Zack Snyder’s Justice League will show General Swanwick as the Martian Manhunter in disguise, and Snyder confirmed Swanwick has been the alien hero’s alter-ego throughout his DC Extended Universe appearances. With the long-awaited Snyder Cut hitting HBO Max on March 18 in all its four-hour-long glory, Snyder is revealing previously guarded secrets about his DCEU films. Audiences just recently learned Snyder’s proposed Justice League 2 would have taken place entirely during the Knightmare future, a post-apocalypse in which a resistance led by Batman must fight against a tyrannical and grief-stricken Superman.
General Swanwick, portrayed by Harry Lennix, appears in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as the U.S. Secretary of Defense. Swanwick was intended to appear in Justice League as well, but it never came to fruition. The director’s cut is an epic realization of Snyder’s larger vision for the franchise. Many of the threads to be expanded upon in Justice League 2 would have been seeded in the first film, and the Snyder Cut remains faithful to this notion, even if audiences will never see the ends of those threads. In much the same fashion as Marvel Cinematic Universe epics, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is chock-full of interwoven plots and superhero eye candy; it boasts five more villains than the theatrical cut.
In an interview as part of IGN Fan Fest 2021, Snyder confirmed Martian Manhunter and General Swanwick are indeed one and the same – it’s not just new characters arriving in his cut. Audiences have known for a while General Swanwick is supposed to reveal himself as Martian Manhunter, but Lennix himself asked Snyder during his interview whether Martian Manhunter was only appearing as Swanwick temporarily in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, or if he had been disguising himself as Swanwick all along. Snyder confirmed the latter, definitively calling Swanwick Martian Manhunter’s “alter-ego.” Check out Snyder’s quote below:
Swanwick and Martian Manhunter, it’s like his alter-ego, that’s kind of the way I see it. And if you notice the way he’s manipulated both Lois and Clark to be the best they can be because, you know, in this incarnation he wants humanity to kind of do it themselves and/or this new hero in Superman. And I think that that’s kind of the way I see it, that he’s, you know, they have the same voice.
J’onn J’onzz, better known as Martian Manhunter, is a staple of the DC universe, and one of its most powerful heroes. Super strength, flight, shapeshifting, and telepathy are but a few of his alien abilities. He has appeared in cartoons, films, live-action series, video games, and more, saving the world from earthbound and intergalactic threats. For him to have secretly been influencing events throughout the DCEU as General Swanwick is an exciting implementation of a hero whose powers are such that he can rise to the highest level of government in disguise.
There is perhaps no one quite as excited about the reveal as Lennix himself, who called on audiences to start a campaign to get Martian Manhunter his own film. It’s unclear exactly where Warner Bros. wants to go with the DCEU from here. According to Snyder, they’ve expressed little interest in continuing his vision for the franchise, though a massive fan campaign brought Zack Snyder’s Justice League to the finish line. It’s entirely possible that enough demonstrated interest could help realize a Martian Manhunter solo film.