Man of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice director Zack Snyder isn’t going to be taking a break from work anytime soon, as he is set to begin filming his next DC Comics film adaptation, Justice League Part One, today – April 11th, 2016, at the time of writing this. The movie reunites Snyder with Oscar-winning Batman V Superman co-writer Chris Terrio (who is the sole screenwriter on Justice League, unlike Dawn of Justice) and will serve as the first installment in the DC Extended Universe that brings together Superman (Henry Cavill), Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and The Flash (Ezra Miller) – potentially among other DC superheroes – on the big screen properly.
The existence of the future members of the Justice League (or “Meta-Humans” as they are referred to in the DCEU) was teased during a key sequence in Batman V Superman, and already rumors are circulating about the storyline for Justice League Part One – suggesting the film will focus more on the formation of the Justice League, rather than the impending threat posed by a certain famous DC supervillain whose debut in the DCEU was heavily foreshadowed in Batman V Superman too. However, in order to tell this new story, Snyder will be collaborating behind the camera with a different cinematographer that the ones he worked alongside on his previous DC Comics movie adaptations.
Larry Fong served as Snyder’s director of photography on the films 300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch, and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. However, Fong has now confirmed that he won’t be working on Justice League Part One due to a scheduling conflict (the same issue that prevented him from working on Man of Steel). One presumes this resulted from him having recently served as the cinematographer on the upcoming Kong: Skull Island, which left Fong without the time he would’ve needed to prep for the start of filming on Justice League at this juncture.
Fong has confirmed that Fabian Wagner will instead served as the director of photography on Snyder’s first Justice League film, via the following post to his Twitter account:
Schedule conflicts are not uncommon in this biz. But don’t worry, the amazingly talented Mr. Wagner will kill it. https://t.co/oDQdQZ7U2p— Larry Fong (@larryfong) April 10, 2016
Wagner has a long history of serving as a director of photography for TV, having worked on such TV series as Spooks: Code 9 and Sherlock, as well as the Starz original programs The White Queen and Da Vinci’s Demons; by comparison, Wagner’s film resume is limited to only a couple of movies, including Victor Frankenstein (as directed by his Sherlock collaborator, Paul McGuigan). Perhaps Wagner’s most noteworthy television work to date has been on the hit HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones, where he has worked on multiple episodes – including, two from the show’s upcoming sixth season and the season 5 episode ‘Hardhome’: a widely-acclaimed episode that culminates with one of the largest battle sequences ever depicted on television (and landed Wagner a Primetime Emmy nomination for his efforts).
In general, Wagner is used to working on bigger-budgeted/larger scale television productions that have more cinematic flair in terms of their visual style, so one imagines he shouldn’t struggle to make the jump to the world of tentpoles with Justice League Part One. Furthermore, while there’s no denying the sheer beauty of Fong’s cinematography in his and Snyder’s comic book film adaptations to date, it might be appropriate that Fong isn’t returning for Justice League – as the movie is reportedly going to be noticeably different from Batman V Superman, both visually and thematically. Terrio has likewise described Dawn of Justice as being the darkest chapter in the trilogy formed by Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, and Justice League Part One, so the change in cinematographer might help to insure that Justice League stands all the better apart from its gloomier predecessor when it comes to the movie’s lighting, color palette, and so on.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is now playing in U.S. theaters. Suicide Squad will arrive on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on June 19, 2020.