EXT. SPACE – TIMELESS
An endless field of stars. Quiet. Peaceful. A comet STREAKS through frame and a voice speaks—deep, husky, rasping, and female.
BARDA: (V.O.) The first world ended in fire.
One by one, the stars explode like tiny fireworks. Each little dot of light just expands in a little circular burst and is gone. We actually see the star nearest to us go SUPERNOVA, the tiny firework now a vast WALL OF FLAME that wipes across the screen.
Darkness. Then, stars reform out of cosmic dust. One is born practically right next to us. It shines warmly.
BARDA: (V.O.) The second world ended in ice.
The stars in the background now expand, pebbles dropped in a pond, their color lingering dully. The one nearest to us goes last. It turns into a red giant, then bursts like a squeezed grape, its matter forming into a nebula that now FREEZES like the rest of the galaxy. A CRACK goes right through frame.
And in the center of the screen, a FLASH of LIGHT. The ice melts. New stars form from the cosmic puddle. The first light continues shining. RACK-FOCUS to it, as Barda intones…
BARDA: (V.O.) The third world ended in heroes.
And now we are at the light, a kingdom, a palace the size of a star system, every minaret and tower shining. But, as millennia pass in eye-blinks (as we’ve realized is happening), the first city is tarnished and dimmed, until we see the source of the corruption. The forces of darkness swarm in like locusts and time helpfully slows for us to take in the combat.
Every god, every goddess, every legend or myth or fairy tale IS AT WAR. We see only provocative glimpses—Apollo is snuffed out, Artemis is beheaded, Loki rides the Midgard Serpent (laughing), and Kali has her day. The dark gods—a thousand religions’ demons, a million nightmares—spread like an oil spill.
BARDA: (V.O.) The forces of evil sought the ultimate weapon, one that would not only win every fight, but remove the fighting spirit itself from the enemy. With this weapon, the universe would forever fall into darkness. Rather than spend an eternity as slaves, the old gods chose to die free. (beat) Fools.
At the top of a tower that dwarfs every other structures, the supreme deity of each pantheon joins hands. They are bloody and bruised and so very tired. The most familiar, an old bearded man whose PRESENCE instantly moves us, closes his eyes.
THE PRESENCE: Forgive us.
And they are gone. Everything is just gone. The stars—cold and silent—shine on. Some die, others bleed, more are born. And now we see them SNUFFED OUT. Something—black and mammoth—is passing before them, blotting them from view.
BARDA: (V.O.) The home of the old gods was torn asunder—split in great halves. (her voice turns mocking, BITTER) On one side of the universe, moving in serenity, dedicated to peace and WEAKNESS, sunlit New Genesis. And across the cosmos, deep in the shadows, lies Apokolips, home of order and control, lit only by the mammoth fire-pits in which strength is forged. A place of stark temples, where creatures of fury worship destruction. (beat) Between them, chaos reigned. This is the fourth world.
Our camera tracks the mysterious SHAPES to see them descending on a vast blue-green WORLD, passing in front of its amber SUN. They’re WARSHIPS, jagged black teeth sinking into this planet.
EXT. SAVANNAH – DAY
A quick impression of harmony and peace—sweeping grasslands, a city of majestic splendor that appears to co-exist with the natural order. Then an Apokoliptian warship, or FANG-SHIP, lands. It penetrates into this alien world’s crust, and now, from its porous black rock, a horde of locusts emerge. Locusts the size of gorillas.
PARADEMONS—Apokolips’ winged shock-troops. The flavor of the old gods’ demons, but genetically processed and grown into functional armor that cuts into their own flesh, regulating their growth. They join other SWARMS as we pan away, not seeing other cities beset by other armies, FIRES raging out of control. The End.
BARDA: (V.O.) On the word of our master, our general, our god, we seek out the scattered remnant of the weapon our forebears so nearly possessed. We spread the gospel of Great Darkseid. We do not rest, we do not tire, we do not tarry. We will take hold of the Equation and at long last bring order to this Fourth World. This… last… world.
A gas-guzzling TANK the side of a mansion ROARS into frame, spewing maliciously-black fumes from its many smokestacks, which protrude from the vehicle at all angles like spears that have sunk into a great bear but failed to kill it.
INT. TANK – DAY
LASHINA—ambitious, elitist—moves through the cramped corridors. The noise is overwhelming. She clothed in a distinct armor—hand-crafted, unlike the mass-produced wear of most of Apokolips’ forces. WHIPS coil around her arms and neck like snakes. Occasionally, they move.
She comes to a common room, not much more than a clearing in the labyrinth, where the FEMALE FURIES, her team, is stationed. Some play cards, others read scrolls bearing the seal of DARKSEID—his malevolent face. At the far side of the room, BIG BARDA sits alone.
Even sitting down, she towers. Six foot six, and not skinny either. As muscular as she is voluptuous, her body entirely hidden by thick armor and a voluminous red cape (a mark of rank), her features strong and dark beneath an impressive helmet. She’s the leader of this outfit and it’s written on every inch of her.
Except that right now, she’s looking at a picture of a little GIRL, as sweet and innocent as Barda is warlike. Something like homesickness in her eyes as she regards this simple picture, a kind of longing common to all soldiers, even fanatics.
She hears Lashina’s approach and rapidly hides the photo in her armor like it was pornography.
LASHINA: (saluting) First Fury.
BARDA: (nods in turn) Second. Report.
LASHINA: We have the location.
EXT. TANK – LATER
The great Tank has grinded to a stop, its belly open to let loose the FURIES. Barda takes point, Lashina shadowing her. Lashina’s whips trail behind her, flicking electricity into the grass, starting tiny fires, while Barda holds a MEGA-ROD. Something like a club, but thick and formidable-looking.
Ahead of them is the planet’s last stand. Scores of dead Parademons surround it—the Furies literally walk on top of them as they get closer. It’s something like the city we glimpsed earlier, but infinitely older, a ruin—the remains of a fortress, inconveniently enough.
INT. RUIN – DAY
Far from the fighting, we see what’s being protected. Women. Children. The wounded. A little girl PRAYS and one of the WALKING WOUNDED, his mind gone with shell shock, looks at her blankly.
WALKING WOUNDED: Who are you praying to? (beat) The gods are coming to kill us.
EXT. RUIN – DAY
The Furies’s stronger members break through the walls, scattering the snipers on the turrets. The others stream in and we see them in action.
Barda is the strongest. Alien bullets bounce off her. Each sweep of her Mega-Rod sends soldiers flying, shakes the ground, tears down walls.
Lashina’s whips strike like twin scorpion tails: cutting through lines of enemies, wrapping around necks and snapping them, extending and contracting as necessary to do their mistress’s bidding.
MAD HARRIET, a cackling madwoman, darts in and out of the enemy ranks, cutting them down with razor-sharp claws.
STOMPA, even bigger and meaner than Barda, cracks the ground open with a drop of her heel.
BERNADETH, tall and skeletal, strikes down distant enemies with throwing knives. When they hit, her targets burst into flame.
They rout the enemy more efficiently than mustard gas. Lashina finishes strangling the last man with considerable enthusiasm.
LASHINA: That was easy.
Barda is just giving her a “don’t jinx us” look when a massive FOOT knocks Lashina out of frame. Barda reacts instantly, throwing herself out of the way of—
THE RUINS THEMSELVES, which have formed into a three-story-tall GOLEM. The Golem brings a boulder-sized fist down on Barda, who BLOCKS with her Mega-Rod… actually holding the monster IN CHECK.
BARDA: (barking orders) Stompa, disorient!
Stompa makes a five on the Richter Scale with her Size 28 boot. The Golem loses its footing and Barda wrenches its arm to the side.
BARDA: Mad Harriet, Bernadeth, unseat it!
Mad Harriet giggles as she uses the Golem’s left leg as a scratching post. Bernadeth, as always, is serious as the grave in flinging heat-knives into the Golem’s right leg. The Golem stumbles and Barda lunges at it, SHOULDER-BLOCKING it right in the chest and knocking it down. She runs up its sternum and brings her Mega-Rod down in an overhead swing, turning its artistically-carved head into rubble.
All this has happened in the time it’s taken Lashina to get up. Barda fixes her with a look.
BARDA: Try and make yourself useful.
INT. RUIN – DAY
SCREAMS and GUNSHOTS from nearby as the Furies make their way down. The refugees cringe, huddling together in one sodden mass of fear. They fall deathly silent as Barda enters, her women trailing behind her. Mad Harriet jumps over to a mother standing in front of her children, FLASHING her claws.
BARDA: (not even looking) We’re not here for that.
Chided, Mad Harriet falls back into rank. Barda walks right through the refugees, who part like a curtain to let her make her way to the center of the ruin—an OBELISK that looks like it’s been standing there since the beginning of time. At its base, an OMEGA SYMBOL. Barda reaches for it.
ELDER: (O.S.) Don’t!
With a look of irritation in her eyes, Barda hesitates. Behind her (she doesn’t favor him with a glance), a bruised-but-wise COMMUNITY ELDER pleads with her.
ELDER: You don’t know what you’re doing! Inside there is no treasure! It’s imprisoned—a fragment of Anti-Life, a piece of the great equation. Bring it to your master and he’ll be one step closer to completing the puzzle… he’ll wipe free will from the universe!
BARDA: That’s the idea.
ELDER: You’ll be nothing but a cog in whatever design his twisted mind conceives!
BARDA: What else is new?
Impatiently, Lashina sends her whip over a rafter and back down to wrap around the Elder’s neck as a noose. She hoists him off his feet to slowly strangle as Barda pets the Omega symbol, almost lovingly—revealing it to be a handle that lifts right out of the stone. She pulls and something UNBEARABLE emerges from the obelisk. The refugees faint in droves while the Furies bask in the glow.
Barda leaves with it, passing the Elder as he turns blue. Casually, she cuts him down.
BARDA: (a passing order to Lashina) Bring him. He may know where the rest are hidden.
EXT. RUINS – DAY
The Furies leave, now in the shadow of a FANG-SHIP as it comes down to obliterate the battlefield.
BARDA: (into communicator) We have it. No need now for kid gloves.
But as they go, Lashina sees something. She stops, stoops to pick it up.
It’s the picture Barda was carrying.