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10 Most Shocking Reveals In The Entire DCEU

10 Most Shocking Reveals In The Entire DCEU

Summary

  • The shocking twists and reveals in the DCEU films have left audiences aghast, making even the weaker movies worth revisiting.
  • From Superman killing General Zod to Dark Flash being the alternate version of Barry Allen, the franchise has provided large handfuls of adequately shocking moments.
  • The most shocking reveal in the DCEU was Henry Cavill returning as Superman in Black Adam, only to be recast later on, leaving fans surprised and disappointed.


The DC Extended Universe consists of 15 films ahead of James Gunn’s impending reboot, with each one containing several shocking reveals that left audience members aghast. While Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will be the 16th and final movie in the franchise, the preceding 15 have been often revisited by audiences. As a means of either being refreshed on the franchise’s story for upcoming DC movies or simply rewatching favorites from the past, the DCEU’s divisive catalog has proven to stand the test of time in its own way.

The rankings of DCEU movies often highlight which of the films resonated more with audiences, though even those at the lower end of the spectrum included their fair share of redeemable qualities. From standout action sequences and brilliant individual moments of character or acting to big twists and reveals, even the worst of the DCEU’s films are worth revisiting before James Gunn’s DCU movie and TV slate truly begins. Concerning the DCEU’s big reveals, there has been a large handful since the franchise began in 2013 that have adequately shocked fans in a way other superhero movies have failed to.

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10 Superman Kills General Zod

Man Of Steel – 2013

While Superman killing General Zod in 2013’s Man of Steel was somewhat foreshadowed throughout the film, the main source of the moment’s shock factor came from the fact that it was Superman committing the act. This proved to be one of the more divisive moments in Zack Snyder’s first DCEU film as many hold Superman to the ideals of peace, hope, harmony, and redemption. As such, Henry Cavill’s Clark Kent opting to snap Zod’s neck – no matter the circumstances or hard choice the latter presented – left audiences adequately shocked in a way only a Snyder superhero movie can.

9 Ted Kord Is Still Alive

Blue Beetle – 2023

The poster for Blue Beetle featuring Jaime Reyes next to DC Comics art of Ted Kord as Blue Beetle

The DCEU’s most recent movie, 2023’s Blue Beetle, focused on the third iteration of the titular superhero from DC Comics: Jaime Reyes. Before Jaime, two others took the mantle of Blue Beetle. The first of these was Dan Garrett, while the second was Ted Kord. In the DCEU’s Blue Beetle, Ted Kord’s iteration was confirmed for the franchise though was positioned as deceased throughout the film as he has been missing for years. As a result, it came as quite a shock when Blue Beetle‘s post-credit scene revealed that Ted Kord was mysteriously alive, setting up the story for Blue Beetle 2 should it ever happen.

8 Dark Flash Is The Other Barry Allen

The Flash – 2023

Dark Flash in The Flash Movie

Another 2023 entry on this list is The Flash, with the shocking reveal in question being that Dark Flash was the alternate version of Barry Allen. Throughout the film, the titular hero allies with a different version of himself from the past, teaming up to stop General Zod from destroying the world in an alternate version of the DCEU’s timeline. Initially, Barry was sent to this timeline after being pushed out of the Speed Force by an unknown assailant: Dark Flash.

In The Flash‘s third act, it is revealed that Dark Flash is the alternate version of Barry. In an endless attempt to save the lives of those he loves and defeat Zod, alternate Barry devolved into Dark Flash. Being corrupted by his own desire to save those he cannot and the myriad of attempts to travel through the Speed Force, 2013-Barry’s mind and body were altered to make him the primary villain of the film.

7 Peacemaker Kills Rick Flag

The Suicide Squad – 2021

Peacemaker vs Rick Flag in The Suicide Squad

2021’s The Suicide Squad adequately revamped the story of 2016’s Suicide Squad, also doing the same for the latter’s misused characters. One of these was Rick Flag, who became a much more well-rounded character as a result. Undoubtedly one of the film’s more shocking moments due to Flag’s improved depiction was Peacemaker killing the Colonel. After a different shocking reveal in The Suicide Squad, Rick Flag fought against Peacemaker before the latter gained the upper hand, stabbing the former with a ceramic shard. The redemption of Flag throughout the movie made this a suitably big twist for The Suicide Squad that continued to be developed in 2022’s Peacemaker.

6 Ares’ Identity & Diana’s True Nature Are Revealed

Wonder Woman – 2017

Throughout 2017’s Wonder Woman, Diana is shown battling against the evil forces of World War I as a means of opposing Ares, the God of War. At the end of the film, a big reveal is that Ares is not General Ludendorff as Diana believed, but instead is David Thewlis’ Patrick Morgan. This surprise is elevated by the reveal that Ares simply influenced humanity who chose war themselves due to their corrupt nature.

Another big plot point of Wonder Woman is that Diana is carrying the God-Killer throughout the film, her sword that she believes has the power to stop Ares. Shortly after the reveal that Patrick Morgan is Ares, the God of War reveals that the sword is not the God-Killer, but Diana herself is. This compounds the third-act twists in Wonder Woman, making for several different astonishing moments that were only briefly foreshadowed throughout the film’s first two acts.

5 Billy Batson’s Mother Abandoned Him

Shazam! – 2019

Billy and Marilyn Batson in Shazam!

The main emotional arc of Billy Batson in 2019’s Shazam! is his reluctance to stay in any one foster home for too long. Eventually, Billy runs away from every home he is placed in as he still desires to find his birth mother, Marilyn, whom he was separated from at a carnival when he was younger. Before the film’s final act begins, Billy finds his birth mother, only to be heartbroken when he finds out she willingly abandoned him. Feeling the strain of being a young, single mother, Marilyn simply abandoned him as she deemed the care of the foster system would better provide for Billy.

This scene comes as such a shock due to the set-up of finding Marilyn that is constantly shown through Billy’s eyes. From his perspective, the scenes with his mother were always shown through rose-tinted glasses. Billy wished to find the woman who tragically lost him when he was younger; the loving mother he so often remembers. As such, finding out Billy’s mother was not the kind, caring woman he thought she was makes the reveal even more shocking in one of Shazam!‘s best albeit most heartbreaking moments.

4 The Real Reason For The Corto Maltese Mission Is Revealed

The Suicide Squad – 2021

starro Cropped

As alluded to, Peacemaker killing Rick Flag stems from another twist in The Suicide Squad‘s story. The twist in question is the true nature of Task Force X’s mission to Corto Maltese, originally believed to be the opposition of an anti-American insurgent government. At the beginning of the film’s final act, it is revealed that the real nature of The Suicide Squad‘s mission was presented only to Peacemaker, that being to cover up the U.S. government’s involvement in Project Starfish.

Project Starfish refers to Starro the Conqueror, an alien life form that emits smaller versions of itself to kill hosts and take over their bodies. Starro was found in space and brought to Earth by the U.S. government which began funding experiments on the alien using the citizens of Corto Maltese as test subjects. The Squad was sent to infiltrate Corto Maltese under false pretenses so that Peacemaker could cover up America’s involvement in these experiments. Rick Flag opposed this, leading to Peacemaker’s murder of the Colonel in two of The Suicide Squad‘s most shocking moments.

3 The Butterflies’ “Cow” Is Revealed

Peacemaker – 2022

Peacemaker Cow Kill Goff Butterfly

2022’s Peacemaker was an HBO Max original series that acted as a pseudo-sequel to The Suicide Squad. The show centered on the titular character atoning for the murder of Rick Flag by stopping the invasion of the Butterflies, an alien, butterfly-like parasitic race that takes over human bodies from the inside. In order to stop the Butterflies, Peacemaker and his team aim to kill what is known only as the Cow, an unseen creature that creates the amber fluid needed by the Butterflies to survive on Earth.

While many expected the Cow to be some kind of alien creature, the most shocking reveal of Peacemaker was the sheer grotesque nature of the monster. A giant, worm-like alien with multiple eyes, the Cow was a weird blend of disgusting and cute in a way that makes one uncomfortable to look at. This reveal was made even more shocking by the outlandish nature of the Cow, which was undoubtedly the most CGI and fantasy-heavy element in all of Peacemaker‘s eight episodes.

2 General Swanwick Is Martian Manhunter

Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)

Perhaps one of the most shocking elements of Zack Snyder’s Justice League is that the film was ever released at all. However, the film itself contains enough differences from 2017’s Justice League that several moments of astonishment can be picked out. One of these involves the reveal that General Swanwick, a seemingly normal U.S. Army general from Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is actually the DCEU’s Martian Manhunter. While little else is divulged about this reveal as Snyder was originally planning it to be explored in future installments, the scene itself makes for one of Zack Snyder’s Justice League‘s most unforeseen revelations.

1 Henry Cavill’s Superman Returned (& Then Was Recast)

Black Adam – 2022

Henry Cavill's Superman appears at the end of Black Adam

While Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam itself was largely devoid of any major twists and turns, the film’s post-credit scene possesses undoubtedly the most shocking reveal in the entire DCEU. The post-credit scene showed Black Adam confronted by Superman himself, played by Henry Cavill. While this may not come as much of a surprise given the importance of Superman to the DCEU, the shock comes from the fact that it was Cavill himself playing the character.

As of Black Adam‘s 2022 release, Cavill had not appeared in an actual DCEU role since 2017’s Justice League, discounting Zack Snyder’s Justice League in 2021. The reason for this came from Cavill’s direct ties to the so-called “Snyderverse” which Warner Bros. wished to pivot away from. This led to Cavill being ostracized from the franchise, only appearing in faceless cameos in Shazam!, Peacemaker, and The Flash over a five-year period. As such, Cavill’s physical appearance in Black Adam was an amazingly shocking reveal, as was the subsequent announcement by the actor that he was officially back as Superman with several plans in place for the character going forward.

Staggeringly, this situation became even more shocking a month later when Henry Cavill was recast as Superman. Unbeknownst to Cavill, Dwayne Johnson, and anyone else at Warner Bros., the higher-ups of the studio hired James Gunn and Peter Safran to oversee an entire reboot of the DCEU. This meant that every single character would be recast, including Cavill. The handling of the situation was overwhelmingly poor on Warner Bros.’s part, allowing Cavill, and fans excited at his return, to believe he had a future as Superman. However, this was not meant to be, making the Superman saga of Black Adam in the DCEU hold the franchise’s most shocking revelations.

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