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  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice:
    • The advertising campaign for this film heavily played up the fact that Jason Momoa and Gal Gadot would be making their debuts as Aquaman and Wonder Woman, respectively, and widely distributed publicity photos of them in costume. While viewers expected to see them, they probably didn't expect to see Ezra Miller in costume as The Flash, with actual dialogue and screen time. And though he's only seen in a still photograph, most people probably didn't expect to get a look at Chris Pine as Wonder Woman's old friend Steve Trevor. In Batman's nightmare vision, a squadron of Parademons attack Batman's forces, and Darkseid's Omega symbol can be seen burned into the ground; Mother Boxes also make a few appearances throughout the movie.
    • In the nightmare, Parademons are shown, and Darkseid's presence is strongly hinted at with the giant Omega symbol.
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    • Some might have called it from rumors but most people didn't expect KGBeast to show up since he's a lesser Batman villain. Many thought that Mulvey would play John Corben/Metallo, a Superman villain better-known (and more relevant) than the former because of his Kryptonite heart.
    • Doomsday's existence wasn't hinted atnote  until the December 2015 trailer.
    • Nobody expected an obscure character from the 1970's and 80's Superman comics like Jenet Flyburn to make an appearance.
  • Suicide Squad (2016): The team's inclusion in the DCEU was unexpected for a studio that usually fields A-listers like Batman and Superman. With the exceptions of the Joker, Harley Quinn and Deadshot, most of the cast consists of relatively obscure DC villains.
    • The Enchantress is one of the less well-known members of the Squad, despite a number of brief stints with the team.
    • A lot of people had pinned Karen Fukuhara as Plastique, rather than Katana.
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    • This will also be the first time in a live action film a fan-favorite like Joker is merely a secondary antagonist.
    • Joker's Number Two, Johnny Frost, had previously only appeared in Brian Azzarello's Joker one-shot comic.
    • Killer Croc is a fairly well-known Batman villain, but he has never been associated with Task Force X before. Notably, King Shark was originally going to be in the film and IS associated with the team, but was replaced by Croc because he would have had to be full CGI.
    • Slipknot makes his adaptational debut here, having previously been a comics-only character with only a few dozen appearances across 30+ years. When announced, he had a lot people scratching their heads wondering who he was. What wasn't unexpected however, was that he was used as the Sacrificial Lamb to show the nano bombs are real, given his obscurity to the public.
    • The Flash appears early in the movie to apprehend Boomerang and his only appearance so far in the DCEU was a trippy dream sequence in "Dawn of Justice".
    • There is an demonic entity also named Incubus in DC Comics that also was an obscure Suicide Squad enemy. How obscure are we talking about? His number of appearances in total can be counted in one hand and even the most hardcore comic book fans would be forgiven for thinking he was created solely for the movie.
  • Justice League (2017):
    • Commissioner Gordon is a vital element of the Batman comics, but is non-existent in Justice League comics because of the larger scale. Here he is an ally of the League, and there to see its formation.
    • Steppenwolf being the Big Bad in Darkseid's place came across as surprising to a lot of people. Ultimately, it would appear that Zack Snyder didn't want to blow DC's most infamous villain in the first Justice League movie (as has become the standard since Batman Begins), which is why another New Gods villain was used in his place - but even then, Steppenwolf is hardly the most popular antagonist from that series, and was always a minor villain compared to Desaad, Granny Goodness, the Female Furies, Kalibak and Virman Vunderbar.
    • The test footage showing Deathstroke walking onto the set came out of left field, particularly due to the movie's plot revolving around an alien invasion. Likewise, another Titans mainstay in the movie is Cyborg. While the other heroes are expected to be in a Justice League film, Cyborg is more closely identified with the Teen Titans than the League, and having him in over, say, Green Lantern or Martian Manhunter (the latter was cut from the film), is a bit surprising, though as per Older Than They Think Cyborg HAS been established as a Justice League founder in the modern comics (in the New 52 to be precise). Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter have different reasons for why they were left out of the Justice League's first gathering on film and Cyborg's synergy with Mother Boxes makes him a rather logical choice. Green Lanterns are confirmed to exist in the DCEU, however.
    • The Greek gods, among which Zeus, Ares and Artemis are clearly seen (and credited) and help repel Steppenwolf's first invasion together with an alien Green Lantern.
  • In Aquaman (2018), The octopus playing drums is a nod to Topo, Aquaman's faithful octopus friend, as a homage to the goofier parts of the Silver Age. And not even his more modern form of a giant Kraken-like beast — he's just a normal size octopus playing the drums.
  • SHAZAM! (2019):
    • As a whole, few were seriously expecting a Shazam movie in the DCEU, as he tends to be sidelined in the grand scale in general with his similarities to Superman.
    • Although it was foreshadowed, the appearance of Mr. Mind in the stinger was likely confusing to a general audience unfamiliar with the Captain Marvel/Shazam mythos.
    • For those who weren't Spoiled by the Merchandise or at least before they heard about it, people were surprised to see Billy's foster siblings' Shazam forms because they assumed they would make their debut in the sequel, as most origin stories tend to focus on the main hero before introducing more heroes to tag along with them.
  • When Birds of Prey (2020) was first announced, few imagined it would feature Cassandra Cain as one of the main characters, while Barbara Gordon is entirely absent. It seemed notable because Cass has a storied history of always being shafted by the higher-ups at DC, passing her over for the much more popular Barbara Gordon. Then the movie released, and it turned out the character was Cassandra Cain In Name Only and only existed as a Living MacGuffin to tie the story of all the other characters together.
  • It's safe to say nobody expected Peacemaker of The Suicide Squad, an obscure Charlton Comics/DC character to get his own series, let alone become the very first to get its own series.
    • Speaking of that movie, everyone was taken aback when it was revealed that Starro appeared in the Red Band Trailer!
  • Wonder Woman 1984: Diana tells Steve that her golden armor originally belonged to an Amazon named Asteria who fought back an entire army and then disappeared. During the end credits, we see Asteria's alive and well. She's also played by none other than Lynda Carter (though in her case a Remake Cameo was expected since she wasn't able to appear in the first film).
  • Zack Snyder's Justice League:
    • Granny Goodness appears, despite the fact that she was never discussed by Zack Snyder when it came to how he wanted the film to go.
    • Similarly, Jared Leto reprised his role as the Joker which many found surprising, since he was never in Snyder's version and Leto's previous portrayal of the character in Suicide Squad wasn't very well-received.
    • He's dead on arrival, but Kilowog managed to get a cameo in Cyborg's vision of the future before Hal, John or any other Earth-based Green Lantern was cast.
  • The Flash:

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