More than a year and a half out from the release of a suphero tent-pole film, most studios would be fighting to keep a tight lid on details, brandishing NDAs and praying one of their stars doesn’t slip up and make a key detail public. But director Zack Snyder’s “Justice League,” which assembles iconic DC Comics heroes Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg, Warner Bros. and DC Films opted to open the set to a select group of media outlets, including CBR.
We rolled out what we learned from the London visit throughout last week, but we realize that with so much information coming from the set it’s possible yo didn’t get it all. To make sure you’re as in the know about the biggest DC movie ever, here’s (virtually) everything we know about “Justice League,” all in one place!
Snyder Plans to “Blow the Doors Off”
As some early reports indicated, director Zack Snyder was surprised by negative reaction to “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” However, it hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm for the material.
“You know, when ‘Batman v Superman’ first came out, I was like, ‘Wow, OK, woof.’ It did catch me off-guard,” he admitted. “I kind of felt like — and I have had to, in my mind, make an adjustment, and maybe it is my hardcore take on characters as far as I love ’em, and I love the material. I do, I take it really deep. So I think the nice thing about working on ‘Justice League’ is that it is an opportunity to really blow the doors off of the scale and the bad guys and team-building and all the stuff that I think I could justify as a big, modern comic book movie, if that makes any sense.”
10. “Justice League” Will Be Lighter Than “Batman v Superman”
The filmmakers took away some lessons from “Batman v Superman,” which was criticized for its bleak tone.
“I think the main thing we learned is that people don’t like to see their heroes deconstructed,” producer Deborah Snyder said. “I think that’s hard, because it’s people we’ve grown up with and we care about. They like seeing them in all their glory.”
The presence of The Flash (Ezra Miller) alone infuses “Justice League” with lighthearted moments, as Zack Snyder demonstrated with an early cut of the first meeting between Batman (Ben Affleck) and the Scarlet Speedster.
There’s also a significant change in the Dark Knight between “Batman v Superman” and this film, as highlighted in the first synopsis.
“This is now not a guy at the end of his rope but kind of a guy at the beginning,” Affleck said. “Starting over, reborn and believing. Finding hope. The thing that he’s hopeful for, he’s holding onto desperately. And he really believes in this idea of forming this group.”
“He’s a little bit more sardonic, a little more irony,” he added. “He’s a little more of a man on a mission this time. As opposed to, he was so full of anger because of what happened at the Black Zero Event, that sort of rage that possessed him. And now he’s on a mission to get this group together; to constitute this League. But more of that sort of Bruce Wayne, wry, ironic gallows humor comes out. He’s not like a ‘haha’ jokey, but that sort of stuff comes out a little bit. A bit of his darker humor is present.”
9. The Flash is the Yin to Batman’s Yang?
After journalists were shown the clip of Batman’s first meeting with The Flash, Ben Affleck was asked whether there might be a Robin-like aspect to Ezra Miller’s character.
“That’s interesting. There’s an element of that to it,” Affleck said. “There’s a quality to really what Ezra does that is young and fun and full of life, and excited about what they’re doing that’s so in contrast to who Batman is. There’s a little bit of that natural yin and yang to playing scenes with him.
“There’s not the ward aspect to it,” he continued, “but there’s a little bit of the mentor — which you’d probably ask Ezra and he’d be like, ‘Fuck that! He’s not my mentor!’ But I think there is a little bit. And it’s fun to play, definitely.”
8. Snyder Isn’t Feeling the Heat
Despite the critical response to “Batman v Superman,” and its failure to reach $1 billion at the worldwide box office, Snyder said he doesn’t feel any added pressure when it comes to “Justice League.”
“I had a great time making the movie, and I don’t think that Warner Bros., when we were shooting the movie, that there was some sort of corporate mandate to get Batman and Superman in the movie,” he said. “Chris [Terrio] and I kind of had that idea, and then it just so happened that that was a way toward ‘Justice League’ — and it came along at a great time for us, as the studio was moving forward with the other DC titles and getting the DCU to exist.”
“But I don’t think the birth of ‘Batman v Superman’ was like some corporate conspiracy to sell tickets, or do whatever,” he added. “I think it just became this great vehicle that had a lot of focus put on it because of where it ended up in the timeline, you know?”
7. “Justice League” Will Be Able to Stand on Its Own
Although there are two “Justice League” films, one arriving in 2017 and another in 2019, Snyder insists the first will be able to stand on its own.
“Oh, it is a complete movie,” he said, indicating they’ll be separate films, a la “The Avengers” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” rather than one story told over two parts.
That would appear to represent a departure from the 2014 announcement of Warner Bros.’ ambitious DC Films slate, in which “Justice League” was presented as a two-part film.
6. Goodbye, Norman Osborn; Hello, Vulko
After a memorable turn as the villainous Norman Osborn in Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy, Willem Dafoe will play a good guy in “Justice League”: Aquaman’s longtime ally and loyal adviser Vulko. (He’d previously been rumored to portray an Atlantean, it just wasn’t clear which one.)
It’s unknown how large of a role Dafoe will play in “Justice League,” which also finds room for such other supporting characters as Amy Adams’ Lois Lane, Jeremy Irons’ Alfred Pennyworth, J.K. Simmons’ Commissioner Gordon, and Amber Heard’s Mera.
It’s also not known whether Dafoe will reprise the role opposite Jason Momoa in 2018’s “Aquaman,” but it would be kind of strange if he didn’t.
5. The Main Villain Won’t Be Darkseid
While most people placed their money on Darkseid, it turns out another resident of Apokolips will be the main villain in “Justice League”: Steppenwolf, whose role was foreshadowed in a deleted scene from “Batman v Superman.”
He won’t be alone, either, as the Parademons — typically depicted in DC comics as Darkseid’s foot soldiers — will also appear in the film.
That’s not to say there won’t be other marquee villains in the film, however. “I can’t give away everything,” producer Deborah Snyder said.
Casting is under way for the role of Steppenwolf, with Snyder teasing, “We’re close.”
4. “Justice League” Owes a Lot to Jack Kirby
Director Zack Snyder was heavily influenced by the DC Comics work of legendary artist Jack Kirby, creator of Darkseid, the New Gods, and such otherworldly devices as Mother Boxes and Boom Tubes.
“Kirby’s crazy in a great way,” the filmmaker said, “and there’s a lot of influence, you know, the New Gods stuff, we were digging on that — and that’s the Mother Boxes and that sort of Apokoliptian world and all that. I don’t know if I can call it ‘weird.’ The kinda scope-y, sci-fi, cool, what I think is fun stuff. I think inherently when you start to talk about a bad guy that would justify the Justice League, you have to have a good threat that’s fun and kinda crazy. And the Mother Boxes are always fun, DC-weird tech, you know?”
3. Batman is Getting a New Ride (or Two)
Along with the Dark Knight’s new associates comes a new set of wheels.
Production designer Patrick Tatopoulos (“Batman v Superman”) gave the Batmobile a serious upgrade for “Justice League,” complete with missile launchers, cannons and machine guns.
However, that’s not the only new vehicle: The film also introduces the Flying Fox, a team airship big enough to house the Batmobile, and Batman’s many-legged Nightcrawler, which is designed to fit through tight spaces.
“There’s an action set piece — we’re gonna take you to this tunnel,” producer Deborah Snyder explained. “It’s a tunnel they were gonna build between Metropolis and Gotham and it had been abandoned, so the project never really went forward. But there’s abandoned remains of what started to be this tunnel. It’s pretty hard to get the Batmobile through there, so it’s nice to have the Crawler, which can maneuver.”
2. Meet the All-New Wonder Woman
The Wonder Woman we see in “Justice League” will be similar to that of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” but decidedly different from the character in her solo movie.
“It’s the coming-of-age story,” star Gal Gadot said, referring to next year’s “Wonder Woman.” “It’s about her become an adult, really — from a child to an adult, and understanding the complexities of life.”
Directed by Patty Jenkins (“Monster”), “Wonder Woman” will at last see the iconic DC Comics superheroine headline her own film, following attempts that date back two decades. Also starring Chris Pine, Lucy Davis, Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright, “Wonder Woman” opens June 2. 2017.
1. Brace Yourselves: We Could See a Super-Mullet
When the Man of Steel returned from the dead in the comics in 1993, he brought something back with him: a hairstyle that became known as the “Super-Mullet.” While not technically a mullet, that Superman was clearly business in front, party in the back …
Despite falling in his battle against Doomsday in “Batman v Superman,” the Man of Steel does appear in “Justice League,” which led Snyder to be asked a crucial question: “How’s his hair when he gets back?”
“Should be perfect,” the director replied with a laugh. “A little longer, I guess! That’s what the myths are anyway.”
Of course, some would argue the mullet is perfect.
Opening Nov. 17, 2017, “Justice League” stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, J. K. Simmons, Amber Heard and Willem Dafoe.
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