Justice League production designer Patrick Tatopoulos is explaining how he collaborated with director Zack Snyder to make sure the individual worlds of each team member has their own distinct visual language, as this November’s team up extravaganza serves as a springboard for future solo adventures.
DC’s follow-up to this summer’s smash hit Wonder Woman, Justice League will bring together Diana of Themyscira, Batman, The Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman to take on the villain Steppenwolf, a lieutenant of the nightmarish uber-baddie Darkseid, who believes Earth is ripe for the conquering in the wake of Superman’s death in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Snyder has always been a director who pays amazing attention to the visual language of his films, and Justice League will be no different. In a new interview with EW, production designer Patrick Tatopoulos details how he and Snyder are attempting to make each individual hero’s world both visually distinct and cohesive enough to work when they all unite. Tatopoulos discusses how he and Snyder developed the look of Batman’s world in Batman V Superman, and how that served as a springboard for the bigger universe.
“Zack told me a couple things. A Batman that’s tough, bold, stronger, a little older. It started to define some things. It didn’t feel like an elegant, sleek thing. It felt like the guy was brutal — like brutalism, in architecture. This is why the Batcave is made of blocks, the glass house is very blocky.”
Tatopoulos goes on to talk about the immense task that was setting up visual templates for the worlds of The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg before their individual movies even began production.
“There’s Flash as a guy, a regular dude. He’s goofy, he’s crazy, and his world is a world we should be able to relate to. And then you have the world of Wonder Woman, and I don’t want to take too much credit for that: the movie has been done, beautifully designed and directed. But there is this ancient civilization, that’s got it’s own golden and bronze-y textures. There’s Cyborg, who’s a real man, so this world is a world you should be able to relate to, before he becomes what he has become. You got Aquaman, underwater, there’s those very deep greens. The movie is being done now, but we actually had to create a look for it prior to that.”
This is a fascinating glimpse into the massive effort it took for DC to essentially take the opposite approach of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, where the visual language of each character was established in solo movies, then eventually blended together when the characters coalesced in The Avengers. DC is hoping this bit of reverse engineering pays off, as they’re counting on Justice League to capitalize on the goodwill Wonder Woman’s massive success has earned them after the polarizing Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad.
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