The latest incarnation of DC’s comic book lore, informally called the DCEU, has brought beloved and long-awaited heroes to the big screen. The DCEU franchise has produced some of the most well-known films of the past few years, introducing many heroes from the DC lineup who had never received the proper movie treatment.
The DCEU officially began with Man of Steel in 2013, and it has expanded since then to include Batman v Superman, Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad, and Justice League. In the upcoming years, the DCEU will expand further to include more of DC’s beloved heroes and villains, starting with Aquaman and Shazam!
Bringing this big-budget superhero action to the screen has not been an easy feat. The DCEU started on shaky ground with some former DC superhero treatments faltering at the box office.
While the DCEU franchise has mostly been successful since its creation, its films faced a number of challenges. Studio meddling and bureaucracy often created issues in the productions, sometimes affecting the final cut of the movie. The directors and writers often had to fight for their vision of the movie, and the final movies received backlash from multiple unexpected sources.
With that said, here are the 15 Behind The Scenes Secrets About The DCEU That WB Doesn’t Want You To Know.
15. Patty Jenkins had to fight for Wonder Woman’s famous No Man’s Land scene
Wonder Woman‘s No Man’s Land scene may be the most powerful scene in the DCEU, and it was the most memorable moment of the empowering blockbuster.
Although this scene was critically important to the movie, director Patty Jenkins had to fight to keep the scene in the movie. Jenkins stated, “It’s the scene that made the least sense to other people going in, which is why it’s a wonderful victory for me.”
She explained, “I think that in superhero movies, they fight other people, they fight villains. So when I started to really hunker in on the significance of No Man’s Land, there were a couple people who were deeply confused, wondering, like, ‘Well, what is she going to do? How many bullets can she fight?’”
14. The production of Suicide Squad was incredibly rushed
Suicide Squad was met with mixed reactions from audiences and critics who pointed out several issues with the final cut.
Some problems with the final movie may have been a result of the rushed production of the movie, as some people connected to the production felt the crew was not given enough time before the slated release date. Writer and director David Ayer reportedly wrote the film’s script in just six weeks.
Ayer had little experience with this kind of action movie and likely would have benefitted from having more time, but the announced release date could not be moved.
One producer stated, “There are a lot of people who don’t want to direct those movies and that’s a huge problem. A lot of the proven guys are back-to-back with their stuff, or they want to develop it for five years, and there’s a machine that has to be fed.”
13. Zack Snyder almost cut the tornado scene from Man of Steel because of a deadly tornado
It’s safe to say that superhero movies generally give terrible advice about surviving a real-life disaster, but one scene in Man of Steel generated controversy with its real-life implications.
The scene showed the Kents dealing with a massive surprise tornado on the road, during which people shelter under an overpass. Director Zack Snyder almost cut the scene because of a real tornado and a conflict with the National Weather Service.
National Weather Service officials were distressed to see people sheltering under an overpass in the movie, as it might lead others to believe that’s a safe choice during a tornado.
Overpasses are considered one of the worst places to shelter. Several people died in a 1999 tornado in Oklahoma while sheltering in an overpass, and the same area was hit with another deadly tornado a month before Man of Steel‘s release, triggering a difficult decision about whether or not to cut the scene.
12. Jared Leto was confused and upset by the final cut of Suicide Squad
Suicide Squad‘s Joker was a point of much contention, mostly because there was a strange lack of the Joker throughout the movie. Jared Leto has often expressed his disappointment in how his role in the film came out.
Leto poured a lot of work into creating his take on the Joker, and the final cut ended up featuring less than ten minutes of the Joker.
Large portions of the film were cut to change the tone of the film, and one of the greatest casualties of the cut was Leto’s Joker. Leto claims that the material cut from the film would fill up an entire second movie, and many of those scenes related to the Joker and his relationship with Harley Quinn.
11. Some countries have banned Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman was a beloved summer hit, but not everyone embraced the film. Following the film’s release, some countries banned the film, specifically taking issue with the casting of Gal Gadot.
Wonder Woman was banned in Lebanon, though other movies featuring Gal Gadot have not been banned there. The governments of Tunisia and Lebanon also suspended screenings while they considered a possible ban.
Gal Gadot was born and raised in Israel and served in the Israeli Defense Forces as a combat instructor. Her military background has helped her secure Hollywood roles in the past, but it became a point of contention when Wonder Woman went to international audiences.
10. Warner Bros. wanted Zack Snyder removed from Justice League
Warner Bros. and the DCEU took a hit with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which failed to meet expectations with critics and in the box office.
The franchise was able to recover, releasing Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman to follow up the box office disappointment. Despite the improvement, Warner Bros. still had a heavy investment in the outcome of the long-awaited Justice League.
After the poor response to Batman v Superman, some Warner Bros. executives were out for blood. They blamed director Zack Snyder for the failure and wanted him off the production of Justice League.
Warner Bros. president Greg Silverman decided it would not look good to the remove the director, but still blamed Snyder for the debacle. Snyder ended up later leaving the production after personal tragedy and control of the movie passed to Joss Whedon.
9. Fans accused Justice League of making the Amazons too revealing
The Amazons were a highly praised facet of Wonder Woman, featuring extremely athletic women in practical armor. When the Amazons were again brought to the screen in Justice League, fans noticed a stark contrast in the way that the warriors were presented.
Their new armor left little to the imagination, leading fans to accuse the filmmakers of making the Amazon warriors too revealing. While Wonder Woman had both a female director and a female costume designer, men filled both of those roles in Justice League.
The costume designers explained that the change was meant to convey a more ancient, tribal feel for the Amazons to indicate the passage of time.
Many fans have pointed out the impracticality of the new armor and its lack of protection, while other fans have pointed to the similar lack of practical armor for any men in Zack Snyder’s past project 300.
8. Warner Bros. thought audiences would forgive Superman Returns if they ignored it
DC and Warner Bros. have had a few difficulties in successfully bringing their epic superhero franchises to the big screen. After Superman had disappeared from big-budget movies for many years, he was first brought back in 2006 by Superman Returns, portrayed by Brandon Routh. Superman’s return ended up being a disappointment for the studio, and any plans for a sequel were dropped.
Instead, Warner Bros. wanted to find a way to restart the franchise soon after their first failed attempt. They took pitches from comic book writers about rebooting Superman.
Comic book writer Grant Morrison explained, “I told them, it’s not that bad. Just treat Superman Returns as the Ang Lee Hulk. The Incredible Hulk has proven the audience will forgive you and let you redo the franchise.”
7. Two entirely different cuts of Suicide Squad were made because of studio interference
After David Ayer was drafted into writing and directing Suicide Squad, Warner Bros. reportedly would not give him the creative freedom to completely execute his vision of the project.
Ayer wanted a dark, edgy film similar in tone to past DCEU movies. Warner Bros. was still reeling from the failure of Batman v Superman, and executives wanted the film’s tone to match the offbeat trailers that fans had enjoyed.
The studio then hired the company that created the teaser trailers to make its own cut of the movie, separate from the cut that Ayer was creating. Both cuts were screened for test audiences, and Ayer worked with the studio to find a middle ground between the two different versions of the film.
6. Joss Whedon may not like Steppenwolf
Joss Whedon, who took over directing Justice League late in the project, drew fire for a subtle indication that he was unhappy with the movie’s villain, Steppenwolf.
Critics have pointed to Steppenwolf as a weak point in the movie, a forgettable villain that could have been much better. Whedon may agree, as he liked a Tweet calling Steppenwolf the “worst comic book movie villain of all time.”
Fans were unhappy with Whedon’s apparent criticism, seeing it as a disrespect to Zack Snyder. Whedon took over for Snyder after a personal tragedy forced him the leave the project, and Whedon made the movie his own with reworking and reshoots.
5. Ben Affleck was told to stay off the internet when he was cast as Batman
When Ben Affleck was first cast as Batman, it was not the most popular casting decision, and the studio knew the backlash would be strong. They warned Affleck of the potential reactions from fans and advised him to stay off the internet.
They even showed him negative comments about now-popular casting decisions. Affleck commented, “They send me [examples of] people who were in these movies who did a great job. These [comments] were like, ‘Kill him!'”
Affleck added, “They said, ‘Just don’t use the internet for a couple of days’ …. I saw the announcement. I look on this thing, and I looked at the first comment. It’s like ‘Ben Affleck’s going to be Batman,’ and the first person just goes, ‘NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!’ And I was done!”
4. Jared Leto made his costars uncomfortable by refusing to break character
When Jared Leto was cast as the Joker for Suicide Squad, he committed to the part by refusing to break character through the production of the movie.
Will Smith said, “I’ve never actually met Jared Leto. We worked together for six months and we’ve never exchanged a word outside of ‘Action!’ and ‘Cut!’ I literally have not met him yet. So, the first time I see him will be ‘Hey, Jared. What’s up?’ He was all in on the Joker.”
However, working with the always-in-character Joker made some of Leto’s castmates uncomfortable. Adam Beach (Slipknot) explained, “He sent [Margot Robbie] a nice love letter with a black box with a rat in it— a live rat. It was beautiful. Then he sent bullets to Will [Smith] with a letter.”
3. Joss Whedon almost made a terrible version of Wonder Woman
The DCEU’s female-directed take on Wonder Woman has been lauded for its strong, empowering tone. Before Wonder Woman got the big-screen treatment she deserved in 2017, Joss Whedon almost made his own Wonder Woman movie in 2005.
When Whedon’s script leaked around the time of Wonder Woman‘s theatrical release, fans could not help but notice the stark differences.
Whedon’s version of Wonder Woman would have been told from the perspective of Steve Trevor. Steve would have been teaching Diana about the world, which for some reason involved a lot of angry monologuing about how Diana didn’t understand things.
Also, it wouldn’t be an early 2000s female superhero movie without Diana dancing provocatively to distract men. Diana was also comparatively helpless and in need of rescuing. Fans have lambasted Whedon’s script and expressed doubts about his upcoming take on Batgirl.
2. Suicide Squad’s director wishes he had made the movie entirely different
Suicide Squad was far from being an acclaimed movie, despite being the only DCEU movie to bring home an Oscar. The movie had a few issues, exacerbated by other behind the scenes issues, and even writer-director David Ayer is willing to admit it could have been better.
He commented, “Yeah it was a big fun silly movie. It could have been a bigger success had I done it a little different. But it did great and made an impression.”
When a fan suggested on social media that the Joker should have been the central villain of the story, Ayer was receptive to the idea.
He added, “Believe me. I agonize over this. Yes. Joker should have been main bad guy.” Ayer will have another chance to make his mark on the DCEU for the upcoming Suicide Squad spin-off Gotham City Sirens.
1. Studio executives refused to delay Justice League to preserve their bonuses
Justice League overcame multiple challenges behind the scenes. The final cut was a result of an already rushed production that unexpectedly changed directors. The production was further complicated by the reshoots.
Henry Cavill was filming another movie and was contractually forbidden from shaving his mustache, meaning the mustache had to be digitally removed in Superman’s scenes. The film and the crew would have benefitted from more time, but there was reportedly a shady reason the movie was not delayed.
At the time of Justice League‘s release, Warner Bros. was going through a corporate merger. Delaying the film would also mean delaying the studio executives’ bonuses.
Warner Bros. executives also worried that they might not be with the company by the time the delayed bonuses would be paid. In the end, money won out, and Justice League‘s release date didn’t budge.
Can you think of any other dark secrets about the DCEU that Warner Bros. doesn’t want fans to know? Have your say in the comment section!
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