Warner Bros. and DCEU have been plagued by casting controversies, directors abandoning ship in the midst of production as well as expensive re-shots and last-minute changes to the final cut. While Warner Bros.’ DCEU is still rather young, some of their projects have been in the works as early as 2000. A decade before Man of Steel marked the birth of DCEU, a number of renowned directors have been signed on to write scripts that eventually didn't go anywhere. Granted, some of their ideas were ludicrous, but it's still amusing to imagine what the state of DCEU would've been like today, had those movies made their way to the big screen.
In recent years, however, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment have been playing catch-up with the MCU, announcing a lot of movies on a very tight schedule. Thus far, this technique has led to some pretty ridiculous, astounding and alarming issues. The behind the scenes of DCEU's famously unsuccessful Suicide Squad can only be described as development hell. And even the fan-favorite and critically acclaimed Wonder Woman encountered a couple of hiccups along the way. And because we like unveiling behind the scenes secrets, we did some digging and found 15 secrets they hid from you about the DCEU.
15 JAMES GUNN TURNED DOWN DC COMICS
Before joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Guardians of the Galaxy director, James Gunn, was approached by DC Comics to direct one of their movies. According to Gunn, he’s had opportunities to make DC movies, but he hasn’t said yes to anything and he’s not sure that he would at this time either. If Gunn were to direct a DC Comics movie, he would be on board to make a movie about Shazam, Swamp Thing or Jonah Hex.
Even though Gunn did not specify which movie he was offered to direct, he did say that he turned it down because the project did not appeal to him. When asked about the whole MCU vs. DCEU deal, Gunn simply stated that he hasn’t been following DC movies, but that Man of Steel had some pretty good action scenes.
14 GAL GODOT’S HIDDEN PREGNANCY
While Wonder Woman is undoubtedly DCEU’s best movie thus far, it did not go without behind the scenes issues. Wonder Woman’s original director Michelle McLaren left the movie due to creative differences. McLaren was replaced with Patty Jenkins and naturally re-shots were necessary.
Gal Gadot was part of the re-shots, including the stunts, even though she was at the time five months pregnant. The actress managed to finish all of her re-shots, however, the crew had to fashion an upgraded version of the costume. Because Gadot’s baby bump was visible, the amazing people behind the scenes created a costume with a green screen around Gadot’s belly, which was digitally removed in post-production. Despite all that, Gal Gadot gave an outstanding performance in an excellent movie.
13 JUSTICE LEAGUE: MORTAL
Seems like DC and Warner Bros. had big plans for quite some time. Their superhero team-up Justice League comes out this November, but it almost happened a lot sooner. In fact, a Justice League movie has been in the works since 2007 and was going to be separate from the failed 2006 Superman Returns.
Titled Justice League: Mortal, the movie was to be directed by George Miller, the man best known for his work on Mad Max. Several characters were even cast, including D.J. Cortona (From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series) as Superman, Megan Gale (Mad Max: Fury Road) as Wonder Woman, Armie Hammer (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) as Batman, Santiago Cabrera (Heroes) as Aquaman, and Adam Brody (The O.C.) as the Flash. However, the 2007-08 Writers’ Strike delayed the movie and the success of The Dark Knight led to its cancellation in favor of standalone titles.
12 RUSHED PRODUCTION AND TWO DIFFERENT CUTS RUIN SUICIDE SQUAD
Suicide Squad’s poor performance was a huge disappointment for Warner Bros. as well as the fans. The movie had issues with editing, plot progression, character development, but most of all production. The situation behind the scenes of DCEU’s Suicide Squad was no walk in the park. The backlash against Batman v. Superman had the executives at Warner Bros. worried that the same fate awaited Suicide Squad.
Since the cut they had did not radiate the same fun and edgy vibe as the trailers, Warner Bros. hired the company that edited the teaser to make an alternate cut of the movie. Warner Bros.’ lighthearted cut and director David Ayer’s dark and edgy cut went head to head at a test screening. Warner Bros. then ordered extensive re-shots to try and merge the two contradictory cuts, which resulted in a messy mood whiplash and drove the movie’s budget up to $175 million.
11 ONE ACTOR TWO ROLES
Actor Patrick Wilson is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Lou Solverson on FX’s Fargo and Ed Warren in the horror motion picture The Conjuring. What you probably did not know is that Patrick Wilson appeared in a DCEU movie. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, to be more precise.
While we never actually saw Patrick Wilson in Batman v. Superman, we did hear him as the voice of the President of the United States during the movie’s final battle. Since, Patrick Wilson frequently collaborated with Aquaman’s director James Wen, it wasn’t a big surprise when it was announced that Wilson will be playing Orm, aka Ocean Master, in Wen’s upcoming Aquaman movie. Luckily, this time we will get to both hear and see Wilson in the movie.
10 PRODUCT PLACEMENT
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, $250-million budget. Man of Steel, $225-million budget. Suicide Squad, $175-million budget. Warner Bros. certainly does not shy away from investing large amounts of money in these movies. So, it should not come as a surprise that their movies turned into two-hour-long commercials.
The product placement in Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad is shamefully obvious and irritating. The insufferable advertising in Man of Steel featured brands such as Sears, Nokia, Budweiser and countless more. Batman v. Superman made us cringe at the blatant promotion of Turkish Airlines, while the only coherence in Suicide Squad was the constant use of Samsung phones. Apparently, the entire world had evolved since 2013 and switched from Nokia to Samsung.
9 DIGITALLY REMOVED FACIAL HAIR
Justice League has had its share of trials and tribulations when it comes to production. Zack Snyder had to exit the movie due to tragic personal issues, which led to Joss Whedon being appointed to the director’s chair. The movie also had problems reuniting its stars due to their other engagements. But one issue in particular tickled both Warner Bros. and the fans.
Actor Henry Cavill, who plays Superman, had to grow a mustache for his role in Mission: Impossible 6 and studio Paramount Pictures inserted a contract clause that obliges Cavill to keep the mustache while shooting the movie. The problem is, the two shootings coincided with one another, which led to Warner Bros. having to use CGI to remove Cavill’s mustache. So, when you’re watching Justice League this November keep an eye out for Superman’s million-dollar digital shaving.
8 ONE ACTRESS TWO ROLES
One actor playing different roles in the same movie or television series is something that has happened more times than moviemakers care to admit. The 1990s sci-fi classic The X-Files did this with both Terry O’Quinn and Willie Garson. MCU's Enver Gjokaj potraryed two different characters, one in The Avengers and the other on Agent Carter.
However, what you probably didn’t notice is that DCEU also cast one actress to play two different characters in two different movies. Samantha Jo, actress and stuntwoman, whom you may remember from the web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy, appeared in the DCEU twice. First, Jo portrayed Car-Vex, a Kryptonian invader in Man of Steel. Then, this year, Jo played Euboea, an Amazonian warrior in Wonder Woman. Samantha Jo will reprise the latter role in the upcoming Justice League movie.
7 $25-MILLION RE-SHOTS
Seems like no DCEU movie can exist without production issues. While some bumps in the road are to be expected, Warner Bros. manages to encounter one after another with no end in sight. Suicide Squad re-shots increased the movie's budget for a whopping $100 million. Now, with post-production underway, Justice League re-shots are coming up to $25 million. Just for scale, an average for a movie of this size is around $10-14 million.
Apparently, Warner Bros. ran into major scheduling problems because the movie’s large ensemble cast was in the midst of other projects. Ezra Miller was engaged on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2. Jason Momoa was working on another DCEU title, Aquaman and Hanry Cavill was shooting the spy sequel Mission: Impossible 6.
6 SHAZAM TV SHOW
One of the titles DC announced back in 2014 was a Shazam! movie, which is scheduled to come out in 2019. The movie recently entered pre-production with writer Henry Gayden and director David F. Sandberg, who announced on his Instagram account that work has finally started on it.
A Shazam! movie has been in development since 2000 with New Line Cinema, Peter Segal and John August working on the project. New Line Cinema was eventually purchased by Warner Bros. who wanted a darker and edgier take on the movie, prompting August to leave the project. Since then the project went through a number of changes, including being shifted from a movie to a TV show. After the release of Man of Steel, Segal stated that a Shazam! adaptation was unlikely. Good thing he was wrong.
5 THE BATMAN CASTING AND DIRECTING COMPLICATIONS
The number of DCEU announcements coming out of Warner Bros. is overwhelming. Last year, Warner Bros. and Ben Affleck announced a standalone Batman movie. However, Ben Affleck’s The Batman already faced some difficulties when it comes to directing and casting decisions. Initially, Affleck was set to write, direct and star in The Batman.
Ben Affleck has since given up the director role, primarily due to the difficulty of both directing and acting in costume. The movie then went through a number of directors before finally landing in the hands of Matt Reeves, under the condition that the original Affleck script be discarded. Affleck’s script had Deathstroke, played by Joe Manganiello, as the main villain of the movie. After Reeves signed on, Manganiello commented that he wasn’t sure whether he still had a job.
4 SIX WEEKS TO WRITE THE SUICIDE SQUAD SCRIPT
Suicide Squad is a gold mine when it comes to production issues and behind the scenes turbulence. The movie’s troubled production was the central talking point after the movie’s release and subsequent negative reviews. Creative differences between Warner Bros. and the writer/director David Ayer led to the movie having a very messy final cut.
However, it is hard to put the blame on David Ayer, considering the fact that the studio gave him six weeks to write the script for Suicide Squad. Apparently, Warner Bros. was adamant about releasing the movie in August 2016 and wouldn’t back down. So, as chaotic as Suicide Squad is, it could have gone a lot worse, given that David Ayer rushed to patch up the script in less than two months.
3 JOSS WHEDON’S WONDER WOMAN
A decade before Gal Gadot put on the Wonder Woman costume and prior to the birth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Joss Whedon wrote a script for a Wonder Woman movie. However, due to creative differences Whedon and Warner Bros. went their separate ways. Whedon went on to create movies for Marvel and Warner Bros. finally released Wonder Woman in 2017.
But, the Wonder Woman movie we got is nothing like the one Joss Whedon had imagined. Which, believe it or not, is for the best. Whedon’s script was recently leaked and fans all over the world were outraged. Contrary to what the title Wonder Woman suggests, the movie was told entirely from Steve Trevor’s perspective and did not paint a very admirable picture of Diana. The fans reacted instantaneously, calling Whedon’s script sexist and expressing concern over his involvement in Justice League.
2 JARED LETO MAY BE OUT OF THE DCEU...OR MAYBE NOT?
Jared Leto’s portrayal of The Joker spurred a lot of controversy both on and off screen. Reportedly, Leto sent "unusual gifts" to fellow cast members, such as live rats and used condoms, all to get in character. Naturally, many were of the opinion that Leto’s method acting went a bit over the line. Between that and the split audience opinions, Warner Bros. seems to be reconsidering their casting decision.
In August, Warner Bros. announced that a Joker origin movie was in the works, without mentioning Leto’s involvement in the movie. Not surprising, considering the fact that Leto spoke openly against Suicide Squad and Warner Bros. However, the announcement did mention that Martin Scorsese will be one of the producers, which led to speculations that the role of The Joker in that particular Joker movie will go to Leonardo DiCaprio.
1 J.J. ABRAMS’ SUPERMAN REBOOT
Back in 2002, the renowned J.J. Abrams was signed on to write a Superman movie script, which McG agreed to direct. Abrams’ script titled Superman: Flyby featured some major changes to the original story, such as Kal-El being sent Earth specifically to live with the Kents and Lex Luthor being a Kryptonian.
However, Abrams’ crazy script was put on hold when Andrew Kevin Walker, writer of the critically acclaimed Se7en, proposed to write a script for a Superman/Batman crossover instead. Still, the movie was put on hold indefinitely when Warner Bros. decided it would be more prudent to start off with a standalone movie. As you know, the crossover project was brought back to life in form Warner Bros.’ second installment in the DCEU titled Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Which of these secrets surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments!