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Justice League’s 2 end-credits scenes, explained

Spoiler alert.

Warner Bros.
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

There are two credits scenes tacked on to the end of Justice League. The mid-credits scene is a cute little wink to the audience and a play on a running joke, while the post-credits scene is actually pretty revealing when it comes to the future of the Warner Bros. superhero cinematic universe.

Over the past decade, credits scenes have become a regular feature of superhero movies — little treats for fans that tease out or call back to the plot of the film that just ended, or nod to future films.

Marvel is particularly famous for its use of credits scenes, to the point that the scenes are now a tradition throughout the superhero genre. They’ve become something that fans have grown to expect more often than not, no matter the studio.

Warner Bros. has historically been a little stingier with credits scenes, however — two of its biggest DC Comics releases of the past few years, Wonder Woman and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, didn’t have them. But the studio is switching things up with Justice League. Here’s what happens in the movie’s two credits scenes, and how one of them offers a significant hint as to what might be in store for future Warner Bros. superhero films.

1) Superman and the Flash have a race

Justice League’s first credits scene is a coy little bit that plays on one of the most important debates in all of DC Comics: Who’s faster, Superman or the Flash?

In the movie, we learn that the only character who can keep up with the Flash’s super speed is Superman. To illustrate this, Justice League depicts time stopping around the Flash whenever he’s on the move — everyone else is frozen as he races by. But as is revealed during Superman and the Flash’s big fight scene, Superman isn’t slowed by this effect. In short, he’s capable of moving at least as fast as the Flash.

So to settle the question of who’s actually faster once and for all, Justice League’s mid-credits scene sees the two agree to race from a dirt road (presumably somewhere near Superman’s house) to the West Coast.

Don’t get your hopes up for an actual resolution to the debate, though; the scene ends just as the race begins.

2) Lex Luthor returns

Justice League’s second credits scene is much more important to Warner Bros.’ superhero movie future. The scene opens in the prison where Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) is being held (after his capture in Batman v Superman), with the guards checking in on him — only to realize that he’s been replaced by some random bald guy. The scene then cuts to a luxurious yacht, where we see Luthor free and living his best life.

But that’s not all that happens.

A boat pulls up to the yacht, and Deathstroke is riding in it. The character, who’s not to be confused with Will Smith’s Deadshot from Suicide Squad, is slated to star in a solo movie at some point in the next few years — and in the Justice League credits scene, we see him remove his mask to reveal actor Joe Manganiello.

Luthor then propositions Deathstroke to join him so the two can create a “league of our own,” but before we hear Deathstroke’s answer, the scene cuts to black.

The overall purpose of this scene is to hint at what the future has in store for Warner Bros.’ villains. Manganiello was cast as Deathstroke in 2016 and is rumored to be making his official debut in the studio’s upcoming standalone Batman movie. In the meantime, Manganiello has offered only a few sly teases regarding Deathstroke’s involvement in the DC Extended Universe, so it’s cool to see the ruthless swordsman in the flesh.

But the bigger bombshell of the credits scene is Luthor’s jailbreak.

Lex Luthor going free means he’s now available to go up against Superman in a future movie — an exciting prospect, given that he’s Superman’s most well-known enemy. And his offer to team up with Deathstroke suggests that he’s already at work assembling his own league of villains that would ostensibly appear in the eventual Justice League sequel (which has been announced but is reportedly delayed). Exactly who those villains might be, beyond Luthor and Deathstroke, will probably be spelled out in Warner Bros.’ next few movies.