what The Batman Who Laughs represents for DC fans demonstrates the flaws in their publishing strategy. What’s more, his sudden evolution into the godly Darkest Knight caused further controversy, with the overpowered individual losing any of the traits that had made him intriguing. The DCU will avoid this villain and narrative for some time due to those concerns.
6 The Anti-Monitor
The Anti-Monitor’s use in any narrative is controversial due to the very nature of the character. Featuring inconsistent powers, at times Anti-Monitor is absolutely unstoppable and thus a little too difficult to take to the DCU without some serious plot holes. But his penchant for wiping out universes has fans questioning his creation.
The character is well known for Crisis on Infinite Earths,where he rebooted the DC timeline. Many readers feel that DC reboots itself far too many times, and with the Anti-Monitor becoming such an easy villain to place those plans in motion, he is often not welcome. The DCU is already going through a reboot with Flashpoint. It’s certainly not time for another controversial crisis.
5 Music Meister
The Music Meister was originally created for The Brave and the Bold, a Batman animated series that has contributed significantly to the wider DC Universe. But therein lies one of the controversies, with many feeling he should be established more firmly in the comics, besides some brief cameos, before ever making it to the big screen.
Indeed, perhaps there should be some further development of the character within the comics before he gets a DCU call-up. But what’s more, the character is also controversial because of his power set. Some of the Justice League’s toughest members, like Supergirl and Flash, have been flawed by his musical numbers. He’s thus not everyone’s cringy cup of tea.
4 Killer Frost
Killer Frost was a universally beloved villain who went through quite a metamorphosis in the comics. While she might have been a Flash foe and an Injustice League member, the villain’s motives have continued to shift. This is where controversy has set in.
DC has now made Killer Frost a hero, with many feeling that the narrative was rushed and purely designed to tie into the Arrowverse’s Flash TV show. If Killer Frost is to be adapted to the DCU, it will probably be as a hero to keep with that trend, meaning that controversially, her villainous form may never be seen in cinemas.
Parallax has always been a controversially overpowered force of nature that has been difficult to craft compelling narratives around. Traditionally a Green Lantern threat, it has also faced the Justice League, overwhelming them with its monstrous fear-based power set.
Parallax has been adapted to screen before, and it didn’t go down well. Green Lantern showed the character’s flaws, making the entity difficult to get right on screen. To avoid the mistakes of the past, both from the comic books and movie production, the DCU will probably avoid pitting the JLA against Parallax, therefore removing the need to examine how he can be defeated and how he can be adapted.
Ozymandias is a fantastic villain whose legacy was rightfully cemented in DC’s Watchmen. Far from a walking cliché, the character was well-rounded and emotionally complicated, looking to right the world in his own twisted way. But DC ruined this iconic figure by bringing him back.
DC’s Doomsday Clock brought together the Watchmen universe and the traditional reality of the Justice League. It was a flawed idea from the start and very controversial. Ozymandias could never live up to his previous portrayal, and the comic never really landed with readers. The DCU would never make the mistake of meshing these worlds together, and certainly shouldn’t paint Ozymandias as an antagonist for anyone other than the Watchmen.
1 Amalgam Comics
The Amalgam Universe is both a beloved and hated concept. The idea came from both DC and Marvel, with the companies bringing their most famous characters together in a range of combination titles. Heroes like Super-Soldier, Dark Claw, and Deadeye were born.
These were controversial in themselves, thanks to the strangeness of the concept, and the villains followed suit. Doctor Doomsday, Green Skull, Hyena, and Bizarnage are a few notable examples of combos that were included. Needless to say, ignoring the legal challenges that come with these figures, the DCU will not be bringing any of these bizarre characters to life.
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