In the wake of an alien invasion and a mad billionaire unleashing a monster on the world, Batman (Ben Affleck) has decided that even with all his toys and gadgets, he could probably use a bit of help defending the Earth from the threats it now faces. Enter the Justice League: the DC Extended Universe’s first formal alliance of superhumans, comprised of Batman himself, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and (eventually) Superman (Henry Cavill).
Screen Rant was fortunate enough to visit the set of Justice League at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, where director Zack Snyder was leading the cast and crew on day 31 of a 111-day shoot. From speaking to the film’s producers and cast members, checking out early footage, and watching a scene being filmed, we were able to garner plenty of interesting details about how Batman and his metahuman recruits join the Justice League and fit in with the team dynamic.
Warning: While there aren’t any major spoilers ahead, this article will reveal the order in which the Justice League members are recruited, as well as some of their reasons for joining.
Bruce Wayne revealed his intention to seek out other metahumans and form an alliance at the end of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. After visiting Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) in prison and being warned that “the bell’s already been rung,” Batman knows that something dark and terrible and other-worldly is coming, and that it will take more than a lone mortal (albeit an exceptionally smart and resourceful one) to defeat it. His interactions with Superman have also left him with a newfound hope for humanity, and a desire to honor Superman’s memory.
Of course, just because Batman is enthusiastic about forming the Justice League, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s very good at it. Affleck describes the character as “the ultimate loner” and notes that he “barely knows how to play well with Alfred,” let alone with other superheroes. What he lacks in people skills, however, he makes up for in determination. Moreover, he has already formed something of an alliance that should prove invaluable in helping him seek out Earth’s metahumans.
Wonder Woman, as we know from Batman V Superman, has been largely detached from the rest of the world for a century, having grown tired of mankind’s warmongering ways. However, she has already fought alongside both Batman and Superman, is the first metahuman to whom Batman reveals his plans to form the Justice League, and is also aware of the other metahumans thanks to the data stolen from Lex Luthor. Because of this, Wonder Woman joins Batman in his mission to find and recruit her fellow metahumans.
When audiences meet her again in Justice League, Wonder Woman hasn’t quite undergone the same kind of personality makeover that Batman has. “The Wonder Woman we see in the Justice League is similar to the Wonder Woman that we saw in Batman v Superman,” Gadot said, during a brief on-set interview, adding that Wonder Woman’s biggest character journey will happen in her solo movie, where she transitions “from a child to an adult” and learns about “the complexities of life.” It’s fortunate that Batman has at least one team member who’s more or less onboard from the beginning, because not all of the Justice League team members will be easy to win over.
One of the scenes shown to us on the set visit was Batman recruiting The Flash, in which Barry Allen agrees to sign up before Batman can even finish his pitch, explaining that even though he’s already been fighting crime (this scene takes place in “Flash HQ”), he could do with some friends.
In contrast to his more serious elders like Batman and Wonder Woman, Miller’s version of The Flash is “young and fun and full of life, and excited about what they’re doing,” according to Affleck. This makes his personality quite a contrast to Batman’s, meaning that there’s a “natural yin and yang” to their scenes: “What does Batman do around a guy who’s really excited and positive all the time? [laughs] You know what I mean? That’s not his natural state of being.” When asked if The Flash will have a Robin-esque relationship with Batman, Affleck replied that “there’s not the ward aspect to it, but there’s a little bit of the mentor,” following that up by joking that joking that Miller’s response to that description would probably be, “F— that! He’s not my mentor!”
As with the rest of the Justice League members, Victor Stone a.k.a. Cyborg was first seen in Batman V Superman, where video footage from inside S.T.A.R. Labs showed him being “reborn” with the help of a Mother Box and his father, Silas Stone (Joe Morton). From what we saw being filmed, it seems that Batman and Wonder Woman may try to recruit Cyborg but ending up failing to convince him the first time around. Cyborg decides to join the Justice League when his father becomes the latest victim in a series of kidnappings by Parademons – giving him a personal stake in the fight.
Like The Flash, Cyborg is younger than the other members of the Justice League and will bring a different kind of energy to the team. Producer Deborah Snyder that that Victor and Barry are “definitely lighter” and will “appeal to a younger audience.” We spoke to Miller and Fisher together on set and the two actors had a lively, friendly dynamic, exchanging lots of friendly banter and joking around with one another.
Based on the fact that Aquaman was noticeably absent from the scene with Batman, The Flash, Wonder Woman and Cyborg, it seems that the Atlantean king will be the final recruit… and that’s not too surprising. When audiences first saw Momoa’s character in Batman V Superman, he didn’t seem to be particularly friendly towards humans – stabbing his trident at the camera before swimming off at superspeed. “Aquaman’s a very strong character, played by a very strong actor with a very strong personality,” said Affleck. “I don’t think he’s the sort of guy who at any point in his life takes orders from people.” It sounds like Momoa’s own personality (what Zack Snyder describes as “his Jason-ness“) will be reflected a lot in his character.
Aquaman may end up being most emblematic of the challenges that the Justice League faces in its fledgling days. “It’s not like any of these characters show up and immediately go like, ‘Yes sir, what should I do, Mr. Wayne?’” Affleck explains. Every member of the team is either the leader of their own people, or accustomed to working alone, so getting them to cooperate is “not an easy ride.” Affleck describes Momoa’s energy as “strong, stubborn, independent, [and] powerful,” and it seems likely that when Aquaman does decide to join forces with the rest of the Justice League, it will be because his own people are at risk.
While the founding of the Justice League is sure to be difficult and tumultuous, Deborah Snyder says that the movie’s arc is ultimately “about teamwork and creating [a] family,” giving it an more positive feel than Batman V Superman. Affleck concurred, saying
“Everybody has brought a certain kind of energy to their character that’s really distinct in this thing. It’s a totally different kind of movie… from the last one because all of a sudden it’s really an ensemble movie. This is a movie about a bunch of different people and qualities and characters… how they work together, what that melting pot is like.”
So what about Superman, one of the keystones of the Justice League, who stood proud and center in the first piece of official concept art? Well, there was no sign of the Man of Steel during the set visit, and since the last time we saw him he was six feet under after getting skewered by Doomsday, recruiting him for the Justice League may prove to be even more challenging than recruiting Aquaman.
Suicide Squad will arrive on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League 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 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020.