Explainers

Willem Dafoe returns in Zack Snyder’s Justice League

Willem Dafoe returns in Zack Snyder's Justice League
Jason Mamoa as Aquaman in Justice League. Pic credit: Warner Bros

Willem Dafoe was in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which hit HBO Max this weekend, another additional character that was not in the 2017 theatrical version.

As with many other additional characters, this was another that helped clarify the plotline, whereas the original movie seemed like it was just moving one step to the next, with no rhyme or reason.

Here is how Willem Dafoe played into Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

Spoilers follow for Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

Who is Willem Dafoe in Justice League?

Willem Dafoe made his DCEU debut in Aquaman in 2018, but he was supposed to debut the year before in Justice League.

Dafoe is Nuidis Vulko, the vizier of Atlantis. He was a close confidant of Aquaman’s mother Atlanna, and as shown in Aquaman, he was who taught Aquaman how to fight and trained him as a child.

In the 2017 version of Justice League, Vulko did not appear at all and Willem Dafoe was left on the cutting room floor. However, Zack Snyder brought back his scenes in the 2021 cut.

In the original Justice League, Aquaman decided to swim to Atlantis, which made little sense for his character in that movie. It was then that he came across Steppenwolf attacking and trying to steal the Mother Box that Atlantis protected.

He saw Mera here and she told him to go stop Steppenwolf.

It was just a moment that randomly happened in the 2017 Justice League.

How did Willem Dafoe’s Vulko change Justice League?

There was no reason in the world for Aquaman to go to Atlantis just as Steppenwolf was attacking, except for coincidence.

In Zack Snyder’s Justice League, it was explained.

Aquaman was going about his business when he saw Vulko and Mera by the waterside. He went to talk to them, and while he didn’t seem to know Mera, he knew Vulko, although their relationship would not be revealed until the Aquaman movie the next year.

In this scene, Vulko and Mera explained to Aquaman that the Mother Box was in danger and King Orm, Aquaman’s brother, refused to do anything extra to protect it.

The two warned Aquaman, who said he didn’t care, but then his conscious got the better of him and he set out to see what was happening, just in time to save Mera from Steppenwolf.

In the 2017 Justice League, it was all coincidence, but in the 2021 version, Willem Dafoe’s Vulko was the reason Aquaman showed up to help.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is currently streaming on HBO Max.

Shawn S. Lealos


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