If you were to compare and contrast 2017’s Justice League with 2021’s Zack Snyder’s Justice League, you will find many, many differences. From new scenes and new characters, to different dialogue, and of course, a vastly different running time.
Amongst the changes between the two films, you will also notice that Superman is visibly different. In Justice League, Superman wears his traditional red and blue costume, but in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Superman wears a black costume.
There is no specific explanation for the change in outfits, so why the different threads? Why does Superman wear a black costume in Zack Snyder’s Justice League?
The reason why Superman wears a black costume?
There are two reasons for Superman’s costume change in Zack Snyder’s Justice League – one is related to the Superman comics, while the other is a more practical reason.
The first reason that Superman wears a black costume is because in the original comics, the Man of Steel adopted a black suit as part of The Death of Superman. The storyline – which ran from 1992 until 1993 – saw Superman die in battle while fighting the monstrous, Doomsday.
During the majority of this iconic storyline, Superman was kept out of the comics until his eventual resurrection, towards the end of the story. As part of his resurrection, Superman was given a black costume – or as it was known, a solar suit.
You see, Superman’s abilities are powered by sunlight. The sun is the reason Superman is invulnerable, the reason why he can perform incredible feats of strength, and the reason he can fly.
When Superman is resurrected, he is still in a weakened state. He needs the power of the sun to help his body recharge; and while his body is capable of repairing itself, a solar suit can help speed up the process.
In the comics, Superman wears the solar suit until his body has fully healed. Once he is up to full strength, he switches back to a more traditional red and blue outfit.
Because the black solar suit was used quite prominently in the comics, it has appeared in other adaptations of The Death of Superman storyline, including the animated movies Superman: Doomsday (2007), as well as Reign of the Supermen (2019). As Zack Snyder’s Justice League deals with Superman’s resurrection, following his death in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), it made sense for him to wear the black suit in this movie too.
Seeing Superman don the solar suit is something which fans have come to expect. Snyder could have left it out, but as he wanted to tie his movie into the wider Superman mythology, he felt that it needed to be included.
Plus, as mentioned above, the suit has a practical reason to exist. Although it wasn’t made explicitly clear, the black suit in Zack Snyder’s Justice League is also a solar suit.
There is a very brief scene in the movie, just before Superman re-joins the League, in which he travels outside of Earth’s atmosphere, to soak up as much sunlight as possible. In this scene, Superman is wearing the black suit, and it is helping him to recharge.
So, the reason Superman wears a black costume in the movie, is because it is a nod to the original Death of Superman storyline AND because it is a solar suit, which helps his body get back up to full power.
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