Justice League has been out for a while. Of all of its problems, the film can be summed up as a mess that was created as a result of Warner Bros. panicking over the fear of poor reviews. There were several re-shoots done, Joss Whedon was brought in for some editing, and Superman’s upper lip has never looked worse in his life. There have been a lot of discussion and reports that talk about what the original plans were for the film. The original cut was going to have a scene involving Darkseid, the color palette was going to be different, and there is a lot of evidence to suggest that a Green Lantern was going to be part of the team. That said, none of these items made the cut into the theatrical version.
Prior to the film’s release, we were given several pieces of concept art that teased what we could’ve seen in the movie when it came out. Some of these pictures were later fulfilled, but most of them were either altered or ignored altogether. It’s a serious shortcoming considering how insane some of these concepts are. Without further ado, we’ll take a look at 15 jaw-dropping pieces of concept art from Justice League that were abandoned.
15. READY FOR ACTION
Despite the confusion between having two live-action incarnations of the Fastest Man Alive, the Flash, on screen at the same time, there was a lot of excitement surrounding Ezra Miller’s portrayal of the character. With a hero like the Flash, there are limitless opportunities as to what can be done with him visually.
The end result was fairly impressive (save for that running animation), but the concept art was willing to go further with the character. This one shows Barry running away from an intense explosion without breaking a sweat. Unfortunately, scenes and ideas like this were cut from the film. There was even a shot of him pushing through a glass window in the trailers that wasn’t in the final movie. Seems like a wasted opportunity.
14. UNITE THE SIX
The Justice League is easily one of the most iconic superhero teams of all time. Because of this, a lot of the concept art featuring the team was created to look very iconic and regal, similar to how they’re portrayed in the comics. This picture alone plays around with a more classic look for DC’s most powerful heroes, who look like they’re ready for action.
That said, this version of the characters isn’t what was featured in the movie. With Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon both working on the film, the superheroes were more lighthearted and lacked that final sense of refinement that we would expect from the League. Even in the original cut of the movie, it’s unclear if this was the tone Snyder was trying to achieve.
13. PROTECT THE BATMOBILE
Batman working together with powerful metahumans is a financial success in the making. However, he was never going to be much help running around on his feet to fight the war against the Parademons and Steppenwolf. This is why he used the Batmobile to lead the team forward and give them some support while they were on the ground.
That was a big part of the final act of Justice League, but we would’ve loved to see a shot like this. Batman driving through the streets, blasting away at Parademons while the rest of the League is on each side of him, fighting more bad guys and protecting him. A shot like this would’ve been extremely welcome in the movie, and it’s sad that imagery like this wasn’t shown.
12. YOU SHOULD PROBABLY MOVE
Of all the characters on the Justice League, Cyborg was going to be the most difficult to get right. He’s never had a big live-action adaptation, and his cybernetic parts required that he be put together with a lot of CGI. Nonetheless, the character we received in the movie was a best-case scenario considering the context of the DCEU and his contribution to the film.
One thing that felt horribly removed from Justice League was seeing each of the heroes save the day in their own worlds before coming together. That was supposed to be in the movie (and would’ve likely featured Cyborg flying around in this picture), but it was cut so that time could be heavily shaved down. Love it or hate it, that’s the name of the film game these days: studio meddling.
11. CUE DANNY ELFMAN
Batman has been full of iconic imagery and scenes since Tim Burton’s Batman film and Batman: The Animated Series. Now that the DCEU is taking a shot at the Dark Knight, they have the chance to revisit some of this iconography once more, but polish it up for a more modern audience.
Those who saw Justice League will remember that the opening scene with Batman felt very classic up until the point where he started dumping information on that random criminal. In terms of this piece of concept art, Batman did meet up with Gordon, but he did so while the rest of the newly formed Justice League were there. We didn’t get any glorious shots like this, where the Caped Crusader is standing up high on a gargoyle while looking down at Commissioner Gordon.
10. THE PRICE OF WAR
Steppenwolf, in short, wasn’t a fantastic villain. Almost none of his words made any sense, his motivations were a little murky, and the CGI used to create him was simply ridiculous. That said, there was something extremely intense about the scene where he came to Themyscira and the Amazons were preventing him from getting the Mother Box.
Still, we didn’t get a beautiful shot like this concept art depicts. During the fight, Steppenwolf didn’t seem to sustain any damage at all, and it’s sad that the arrows coming from his body were never shown in the film. Then there’s the incoming Amazon army in the background, and he’s still just gazing at the Mother Box. This one picture says a lot more about the character than the movie ever did. It feels a lot less generic.
9. DETECTIVE ALLEN
Clearly, there were more plans to have each superhero in Justice League showcase their abilities and lifestyles a bit more before finally joining together with the Batman. Barry Allen, as most of us know, was a CSI detective before he got caught in the lightning bolt accident that gave him the power of super speed.
However, the final film showcased Barry getting his powers before he became a CSI. As a matter of fact, he was trying to get a job in that field when the movie began. Whether this was changed to allow Bruce a chance to express his good will to Barry or to fit the cut version of the film, we likely won’t be seeing Barry as a CSI until the Flashpoint movie hits theaters.
8. THE LOST CITY
In order to give Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Cyborg a reason to be in Justice League, they were all connected to the three Mother Boxes needed to create the unity. One of them was hidden in Themyscira where it was guarded by the Amazons. Another was found by Victor Stone’s father and used to turn him into Cyborg. The last one was guarded in Atlantis by Aquaman’s people.
That said, the few shots we got of Atlantis were unclear at best. The movie didn’t do a lot to explain what was going on, what the people were, and even what they were referring to in dialogue. This piece of concept art gives some clarity to the underwater setting. By having what we assume is the Motherbox lit up on the pedestal, it illuminates the whole room, showing us the detail of Atlantis and its people. If only the movie could’ve done more of that.
7. UNITE THE SEVEN
There was an early marketing tease for Justice League that involved the tagline “Unite the Seven.” This led people to speculate what Warner Bros meant by that. Could it refer to some sort of idea or philosophy, or was it in relation to a seventh member of the League? Well, from what was in the film as well as this piece of concept art, we have a pretty good idea.
It’s likely that earlier cuts of Justice League were supposed to include Green Lantern. After all, there was a Green Lantern who died fighting Steppenwolf, and the ring shot into the sky after that. Couple that with the upcoming Green Lantern Corps movie in a couple of years, and it’s all but confirmed at this point. The concept art points to John Stewart being the Lantern we would see, but it could be any of them at this point.
6. BURN BABY BURN
The Dark Knight had a lot of interesting gadgets when Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice occurred, but he outdid himself by the time Justice League came out. Not only did he have the Batmobile at his side, but the Flying Fox and Night Crawler had joined his hardware. Clearly, the latter is much more impressive, as it was designed for crawling through tunnels and dealing with foes who were larger than life, as it was equipped with several different weapons.
One such weapon was an on-board flamethrower that Batman would then use to toast up some Parademons. While no shot like this was featured in Justice League, we’d imagine that it might’ve been part of an extended scene that was in the original cut. That said, a flamethrower is only so effective, because it’s safe to say that it wouldn’t do anything to Steppenwolf.
5. THE QUEEN OF ATLANTIS
Because the DCEU is extremely focused on building their universe, they had already cast characters like Jim Gordon and Mera for the Justice League movie. The latter of which is the wife of Aquaman and one of the primary protectors of the Atlantean Motherbox. While we didn’t get a lot of time to see her in action, she served her purpose in the film.
For the most part, her design was on point. However, this concept art for the character has us a bit more enthralled. The colors pop, she looks menacing, and we wouldn’t want to get on her bad side. Perhaps this would’ve been more on display if she had been above water because the underwater scenes were very devoid of color and contrast. Either way, Amber Heard is an excellent choice for Queen Mera.
4. MORE DISTINCTIVE
One of the biggest questions we have about Justice League stems from the villain: Steppenwolf. He was teased in Batman V Superman, but he looked nothing like his actual cinematic debut. Clearly, DC and Warner Bros played around with several different designs for the character. The end result was a fairly uninspired villain who would’ve served better as an actual actor and not a CGI monstrosity.
When we see concept art like this, it doesn’t soften the blow. This design, while not perfect, gives Steppenwolf much more distinct visual features. Whether you go with the more alien-like design on the right or the regal barbarian on the left, there were many more interesting directions that the studio could’ve taken the character. Why they all decided on the final version of Steppenwolf is beyond us.
3. READY FOR BATTLE
Clearly, the biggest benefit to having Batman leading the Justice League is that you get immediate access to all of the tools necessary to prep for war. One of the Dark Knight’s newest gadgets was the Flying Fox, which was designed to more of a soldier transport apparatus. While it’s arguably a bit big for five people, it definitely adds some theatrical flair to the team as they spring into action.
For the most part, this is how it looked in the film, complete with the League walking onto the ship. However, Aquaman is nowhere to be seen in this shot. This could be because the original plan was to have him swim all the way to the battlefield while the rest of the League sat in the comfort of Batman’s air carrier.
2. DON’T GET IN HIS WAY
Aquaman is no slouch when it comes to combat and Justice League wasn’t afraid to portray a gruff, no-nonsense version of the character. Jason Momoa’s Aquaman was unrelenting, inconsiderate, but simultaneously willing to let loose and embrace his more chaotic side.
The biggest hurdle DC and Warner Bros had to overcome was the perception that Aquaman was a dorky, useless character whose only power was to talk to fish. Get him out of water and he’d be done for. This concept art shows that the original idea was to go in the complete opposite direction by having an Aquaman who was terrifying, powerful, and willing to rip someone’s head off. Thankfully, Arthur Curry wasn’t quite as terrifying in the final cut of the movie, as the writers allowed him to have some heartfelt moments and jokes.
1. TIME TO REGROUP
This piece of concept art showing Batman talking to the rest of the League in the Batcave is something that looks right it was ripped out of the comic pages. There’s a massive sense of scale on display here as well, with the Flying Fox hanging above the rest of the Justice League with other machines stretching down the room. We especially love the touch of Flash looking as if he is already in motion.
While we did see this location in Justice League, it wasn’t quite as massive as depicted here. Furthermore, the costumes of the superheroes shown were altered for the final movie. There was more clutter and business in the movie, as opposed to making the entire set look like a big airplane hangar.
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