Deborah Snyder has praised the characters of Justice League as the true driving force of the movie, regardless of the director. Anticipation for Zack Snyder’s latest is reaching a fever pitch as it nears its Nov. 17 release, celebrating each of the main heroes along the way. Much has been said, however, about the difficult directorial process behind the scenes as a family tragedy forced Snyder to leave the project before he could finish it.
Fortunately, Warner Bros. was able to bring aboard a very capable replacement in Joss Whedon to complete the movie, as the Avengers director helmed re-shoots and rewrites among other things. But despite the work that Whedon put in to lend his own vision to the movie, Mrs. Snyder is adamant that Justice League fans should not worry about who was behind the cameras but about the characters in front of them.
Speaking at a press junket in London to promote the movie, Deborah Snyder was asked about the process of putting it together under unique circumstances. Whedon, who was already working with Chris Terrio and Zack Snyder on the script, stepped in to finish directing after Deborah and her husband Zack Snyder stepped away and spent time with their family to heal after the tragic loss of their daughter. But Deborah insists that the focus should be on the heroes Justice League’s actors bring to life and not the directors. Here’s how she described it:
“For us this whole thing is bitter sweet because we have been working on this franchise for the past, you know, almost 8 years when we started developing the script for Man of Steel, and then moved on to BvS and also Zack developed the story for Wonder Woman, which was leading up to the point of Justice League, where these charcters were finally going to come together, I mean this was a really great heroes journey and journey for these characters to be the characters that they are today, so not being able to complete his vision was extremely difficult, so that makes it hard, but we were lucky that we already had Joss working on script pages, and, you know, our feeling is that we’re hoping people don’t think about how the movie was made when they went to see it because these characters are bigger than any director. They’re bigger than any of us, and we love and adore these characters, and we love and adore all these people here.”
Questions arose over the summer whether WB brought in Whedon to lighten Justice League’s tone, considering Snyder’s usual tilt toward darker takes on comic book characters, but Ezra Miller said Snyder planned a lighter movie from the start. It doesn’t appear they strayed too far from that path, as Gal Gadot recently declared it Zack Snyder’s movie, while J.K. Simmons said Whedon was dedicated to completing Snyder’s vision. Still, Ben Affleck has spoken at length about Whedon’s style as a good complement for Snyder’s and described the process as “a really fun and inspiring synthesis of their two forms of storytelling.”
Whether or not Whedon injected his own storytelling sensibilities into Justice League, it’s clear that the movie was in good hands and the cast felt compelled to deliver a strong finished product for Snyder during a difficult time. Deborah made a salient point when addressing the challenges of making the movie with two directors: as long as the characters are great and the final cut is cohesive, it doesn’t really matter who was yelling “Action”.
Despite Deborah’s best efforts to take the focus off the behind-the-scenes trials, Justice League was inevitably going to face those kinds of questions. Especially when you consider the two directors’ very different styles, the movie has run the risk of having a cobbled-together feel with jarring tonal shifts. It remains to be seen how Whedon’s work changed the movie, if at all.
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