There are 10 character deaths throughout the DCEU that ended up being permanent, despite there being easy explanations for their respective returns.
- The DCEU’s soft reboot means that many old characters, like Superman and Batman, will not return in the new DC Universe.
- Several characters in the old DCEU had deaths that could have been undone, such as Emil Hamilton and Faora-Ul, if the franchise had continued.
- Characters like Jimmy Olsen, Dick Grayson, and Green Lantern were also affected by the DCEU’s end, with their potential storylines and revivals cut short.
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The DC Extended Universe has a handful of character deaths that might not have been intended to last but ultimately did. After a decade of DC Comics film adaptations, the DCEU will be soft-rebooted into the DC Universe, ending all potential future installments for the old franchise. This, unfortunately, means that many of the old DCEU’s characters, like Henry Cavill’s Superman and Ben Affleck’s Batman, will not return in the DCU, nor could seemingly dead characters return in some form.
Throughout its DC film adaptations, the DCEU timeline included numerous instances of characters returning after death. In some cases, this was due to advanced alien technology (Superman) or an artifact containing the power of a Greek God (Steve Trevor). For others, like General Zod, Wonder Woman, or Aquaman, their deaths are undone by through timeline or multiversal alterations. For the following ten characters, their deaths might have similarly been undone, had the old DCEU franchise continued.
Related: Every DCEU Movie Ranked From Worst To Best
10 Emil Hamilton
Man of Steel introduced Emil Hamilton to the DCEU. Those familiar with both Superman comics and the DCAU’s Superman: The Animated Series will know Hamilton as an initial ally of Superman who eventually becomes a dangerous enemy. Hamilton is only shown as an ally to Superman in the DCEU, despite not trusting him at first, but any potential long-term character development is cut short at the end of the film. Colonel Hardy’s sacrifice to create a singularity destroyed his plane, but there was a chance that Hamilton survived and became trapped in the Phantom Zone. With the DCEU ending, it is safe to assume that Hamilton died in the crash.
Faora was a major villain in Man of Steel, serving as General Zod’s second in command and proving to be a more skilled fighter than Superman himself during their fight in Smallville. Along with the rest of Zod’s forces, Faora is pulled into the Phantom Zone by a singularity. As a superpowered Kryptonian and a trained warrior who was trapped in the Phantom Zone before, Faora likely survives entering it again and could have potentially returned from it to battle Superman once more. With all known means of accessing the Phantom Zone gone and Henry Cavill’s Superman franchise over, Faora is now likely trapped in the Phantom Zone forever, making her ending a permanent death sentence.
8 Jimmy Olsen
Early on in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Lois Lane is accompanied on an investigation in Nairomi by a CIA agent who claims to be Jimmy Olsen. The agent is brutally executed by the warlord Amajagh, but considering that Jimmy Olsen is one of the most iconic Superman supporting characters, there was a popular assumption among some viewers that the CIA agent was not the “real” Jimmy Olsen. Since Superman’s corner of the DCEU will be fully rebooted in the upcoming DCU, this now means that, unfortunately, the CIA agent in Dawn of Justice most likely was a reimagined – and now deceased – iteration of Jimmy Olsen.
7 Dick Grayson
Viewers and even other DCEU filmmakers assumed that the tattered remains of Robin’s costume that appears in the Batcave in Dawn of Justice belonged to Jason Todd. In most mainstream DC Comics continuities, Todd is infamous for having been murdered by The Joker, after which a heartbroken Batman keeps his costume on display to remember him. Zack Snyder clarified that the deceased Robin was Dick Grayson, the original and most well-known Robin. Snyder later revealed that not only would Dick Grayson remain dead (preventing him from becoming Nightwing), but the Robin title would be passed on to Carrie Kelley. These plans never came to fruition, however.
6 Green Lantern
Green Lanterns have a minor presence in the old DCEU, with an unnamed Green Lantern causing the Scarab in Blue Beetle to land on Earth and the ancient Green Lantern, Yalan Gur, battling Darkseid in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Darkseid kills Gur, causing his Green Lantern ring to fly off in search of a new wearer, but the DCEU will end without its Justice League including a Green Lantern. Snyder intended to introduce the Green Lantern John Stewart (played by Wayne T. Carr) in Justice League, but WB’s plans for the character led him to use Martian Manhunter in the film’s epilogue instead, preventing Gur from having a successor.
The Flash’s timeline reset was likely only meant to replace the DCEU’s Superman and Batman, initially. Cavill’s Superman would have been replaced with Sasha Calle’s Supergirl, despite the character’s repeated deaths in the Flashpoint universe. With only a few DCEU characters confirmed to be joining the DCU and room for more to cross over, it is unclear if Sasha Calle will continue to play Supergirl in the upcoming Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow. Until and unless she does, it should be assumed that Sasha Calle’s Supergirl was erased from existence along with the rest of the DCEU’s Flashpoint universe.
4 Michael Keaton’s Batman
Like Supergirl, Michael Keaton’s Batman was set to replace Ben Affleck’s iteration following the events of The Flash. Keaton was a supporting character in the canceled Batgirl film, and production photos further explore his new history in the post-The Flash DCEU. Keaton’s history in the Tim Burton Batman films would have been melded with Batman’s DCEU history. Since a new Batman will be introduced by the DCU, Keaton’s Batman from the Flashpoint universe now ends his story with his death in The Flash, though alternate versions of Keaton’s Batman live on in other branching timelines, such as the setting of the Batman ’89 comics.
In 2017’s Wonder Woman, Hippolyta explains to a young Diana that the Greek Pantheon, including Zeus, were all killed by Ares, the God of War. If DC’s comic continuities are any indication, Old Gods can always return from the dead, as Zeus himself did in the post-Flashpoint universe. Considering that Zeus is essential to the origins of key Wonder Woman supporting characters like Cassie Sandsmark (the second Wonder Girl), he could have easily been brought back. With Wonder Woman’s history potentially being rewritten in the upcoming Paradise Lost (even if Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman joins the DCU), the old DCEU’s Zeus should be considered gone for good.
Following Ares’s revelation that he has been stoking the fires of the First World War, he and Wonder Woman battle each other. Combining her Amazonian and Old God abilities, Wonder Woman kills her half-brother by sending his lightning back at him. Like Zeus, Ares is an essential character to the Wonder Woman mythos, especially if future installments introduced characters like the Wonder Girl sidekicks. Also like Zeus, Ares could have returned from the grave rather easily, but unless the events of 2017’s Wonder Woman carry over into the DCU and Ares is brought back, it is safe to assume that his original incarnation is dead.
1 Steve Trevor
Steve Trevor and Diana Prince’s romance was one of the many high points of the DC Extended Universe Wonder Woman films, but the former’s death was a shocking twist at the end of the first installment. Equally surprising was his second death in Wonder Woman 1984. Little is known about the canceled Wonder Woman 3 and a potential Wonder Woman 4, but considering the popularity of Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor, either film could have brought him back for good in a variety of ways. With Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman future unknown for the time being, the potential return of Pine’s Steve Trevor is also unclear, and even a DCU revival would likely avoid suggesting the DCEU iteration himself had been brought back.
Key Release Dates
- Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Release Date: 2023-12-20
- Joker: Folie a Deux Release Date: 2024-10-04
- Superman: Legacy Release Date: 2025-07-11
- The Batman – Part II Release Date: 2025-10-03