While everyone is sharing their opinions on Superman’s new cinematic costume, the image James Gunn released also featured another big clue to the upcoming DCU film. Interestingly, it’s not exactly hidden in the background. In the image, as Clark Kent puts on his boots ready to fly to battle, we see outside his window a giant orb, sending presumably destructive beams down below to the city of Metropolis. So just what could this orb be? Brainiac? A different alien invader? Thanks to the folks at Comic Book, we actually think we have an idea.

The Giant Orb in the Sky Looks Like Solaris, the Tyrant Sun

Solaris in its first apperance in the 1998 crossover event DC One Million.
DC Comics

The giant orb has the appearance of a giant eye, staring down its death-beam at the city beneath. This brings to mind Solaris, the Tyrant Sun. This is a fairly deep-cut villain, which first appeared in 1998’s DC One Million crossover event. It was created by writer Grant Morrison, who at the time was right in the middle of their iconic JLA run. Solaris appeared again, in a more minor capacity, in Morrison’s All-Star Superman. Many regard that series as one of the best—if not the best—Superman stories of all time. James Gunn has gone on record saying Morrison’s Superman run is one of his all-time favorites. So we think it makes sense he’d pull one of the Scottish scribe’s creations for Superman.

The Comic Book Origins of Solaris

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Solaris is a stellar supercomputer that originally came from the 853rd century. This artificial star was created to warm the outer planets of the solar system like Pluto, which were terraformed and inhabited during this time. In this distant future era, the Justice League has evolved into the Justice Legion Alpha, a team of the modern-day Justice League’s descendents. Eventually becoming malevolent and seeking to destroy organic life on Earth, this artificial sentient sun went back in time to the modern era. It encoded itself into a techno-virus sent back to infect all known computer systems. The Justice League and the Justice Legion had to join forces to defeat it, but to do so, they had to create Solaris in the present to defeat its future self. So in a sense, Solaris’ time travel was a predestination paradox ensuring its own future existence.

Solaris’ Vast Powers and Abilities

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As a sun, Solaris had the power of radiation, and could fire powerful thermal blasts. Imagine the Death Star, only if it were alive and with a mind of its own. Solaris also could control all computers and known machinery. Long after Lex Luthor and Brainiac were dust, it continued to plague Superman’s descendants for centuries. It became the biggest threat to Kal-El’s ongoing legacy. Despite this, it only appeared a few times, mostly in stories from writer Grant Morrison. During the New 52 era, a version of Solaris plagued Superman and Wonder Woman.

Did James Gunn Just Confirm Solaris as the Villain of Superman?

Warner Bros./DC Comics

Could a giant glowing orb above Metropolis that looks like an eye be something other than Solaris? Absolutely. It could be a weapon of the villain Brainiac. Or even a sinister creation of Lex Luthor. In All-Star Superman, it joined forces with Luthor to turn Earth’s yellow sun into a red one. Maybe he creates Solaris himself in the new film? Given James Gunn’s status as an unabashed Grant Morrison fan, we have a feeling that the globe in the sky is the dreaded tyrant-sun. Certainly, it is a villain that gives Superman a physical challenge, beyond fighting another Kryptonian like General Zod (again), or Doomsday. We’re into Gunn giving us a very under-used villain from the deep well of DC canon for the Superman movie.