The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition became available on Digital HD today, and as you can probably imagine, the internet has already been littered with all of the film’s differences and extensions from the theatrical cut. One of the few, fun changes in the two versions though, that one fan noticed is the difference in prisoner numbers on Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor in the film, which reference two different things between the theatrical and ultimate editions.
In the theatrical cut, Luthor’s prisoner number is “TK-421,” which is not a DC reference, but instead a Star Wars reference with that being the same number as the Stormtrooper who had Han and Luke in custody in the film. It was a cheeky reference that continued Zack Snyder’s fun banter with the crew over at Lucasfilm.
However, the ultimate edition’s version of the scene includes a different reference with the number (H/T Comicbook.com), this time connecting it to one of the more memorable dates in comic book history.
In the ultimate edition, Luthor’s number is instead “AC23-1940,” which some comic book fans out there may recognize right away as referring to Action Comics #23, which was released in April 1940, and was the first comic book appearance of Lex Luthor. This of course is revealed before Batman arrives to brand Luthor’s cell and tell him that he’ll be transferred to Arkham Asylum shortly.
I legitimately find it surprising that Snyder decided to cut this one out of the theatrical cut, especially since it probably would have been a more pleasing reference for comic book fans than the theatrical cut’s Star Wars reference. With both this and the image of Superman lifting a cover over his head in Wallace Keefe’s apartment in the film, it’s clear that Snyder was trying to make some Golden Age nods throughout the movie. Even despite it’s heavy Frank Miller influences.