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Ordered by his nephew the superior Darkseid to invade Earth thousands of years before the Battle of Metropolis, Steppenwolf and his vast army of Parademons attempted to conquer the planet but were forced into retreat by the combined arms of the Humans, Amazons and Atlanteans, losing 3 Mother Boxes with him. Subsequently exiled from his people, the New Gods, Steppenwolf returned to Earth 30,000 years later in search for the lost Mother Boxes after the death of Superman at the hands of Doomsday. Steppenwolf waged war against Earth's first line of defense, the Justice League, but was defeated during their final battle by a recently resurrected Superman. Attacked by his own army of Parademons, Steppenwolf's fate was left unknown.
As millennia passed, Steppenwolf would proceed to carry out Darkseid's bidding by invading and taking over other worlds. In the process, he would encounter and battle members of the Green Lantern Corps resistance, and ultimately would prevail every time. On his first Earth stint, he easily took out and killed an alien Green Lantern who came to the aid of the Amazons.
During the first Invasion of Earth over 30,000 years ago, his master Darkseid ordered Steppenwolf to conquer Earth, and he faced the united alliance of human, Amazon and Atlantean armies, along with at least one Green Lantern, as well as Zeus, Ares, and Artemis of the Old Gods. Steppenwolf began to combine the Mother Boxes into the Unity, in order to terraform the planet into an extension of Apokolips and convert humans into Parademons. Ultimately, however, while Steppenwolf successfully slays the Green Lantern, his invasion fails - his battleships are brought down by Artemis, and Ares wounds him in combat, while Zeus blasts apart the Unity, kills several Apokoliptian Priests, and defeats Steppenwolf, forcing the New God into retreat without enough time to collect the Mother Boxes. Darkseid viewed this defeat humiliating as Steppenwolf had clearly underestimated the Earth's defense to the point of ill-equipping his army and exiled Steppenwolf until the latter could reclaim the lost Mother Boxes and conquer Earth, thereby restoring his honor.
Steppenwolf was hesitant to re-invade quickly, however, knowing that the Old Gods would only repel him again, so he bided his time, waiting until Earth was free of sufficiently powerful defenders. After the Old Gods' deaths, he still waited, due to Earth now being protected by the godlike alien Superman, who could also potentially repel him. It is believed that Steppenwolf learned of Superman's death when contacted by Lex Luthor from Scout Ship 0344, and thus was finally ready to invade again, which Lex gleefully proclaimed to Batman.
Communion of Earth
After Lex Luthor accessed Scout Ship 0344's database, he made contact with Steppenwolf on Apokolips, the New God teaching Lex of three important Mother Boxes on Earth. However, Lex was interrupted, breaking contact. On Darkseid's orders, Steppenwolf then began his journey to Earth to search for the Mother Boxes, bringing with him a vast army of Parademons.
Return to Earth
In the present, the world is in mourning following the death of Superman, and sensing humanity's fear, Steppenwolf and his Parademons return to Earth to resume their hunt for the Mother Boxes through kidnapping several employees of S.T.A.R. Labs, which are in possession of one of the boxes.
Having investigated the kidnappings and encountering a Parademon himself, Batman decides to move forward in recruiting his planned team of metahumans as he believes an invasion is coming.
Hunting the Mother Boxes
Steppenwolf returns to Earth to hunt for the Mother Boxes, arriving first in Themyscira to collect a Mother Box within a Amazonian temple. He attempts to grab the Mother Box, but is quickly intercepted by the Amazons led by Hippolyta who uses a lasso to swipe the Mother Box and escape the temple.
When Hippolyta escapes the temple the Amazons close the temple and try to trap Steppenwolf and the Parademons, but he escapes and chases down the Amazonian Queen, but before he can grab the Mother Box, she hands it to an Amazon Warrior. However, as they try to escape, Steppenwolf catches up with them and finally retrieves the Mother Box, and before he teleports away, hells the Queen that she and everyone will love him when the Unity is complete.
Steppenwolf then goes to Atlantis where he attacks Mera and Atlantan Soldiers. Mera tries to stop him by using a water tornado to hold him but Steppenwolf is able to escape, where he is challenged by Arthur Curry. Steppenwolf throws his Axe at Arthur, but he dodges it and attacks Steppenwolf by kneeing him, but the New God get's the upper hand by blocking one of Arthur punches and throws him into a wall. Steppenwolf charges at Arthur and hits him through the wall which the Mother Box floats down and Steppenwolf grabs it and flees with his prize.
The Justice League receives intel from Commissioner James Gordon that the Parademons are traveling underground, which the team goes to find. The team find Steppenwolf interrogating S.T.A.R. Labs employees about the final Mother Box.
Flash and Cyborg save all the hostages and Silas tells his son that Steppenwolf cannot get the final Mother Box. Whilst Wonder Woman is distracted by Steppenwolf, she's knocked out by a Parademon who takes her by surprise. Batman's Nightcrawler is attacked by Steppenwolf, while Barry helps Wonder Woman get her sword so she can help Batman.
Flash and Wonder Woman get attacked by Steppenwolf and the Parademons before Batman helps her by killing one of the Parademons. Cyborg then falls into the Nightcrawler and hacks it so it in his control, which he uses it against Steppenwolf but fails when Steppenwolf catches a missile and throws it against the wall, which causes the factory to flood which allows Steppenwolf to escape.
Cyborg retrieves the last Mother Box from S.T.A.R. Labs for the group to analyze. Batman decides to use the Mother Box to resurrect Superman not only to help them fight Steppenwolf's army, but also to restore hope in humanity. Wonder Woman and Aquaman are hesitant about the idea, but Batman forms a secret contingency plan.
Clark Kent's body is exhumed and placed in the waters of the Kryptonian ship, and Allen provides a strong energy blast to activate the Box and resurrect Superman. Superman, however, possessing few memories, attacks the group after Cyborg accidentally launches a projectile at him. On the verge of being killed by Superman, Batman enacts his contingency plan: Lois Lane. Superman calms down and leaves with Lois to his family home where he reflects and tries to recover his memories.
With the last Mother Box unguarded, Steppenwolf retrieves it with ease.
The Final Battle
Without Superman to aid them, the remaining five heroes travel to a remote location in Russia, where Steppenwolf plans to unite the boxes once again and reshape the world for his lord and master Darkseid. The team fights their way through the Parademons to reach Steppenwolf, although they are unable to stage a significant enough distraction for Cyborg to separate the boxes. Superman arrives and assists Flash in evacuating the city, and ultimately aids Cyborg in separating the Mother Boxes.
Following the separation, an enraged Steppenwolf enters the Apokolipian construct where he is confronted by Superman, who easily overpowers the New God. The Kryptonian uses his ice breath to freeze Steppenwolf’s ax, which Wonder Woman shatters with her own sword.
Bleeding and thus knowing he has been defeated, Steppenwolf is overwhelmed with fear, thus seeing as his parademons begin to attack him. Turning on him, he fights them as he and Parademons alike, are whisked away via boomtube, leaving nothing left him but only his helmet.
- "Please! We have families!"
"Why does everyone keep telling me that?"
- ―Howard and Steppenwolf[src]
Steppenwolf had become old and tired after millennia of invading, taking over, and terraforming other worlds with the Unity, while also creating more Parademons from the native inhabitants. He seeks to be free of Apokolips' ruler, Darkseid, and to regain his place of respect among the New Gods, but Steppenwolf is neither foolish nor powerful enough to disobey or challenge Darkseid. In fact, Steppenwolf seems to admire his master, as he loudly proclaims that he will conquer Earth in the name of Darkseid and the Unity. Thus, Steppenwolf continued to serve Darkseid as the latter's right hand and continued to conquers to invade other worlds for him, eventually carrying out the Invasion of Earth. He appears to also have a disdain for Kryptonians and Green Lanterns, due to having battled them in the past.
Steppenwolf is an extremely ruthless, destructive, cold, and sinister being, showing neither fear nor mercy towards his enemies and prisoners, most notable in the fact that he utilizes the Unity to transform planets' native inhabitants into loyal and soulless Parademons. Much like General Zod, Steppenwolf has trained his entire life to become a great warrior and defeat his enemies. Hence, Steppenwolf relishes battle, and never holds back his divine might. Indeed, when none of the kidnapped scientists are willing to reveal the Mother Boxes' location, Steppenwolf intends to murder them, only being stopped by the timely intervention of Flash and Cyborg. Steppenwolf is not only merciless, but also sadistic, being unimpressed with the S.T.A.R. Labs scientists' pleas to return to their families, sadistically mocking Wonder Woman with the deaths of her fellow Amazons and the Old Gods, and gleefully predicting that the Mother Box-empowered Cyborg is destined to become "a creature of chaos."
Much like Lex Luthor, Steppenwolf hates the mere idea of losing, so despite having his ships destroyed by Artemis, being wounded by Ares, and defeated by Zeus, he remains determined to fight on, which forces his own Parademon army to drag Steppenwolf away from certain death. Steppenwolf is bitter at his first defeat, so he jumps at the chance to invade Earth again, as soon as the Mother Boxes alert him of the deaths of Zeus, Ares, Artemis, and Superman, since now the planet lacks defenders powerful enough to repel him. However, with Superman's timely resurrection, Steppenwolf has defeated again, and when Wonder Woman breaks his battle ax, Steppenwolf feels fear for the first time in millennia - the fear of failure, and of never having the chance to regain his place among the New Gods. Sensing this, Steppenwolf's Parademon army is again forced to drag their leader away from certain death.
The only things Steppenwolf seems to care about is returning to Apokolips after exile, and regaining his standing among the New Gods. Additionally, he seems to adore the Unity, affectionately referring to it as "Mother," and he is delighted to see that Cyborg has been "born of her," proclaiming that Cyborg is destined to become "a creature of chaos," like the soulless Parademons. However, Steppenwolf also has a grudging respect for individuals of exceptional bravery, like Silas Stone (who talks back to his threats) and Wonder Woman (who fearlessly battles him).
Powers and abilities
- New God Physiology: As a New God, Steppenwolf is a phenomenally powerful divine being, to the point that he has conquered many planets with his Parademon army, and it took the combined might of Amazon, Atlantean, and human armies, Yalan Gur, as well as three Old Gods to drive Steppenwolf and his forces off of Earth during the first Invasion of Earth. The only known beings to at least rival his might are Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Artemis and also the combined might of several Green Lanterns, while Darkseid, Zeus, Ares and Superman are known to surpass him.
- Immortality: As a New God, Steppenwolf is still alive in the 21st century, despite being over 30 millennia old.
- Superhuman Strength: Steppenwolf has a tremendous level of superhuman strength, which is further amplified by his electro ax, surpassing that of Cyborg and Aquaman, rivaled only by that of Wonder Woman and Artemis while only surpassed by the likes of Zeus, Ares, Darkseid, and Superman. Hence, Steppenwolf was able to overpower the Amazon and Atlantean forces during the first Invasion of Earth, defeated and slayed numerous more Amazons on Themyscira, swiftly tore off Cyborg's biomechatronic limbs, easily killed Yalan Gur, overpowered Mera's hydrokenesis attack, swiftly overpowered Aquaman (collapsing a large Atlantean structure in the process), defeated Wonder Woman in every one of their prolonged duels, gained the upper hand against the combined might of Wonder Woman and Aquaman.
- Superhuman Speed: Steppenwolf can move at considerable superhuman speeds, going toe-to-toe with Wonder Woman and Aquaman's speed during their final fight, even outmaneuvering them on several occasions, despite his muscular physique and heavy armor. While underwater, Steppenwolf's combat speed is barely affected, as he swiftly overcomes Aquaman, despite the latter catching him off-guard. However, his speed is still no match for that of Superman or Flash.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: Steppenwolf is incredibly durable, which, combined with his armor which makes him almost invulnerable. Hence, Steppenwolf was only irritated by Mera's hydrokinesis attacks, was only slightly affected by direct blasts from Cyborg's arm cannon (though it caused him momentary burning pain), withstood mighty blows from Wonder Woman and Aquaman, by Aquaman stabbing him in the chest with his trident, and later by Wonder Woman slashing his leg with her Sword of Athena, Steppenwolf wasn't much affected by those wounds. Indeed, Steppenwolf was only ever visibly hurt by a blast of Zeus' divine lightning, Ares' hacking blow, and by Superman's tremendous blows, a single one of which made him bleed.
- Aquatic Respiration: Steppenwolf, much like an Atlantean, is able to breathe underwater, thus successfully invading Atlantis and regaining another Mother Box.
- Expert Leader: Steppenwolf, due to him being Darkseid's herald and second-in-command on Apokolips, as well as having millennia of experience invading and taking over other worlds, is an extremely skilled leader, able to successfully command a vast Parademon army in both of his attempted first invasion of Earth, with Steppenwolf's forces only being defeated when Earth amassed Amazon, Atlantean and human armies, Yalan Gur and three Old Gods into a united force powerful enough to send him into retreat.
- Master Tactician: Steppenwolf, despite usually winning through sheer divine power and the massive size of his Parademon forces, is a very skilled tactician as well. Hence, he bides his time, and only attacks Earth again after the Mother Boxes alert him of the deaths of all of the Old Gods and Superman, since only then does the planet lack defenders powerful enough to repel him. Steppenwolf also almost kills the Justice League with sheer tactics - he catches a Knightcrawler missile and redirects it towards the harbor wall (while boom-tubing himself), with only Aquaman's timely arrival saving the League from drowning. However, Steppenwolf's overconfidence makes him unable to account for the resurrection of Superman, which leads to his second defeat on Earth.
- Master Combatant: Steppenwolf is an extremely skilled, fierce, and formidable combatant (particularly with his fearsome electro axe), with centuries of combat experience. As such, Steppenwolf was able to kill Yalan Gur with relative ease, to swiftly overpower numerous Amazons, Cyborg, Mera, and Aquaman, to defeat Wonder Woman in each one of their one-on-one duels, and even stalemate the God of War Ares, though Steppenwolf notably got wounded in the process. Indeed, the only known ones to ever defeat Steppenwolf in a one-on-one fight are Zeus and Superman.
- Expert Swimmer: Despite his large size, Steppenwolf is an extremely skilled swimmer, on par with an Atlantean, as he was notably able to overcome Mera's underwater whirlpool, and overpower her. While underwater, Steppenwolf's combat speed is barely affected, as he swiftly overcomes Aquaman, despite the latter catching him off-guard.
- Electro axe (formerly): Steppenwolf's primary offensive weapon, which the New God uses to blast and obliterate much of the area surrounding him at a given time. It also notably amplified the strength of Steppenwolf to the point where he could go toe-to-toe with Wonder Woman. The ax's red-hued energy is also capable of infecting humans, turning their skin a pale grey, while lengthening and sharpening their teeth, seemingly transforming them into the zombified Parademon soldiers of Apokolips. In addition, the ax is seemingly indestructible, as it can go up against Wonder Woman's weaponry. However, it was ultimately destroyed after being frozen by Superman's Arctic breath, which made it become brittle, thus allowing Wonder Woman to shatter it with her Sword of Athena.
- Mother Boxes (formerly): Steppenwolf's other main weapons, which, when fused together as the "Unity", terraform any planet into the likeness of his native planet Apokolips. Steppenwolf successfully does so to many planets, only failing on Earth, twice. While not in his possession after the first Invasion of Earth, the MotherBoxes lit up after Superman's death, alerting their former master of how Earth now lacks defenders strong enough to repel him (due to the Old Gods also having all perished, and no Green Lanthers being close to Earth), and how the planet has now been plunged into fear. The Unity is pried apart first by Zeus' lightning, and then by Superman and Cyborg.
- Steppenwolf and Lex Luthor are the only two main antagonists of the DCEU to survive their initial debut.
- Steppenwolf's character was constructed completely from CGI, with actor Ciarán Hinds wearing only a motion-capture suit for his performance.
- Hinds also didn't perform any of his scenes with any of the cast.
Behind the scenes
- In the original cut of Justice League, after collecting the Atlantean Mother Box, Steppenwolf "talks" to the Mother Box, which contained his mother, Heggra, whom he was attempting to release to defeat his nephew Darkseid.
- In the original Zack Snyder cut, Steppenwolf returns to Apokolips and is confronted by Darkseid, who kills him.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Ciaran Hinds Reveals Steppenwolf's Main Goal - Comic Book Movie
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Justice League & Wonder Woman get new plot synopsis - Cosmic Book News
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 ‘Justice League’ Villains and Mother Boxes Teased by Zack Snyder - Collider
- ↑ Goyer, David S., Terrio, Chris (writers) & Snyder, Zack (director) (March 25, 2016). Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Read Zack Snyder's Version and All Deleted Scenes of Justice League