Pitchgiving Part 7, Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes

In Metropolis, a few years into the future, the Clock King has a hostage, with a gun to her head. “Your family take pride in being faster than a speeding bullet. I assure you, with my technology, you’re not faster than this one. Put on the belt.” She puts on a high-tech looking belt, and he turns it on, freezing her in place (this is super obvious because her cape stops in mid-billow). “I discovered a Kryptonian loophole. We haven’t found an effective counter to your prodigious strength, but what I could do is slow you down. You’ll live decades in seconds. I’ll be dead before you could think of a response. I do owe you a tiny apology. This was never about you. You’re the proof of concept. When it works on you, I’m going to collect the billion dollar bounty Luthor put on your cousin’s head.” He turns away from her, talking to his henchmen. “Dip her in the metals. Lead first, so her cousin can’t find her- then the bronze.” She’s lifted with equipment and dipped in a vat of molten lead, then another of molten bronze. It leaves her an impressive-looking statue. That statue is donated a year later at a memorial to Supergirl in Metropolis, missing and presumed dead. If there’s room in the budget Superman gives her a goodbye speech, about fighting on in her name. We do time-lapse, of the city growing and changing around her statue, a ticker showing that time is speeding up, first a year a second, then ten, then tens, until we arrive in the 31st century, at night. The statue is pulled off its pedestal by a futuristic truck with some kind of sci fi chains.

Cut to a close-up of the statue’s eye. A chisel is placed in the center of it, and a hammer comes down on it, cracking the thin layer of metal, and we see Supergirl’s eye behind it. I’d say we time-lapse again, as Brainiac 5 slowly chisels her out of the lead, and finally disables the Clock King’s belt. “Fascinating technology for the 21st century. A Tempus Fugit design, if I’m not mistaken, correct?” he asks her.

“When am I?” she asks breathlessly.

“This is the 31st century. A Saturday morning, around 10:34, Metropolis time.” He tells her he deduced that she didn’t disappear in the early 21st century, but was somehow subdued. Records from the time period immediately following her disappearance are sparse because of unrest, so he can’t tell her if Clark is okay. She insists she has to get back to save her cousin. He tells her it’s possible, but even in the 31st century time travel isn’t an everyday tech, that he can help her, in time. But first, he’s assembling a team to fend off an assassination attempt of Presidential candidate R.J. Brande (now a woman, and secretly Ms. Martian- very secretly, this is a reveal for the end of the trilogy). Brainiac 5 sees a growing conspiracy to reshape the future by an unknown entity. To that end he’s assembling a team that will be half classic Legionaires and (eventually) half legacy characters (some based roughly on Batman Beyond, the rest on the DC One Million arc). R.J.’s bodyguard is basically future Batman in an Iron Man armor that slides out of his clothes in plates (save this reveal for the very end of this movie). But their first order of business is stopping an assassination attempt.

She asks how he knows what history is the right one- why he’s so sure that Brande isn’t supposed to die. He shows her his memory board- think sci-fi equivalent to a conspiracy theorist’s home covered in string linking hundreds of photos. He can’t explain it, other than to say that there are inconsistencies occurring. One or two events that are statistically unlikely still occur with surprising frequency. But the path they’ve taken, a series of microtargeted breakthroughs, thefts, disappearances… it begins to strain credulity that this sequence of events could be anything but manipulated. She says she’s on board, and is ready to meet his team. He winces… because he hasn’t met them yet. He introduces her to their profiles, and as he describes each of them in turn, we see them in action.

Cosmic Boy is first. It’s footage of Magnoball games, with Cosmic Boy looking impressive. Supergirl is skeptical of recruiting an athlete. Brainiac says that the attack is scheduled to take place at a Magnoball exhibition. The exhibition is doubling as a get out the vote event, which is why both RJ Brande and her opponent, Leland McCauley, are there. Cosmic Boy’s team uniform  resembles his classic costume.

Next is Saturn Girl. “The Science Police use callsigns to keep their operatives’s identities secret. She’ll be the youngest interrogator through the academy when she graduates in the fall.” We get some CCTV footage of her on police raids, and some hacked footage from an interrogation room. She’ll be undercover as a cheerleader (now a gender-neutral, largely desexualized affair), and wear a variation on her original, 1958 costume.  

Last is Lightning Lad (& Lass, because he has a twin sister so I’m taking the freebie). They fled to Earth to get away from their villainous older brother, who had resorted to terrorism on their homeworld. Because they’re minors and fled without official documentation, they’re forced into the underground labor market. As a result, they do electrical work at the stadium together (I’d probably focus more on Lad than Lass- might even save her for a reveal during the fight when she turns the tables on their brother).

Brainiac explains that he hasn’t recruited any of them, but he’s profiled them extensively, and subtly manipulated events so they would be in place as a check on the plot he’s been tracking against Brande. We cut to game day. Supergirl, hiding under a ball cap and a varsity jacket, is seated a couple rows behind Brande. Brande does a little twirl for the cameras and audience. She’s given a microphone and uses it to say that today isn’t about her or her campaign, or even her distinguished competition- it’s about the voters, here in the stadium, but also everywhere, across the planets.    

After that, McCauley wasn’t going to be given a bite at the apple, but he seizes the microphone as it’s being carried away. He starts to take advantage of the situation. We hear enough to get the sense he’s an opportunist, maybe even an idealogue, and cut away to show movement from characters we care about. His speech continues in the background, faded down to where it can be suitably ignored. We show our various characters in position, Cosmic Boy out on the court, Saturn Girl with the cheerleaders, subtle interrogating them for information. Lightning Lad in the bowels of the stadium checking things; he’s probably talking to his sister, who we won’t know is his sister until later, about how these kinds of big, magno-events stress the old power grid, so they always want to check the main line. Cut back to McCauley ending his speech. The crowd erupts, not because they’re backing him, but because he finally shut up, a distinction that is lost on him.

The game starts. We see just enough of the game to think it’s cool, without it overstaying its welcome, then something happens. Cosmic Boy is hit, hard, with the ball. It’s supposed to have safety measures on it, but this broke a rib, would have killed a lesser player. He knows something’s up, and starts eyeing Magno specifically, the star player on the opposing team. We cut to Saturn Girl catching telepathic whispers, people mentioning words like ‘anarchist,’ and the stadium goes black and white and darkens, lighting who she’s hearing and bouncing around a crowd in a tightening circle until she lights up Saturn Queen, and stands up- which is noticeable because the rest of the cheer squad does not. She quickly sits back down. Finally, we’re in the bowels of the stadium again, Lightning Lad at the main line. It’s a colorful conduit crackling with energy- crackling a little to much, point of fact. The line shatters, and the power goes dark. Lightning lad gets the emergency lights in the basement on, but the rest of the stadium is dark. He tries to manually (by hand- using his powers) restart the main line, when out pops Lightning Lord, knocking him down.

Our villains are essentially evil versions of our three Legionnaires- but in this case Brainiac 5 reverse-engineered their team and built a group to combat them. Saturn Queen is Saturn Girl’s counterpart- an older woman, politically active in anarchist circles with an eye to freeing Saturn. She’s backing McCauley on the promise he’ll help her goals. Magno is another Magnoball player, younger, but essentially Cosmic Boy’s rival. He’s helping the event on the promise of Cosmic Boy being injured in the fracas and removed from their rivalry (he’s also being manipulated telepathically by Saturn Queen). Lightning Lord is actually the older brother of Lad and Lass. He supports McCauley based on implied support for ending the stigma against single births on his homeworld- but through violence and bloodshed.

While Lord and Lad tussle, Lass decides to repower the main line- Lord’s working way too hard to keep it dead for it not to be important. The lights come back up in the stadium. We start in on Saturn Girl’s perspective. She searches for Saturn Queen, but she’s gone. Then we’re back on the court, and see Magno float several balls at once, enough that when he fires them he takes out Cosmic Boy’s entire team; only he manages to catch his, though he’s showing signs of his earlier injury. “This isn’t like you,” Cosmic Boy yells, trying to talk him down. Magno yells back that it is like him- tired of always coming in second to him. He can’t tell him how long he’s wanted to wipe that vacant smile off his pretty face. He starts flinging magnoballs at him left and right. Cosmic Boy avoids them. For now.

Lightning Lad and Lord blast through a staircase, all sparks and lightning, and skid to a stop  on the court, still fighting. Cosmic Boy is still trying to talk Magno down (as Magno uses balls to keep his own teammates at bay) when a stray bolt of lightning downs Cosmic Boy. Seizing the opportunity, Magno turns towards RJ Brande and fires off one of the magnoballs. It’s caught, midair, by Supergirl, who crushes it in her hand and drops it, where it’s caught by excited fans below. A new blue streak happens tears through the roof of the stadium, this one the Bizarro Supergirl, holding an oversized trophy that reads, “Bizarro Am #1,” which she clocks Supergirl with.

We cut away, to Brainiac, in his lair, watching all of this unfold on CCTV cameras. He slams his fist into the console. “Damnit. He’s still corrupting the timeline.” He flips a glass case off of a button. “I was really hoping not to have to use this before I got a chance to test it.” He presses the button, which clearly incorporates pieces of the Time Belt that froze Supergirl. The images all freeze. “Well, they’re on their own.” He closes his eyes. “Just have to trust they can get the job done.”

We’re back in the stadium. Bizarrogirl smacks Supergirl with the trophy again, mangling it beyond all recognition; bizarrely, Bizarrogirl looks at it admiringly, both at it and her reflection, and says, “Perfect now.“ Supergirl goes flying into the stands, with the crowd barely able to get out of the way in time.

Supergirl says, “I need to get this fight away from the civilians, and flies Bizarrogirl to the ceiling where she punches her. She flies through the ceiling, and through a shimmering bubble, which, as Bizarrogirl touches it, slows her down. Supergirl stares a moment; if we want to drive home the idea, she takes a quarter out of her belt and flips it at the bubble, where it stops in mid-air. We cut back to the court, where Lightning Lord and Magno have sort of teamed up against Lightning Lad and Cosmic Boy, and have them on the ropes. We cut back to Saturn Girl, working her way through the crowd. She’s about halfway to RJ. Which we zoom in on.

“I have to thank you, RJ, for bringing me such a nicely-honed weapon,” Saturn Queen says, stroking the face of Brande’s nonresponsive bodyguard. He’s dressed in a futuristic looking suit, has dark hair, vaguely reminiscent of Bruce Wayne or Terry McGinnis. “And I like the poetry of turning your own weapon on you. Kill her.” The bodyguard doesn’t respond.

“He’s not killing anyone today,” Saturn Girl says, and punches Saturn Queen. Queen’s impressed that a Titan as young as her could block her telepathy, even momentarily. But it’s only delaying the inevitable. She leads her gaze to the court. Especially after switching partners Lightning Lad and Cosmic Boy are doing poorly- on the brink of losing, even. They’re preoccupied with stopping the lightning to the degree they have no attention for the hail of magnoballs flying towards them. Supergirl lands in front of them, and the balls clank against her, falling harmlessly to the court. Lightning Lass flies through the hole in the stairs her brothers did earlier, and lands on their side.

Close in, as Saturn Queen smiles. Girl’s eyes go wide, as Queen gives her a telekinetic shove, one that carries her towards the court; at the last second she gives Queen a tug, dragging her along, as well. They land together in the midst of the big central court fight. Lots of punching, Cosmic Boy has a natural predilection for leadership, since what they’re doing isn’t dissimilar from magnoball except in the particulars. The good guy’s win, but as one last little screw you, Magno fires off one last ball at Brande. Saturn Girl tries to grab it, but Lightning Lord zaps her. Supergirl tries to fly after it, but Saturn Queen grabs her telekinetically, slowing her just enough she misses it. We cut beside Brande, who flinches at the coming shot, only for it to be sliced in half in mid-air, falling harmlessly to the ground. We see that Brande’s bodyguard is wearing an Iron Man esque suit of Batman armor. The symbol itself is red, because it’s building more off of Batman Beyond than modern Batman.  The crowd reacts in cheers as we cut away.

Saturn Girl sets up an interrogation. At first she’s trying to figure out why they can’t leave- the time bubble. Supergirl interrupts to tell her she might know who did that- and he’s a friend. She thinks. Saturn Girl pivots, offering leniency to the three (or one of the three), if they talk. This is probably a good time to get out the various character motivations/injustices each is interested in. Magno, in particular, suddenly feels like himself, and Saturn Girl is able to trace the footprints of a psychic in his brain, flipping switches. He’s overcome with grief at the people he hurt. She tells him he was manipulated- but also cautions that the rage she used to control him was real- that he needs to have a long, hard look at how much he stresses winning. He agrees, and is about to confess what he does know, and says the name “McCauley,” when McCauley, with a team of lawyers, bursts in. “Summon the devil, and he will appear,” Supergirl says. He assigns one lawyer to each of them, and they insist they won’t allow interrogations to continue until they have a chance to confer with their clients.

Brande arrives. McCauley swears he had nothing to do with it, and plays the Godfather card- he’s a connected, powerful man, and sometimes people do things for him without his asking. If there’s a Ra’s al Ghul actor chosen, he reprises here, because (spoiler), McCauley is actually Ra’s. And yeah, unlike the comics, I think he should be Ra’s the entire time, not just Ra’s in a rubber nose later.

Brainiac 5 meets them outside the bubble, with an army of police he called. One of them, familiar with him, threatens that if this is another of his false alarms they’re going to process him this time for filing a false report. Brainiac hits a button on his belt, and the bubble collapses. He leads police inside, to the room where the interrogations were taking place. They go directly to Saturn Girl, because she’s Science Police, and say that Brainiac says these three made an attempt on RJ Brande’s life. She corroborates, and they take them into custody.

Cut to Brainiac’s lair, with all of our Legionnaires present- save one. Saturn Girl objects to him monitoring them. Lightning Lad says that’s a bit of the pot calling the kettle black. Cosmic Boy doesn’t agree with his methods, but he did help them foil an assassination attempt. Lightning Lass isn’t preoccupied with that, but points out his conspiracy theory, and him deducing a time-displaced manipulator, is either the work of a genius or a madman. “Or both,” Saturn Girl adds. Brainiac says the threat has only started. He hoped by bringing in Supergirl (he specifically stepped over thirty-seven easier and more straightforward plans), he could throw off the time manipulator’s machinations- but that he was able to adjust in real-time means that he isn’t just operating on static knowledge of one possible future, that he can manipulate, and manipulate, and manipulate. He shows them a belt he’s constructed, with a stylized L on it, and he tells them the world- the timeline, even- needed defenders, a Legion of Superheroes. One of them protests that they aren’t a legion, to which he pulls up a screen, with dozens of potential new recruits. He also says the belts should keep them safe, individually, from the Time Trapper’s manipulations- and also let them fly. “Speaking of flying and Supergirl,” one of them says, and we cut to the skies. It’s gray, raining, with thunderstorms.

Supergirl flies among the clouds, using her superhearing, tracks down super sobbing. Bizarrogirl is sad, because ‘Hoodman’ said that he’d help her get back home if she helped beat the Legion of Stupid Heroes. She thumps her chest and says she should be in the Legion of Stupid Heroes, because, “No one am stupider than me!” Supergirl talks sweetly to her, about being lost in the wrong time. But she tells her she has some really smart friends who said they’d help her get home; that they’re really nice, so they’d probably help her, too. She asks even after she hit them, which Supergirl points out she only hit her. Bizarrogirl says she was going to, though. Supergirl says yes, even if she planned to hit them. They might want to know about Hoodman, though, she tells her. Bizarrogirl is okay with that; she doesn’t like Hoodman. He pretended he wasn’t the one who kidnapped her, but she knew. “Bizarrogirl am smart.” Now… I’m not sure the best way to play this character. On the one hand, Bizarros can pretty easily be read as handicapped; it might make sense to lean into that, consult with disability rights activists and make sure that she is handicapped, and an empathetic portrayal. Probably beyond the scope of this story, but I’d probably have it clarified at some point that Bizarros aren’t technically disabled, but that on their world everything is backwards and/or mangled- but that maxim isn’t exactly right, either; Bizarro Supergirl is a hero, but what counts as heroic on her world is often things like starting forest fires and making hurricanes more destructive. So she wants to be good- it’s mostly just a matter of teaching her what that means on this world.

The pair of them arrive at Brainiac’s headquarters, Supergirl standing in front so they don’t attack her on site. “Everyone, I’d like you all to meet Arak. I know what happened today might look bad, but she’s just scared, and wants to find a way home. I was hoping you could help her, like Brainiac offered to help me.” Everyone is various degrees of skeptical. Cosmic Boy steps forward, and introduces himself to her. He explains that they’re up against someone who can fling incredibly strong opponents at them from different times, even different worlds. If she wants to help them keep people safe- he’ll do everything in his power to help her- to help them– make it back home. Saturn Girl agrees. As do the pair of Lightning twins. Brainiac realizes they’re all waiting for him to weigh in. Of course he’s in. He might have been in just so he could study interdimensional travel, and her unique, bizarre culture.

She stares at him, before saying something like, “Me not like green man.”

Which Supergirl puts her finger up. “I think that means she does like you, at least as we understand it. We’ll know I’m wrong if she punches you out of the stratosphere.”

He shrugs. “That’s why God invented force fields.”

“Did you invent a forcefield?” Supergirl asks. “Because if you’re referring to yourself as ‘God,’ especially given the entity whose lineage you claim you’re the fifth generation of- we might have to have words.”

“I didn’t invent the concept,” he back-pedals. “Though I did independently create a personal forcefield. I did make revisions, based on a Booster Gold design, to make it more robust…”

“Forget I asked,” she says.

There’s a somewhat tense moment, before a beaming Bizarrogirl scoops them all up in a giant bear-hug and says, “Me not like all of you.” We cut to black and the credits start to roll, but continue audio for a few more seconds, as various of them complain, and we hear cracking backs, and Brainiac asks if anyone can reach the forcefield button on his belt. One of the girls tells Lightning Lad he better have a candy bar in his pocket. Cosmic Boy says the same thing. He says, he may have one or two candy bars in his pocket. And we’re done, fade in the music.

Mid-credits scene: Text states that we’re “Beyond Time” as we see a castle floating in space, in a similar shimmering bubble to the one Brainiac 5 wrapped the stadium in, but with a menacing hue, like red or green. The Time Trapper, his identity concealed by his purple hooded robes, slams his fist down on a screen in his console, cracking it while it still holds an image of a smiling Brainiac 5.  From behind him, a woman, Glorith, calls to tell him he was right, the Legion have erected a barrier in the 31st century- neither his tech nor her magic can take them any further than the Legion’s founding. She’s worried he plans to shoot the messenger, and she can’t quite see it (because he’s facing camera and away from her, but a grin spreads across his lips (we can only see a bit of his mouth, then her over his shoulder).

For those who don’t know, the Time Trapper is more a hood that’s been worn by a bunch of different villains over the ages rather than a specific character. As such, come the third film, we’ll have ourselves a reveal. My idea, of the moment, is that the Time Trapper should be an older-still Ra’s al Ghul. He survives far enough into the future for time travel to be prevalent, and then takes rampant advantage. However, as a precaution, he basically destroys the tech, so only he has it- which also prevents him going any further into the future than when he first got the tech. So there are limits to his knowledge, and limits to what he can bring back from the future. But even from within this story there’s another potential candidate: the Clock King. And of course, there’s potential villains not already seen in this movie, like Vandal Savage (he’s eternal, so why not?). The other prominent idea is taken from the comics: that he’s Cosmic Boy, making sure things happen in a certain way so that the Legion is created; if we leaned in that direction, I’d probably go with Time Trapper being killed to reinvigorate Darkseid (who was beaten sometime in the 21st century, but survived)- who the Legion are needed to kill once and for all time.

Rough outline for the trilogy: Mordru and Glorith are the main bads for the sequel, constantly trying to screw one another over as the Legion’s ranks grow with the backing of the recently elected RJ. Glorith uses her magic to send Bizarrogirl on a confused rampage to discredit the Legion. McCaulley remains in the background, manipulating events, but he’s a background player for this one, because we’re saving him for the third movie, when he manipulates his way first into the vice presidency, then gets RJ impeached, largely over the Bizarrogirl scandal, and replaces him. It’s also when the Time Trapper’s plans come to full fruition, so the Legion, having lost official sanction, are up against their deadliest fight yet, eventually winning and sending Supergirl back; her prompt arrival convinces Clock King his plan was a failure, and he abandons it. Bizarrogirl, having found a new home with the Legion (I’d probably even give her a romance with one of the leads), decides to stay.

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