Steppenwolf was a villain that hinted at the coming of Darkseid in the 2017 Justice League movies. However, in Zack Snyder’s Justice League in 2021, the director made Steppenwolf a lot more interesting.
On top of giving Steppenwolf an actual character arc, Snyder made the alien invader a lot more menacing.
Here is a look at the differences between Steppenwolf in the 2017 and 2021 Justice League movies.
Spoilers follow for Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
Changes in Steppenwolf’s character in Justice League
In the 2017 Justice League movie, Steppenwolf was almost like a boss-level villain on a videogame.
He was who the heroes were fighting toward, failing to beat midway through the movie and then finally conquering when Superman showed back up at the end to overpower the Justice League.
Steppenwolf’s only characteristic was that he wanted to help Darkseid conquer Earth.
Zack Snyder improved him drastically in the 2021 release.
Steppenwolf was a soldier for Darkseid that failed his master years ago. DeSaad, Darkseid’s right-hand man, even said that Steppenwolf might have betrayed Darkseid in the past.
As a result, Steppenwolf has been trying to atone for his failure since it happened. That was shown in the 2021 Justice League director’s cut through conversations he had with DeSaad.
It was also Steppenwolf who discovered that the Anti-Life Equation was on Earth, as Darkseid had no idea that Earth was where he met his defeat years earlier since he had tried to conquer countless worlds.
In the 2017 Justice League, it wasn’t Steppenwolf who found this. It was part of Bruce Wayne’s Knightmare scenes.
Steppenwolf then told Darkseid personally that Earth was where the Anti-Life Equation was at.
Since this allowed the person controlling it to put anyone on the planet under their control — including an all-powerful being like Superman — if Steppenwolf put the Mother Boxes together, he would finally find his redemption with Darkseid.
Steppenwolf’s powers change between 2017 and 2021 Justice League
The second change was Steppenwolf’s power levels.
He was very strong in the 2017 Justice League movie, and it wasn’t until Superman showed up that the team beat him.
However, he was even more powerful in the 2021 Justice League. Zack Snyder gave him an even better set of armor and he looked near unbeatable until the end when the Justice League finally prevailed.
While it had little to do with his powers, he was also responsible for the death of Cyborg’s father in Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
His end was different too.
The Mother Boxes opened a portal and Darkseid was there with DeSaad, ready to invade Earth. As in the 2017 Justice League, Cyborg and Superman ripped the Mother Boxes apart.
Then, Wonder Woman used her sword and chopped Steppenwolf’s head off and sent him through the portal to Darkseid, dead, as the portal closed.
It was a bad ending for Steppenwolf, who was fleshed out and made much more interesting in the 2021 Justice League compared to the 2017 version.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is currently streaming on HBO Max.