Joss Whedon may have finished directing Justice League, but Ben Affleck has made it clear the movie is still very much Zack Snyder’s vision.
This past weekend at the Justice League press conference in London, attended by CBR, Affleck addressed the director transition, and noted that while Whedon, writer-director of Marvel’s first two Avengers films and creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was able to “sprinkle his fairy dust” on the movie, it remains Snyder’s film.
“The movie is Zack’s DNA,” Affleck, the film’s Batman, told reporters. “Cast the movie, designed the movie. There’s something that people I think don’t understand, how much of the work is done in prep. The casting, the sets get built, the story’s written. The ship is, in essence, sailing.”
“I’ve found as director, you can maybe change 10 percent, 15 percent or something, on the day,” Affleck, director of The Town and Argo, continued. “You really had Zack’s ship set sail with us. We were fortunate that when Zack was not able to continue, we got really lucky in that we got a guy who’s very accomplished in his own right, particularly in this genre, and he sprinkled some of his fairy dust on our movie and finished it. I don’t think there’s any way to go back and see, ‘That’s a Joss scene, that’s a Zack scene.’ They were both working together towards a common goal.”
Justice League producer Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder’s producing partner and wife, called being at the press junket “bittersweet,” with Zack Snyder not able to finish the film he had been working towards since the development process of 2013’s Man of Steel, which kicked off the current continuity of DC Comics-based films and introduced Henry Cavill as Superman.
“For us, this whole thing is so bittersweet, because we have been working on this franchise for the past almost eight years, when we started developing the script for Man of Steel,” Deborah Snyder said during the press conference. “Then we moved on to [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice], and also Zack developed the story for Wonder Woman, which was leading up to the point of Justice League, where these characters were finally going to come together. This was a really great hero’s journey, and a journey for these characters to be the characters that they are today. So not being able to complete his vision was extremely difficult. That makes it hard.”
Ultimately, Deborah Snyder told reporters, she hopes that fans aren’t thinking about the behind-the-scenes process when watching Justice League, and instead focus on seeing these DC superheroes together in live-action for the first time.
“Our feeling is that we’re hoping that people aren’t thinking about how the movie was made when they go to see it, because these characters are bigger than any director,” Deborah Snyder said. “They’re bigger than any of us. We love and adore these characters, and we love and adore all these people here,” referring to the film’s cast.
In May of this year, Zack Snyder announced that he was stepping away from Justice League to focus on family following the death of his daughter. Whedon, who was already brought on to the film to write additional scenes, took over as director to finish production. Snyder has sole director credit on the film, with Whedon credited as a screenwriter along with Chris Terrio.
Snyder has been the major creative force behind the initial phase of the current DC Comics-based feature films — commonly referred to as the “DC Extended Universe” — as the director of both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, an executive producer on Suicide Squad and a producer with story credit on Wonder Woman.
Whedon looks to remain involved with Warner Bros.’ DC-based films, as he’s on board to write, direct and produce a Batgirl film.
Justice League is scheduled for release on Nov. 17.
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