Rumors abound that Warner Bros. Pictures was looking into digitally replacing Kiersey Clemons as Iris West in Justice League (and the unofficially titled DCEU) for the movie’s home entertainment release. We don’t yet know if those plans have completely fallen through. Although Clemons’ brief appearance in Zack Snyder’s superhero team-up movie was left on the cutting room floor, the question is, was the studio really looking to replace the actress? If so, why?
Clemons was initially brought onboard to play Barry Allen’s (Ezra Miller) love interest when Rick Famuyiwa was tapped to direct The Flash solo movie. The two previously worked together on Famuyiwa’s 2015 breakout film, Dope, but since the director’s departure from the DCEU, his casting decisions have been in flux. Billy Crudup joined the cinematic universe as Barry’s incarcerated father, Henry Allen, one month prior to Famuyiwa’s exit (after first losing director Seth Grahame-Smith). But when The Flash movie was delayed, with seemingly no indication as to when the film would enter production, reports suggested that Crudup planned on leaving the project. However, his appearance in Justice League, though brief, would indicate otherwise. Clemons’ involvement, on the other hand, is still up in the air.
Shortly after Famuyiwa exited the project in October 2016, Clemons revealed that his involvement was the primary reason she agreed to play Iris West. Famuyiwa leaving was so upsetting to her that she seemed unclear if she would even continue in the role. She said: “Rick was one of the main reasons I wanted to do the movie. So him not being a part of it is obviously very upsetting to me… All I can do is give it up to the gods. Let’s see what happens.”
The Flash movie has changed significantly since that time, and the movie is even further removed from what Famuyiwa reportedly envisioned for the DC superhero’s first solo outing. The film was originally slated to release in March 2018 but was later removed from the schedule and subsequently retooled and renamed Flashpoint, thus indicating DC’s plans to base the upcoming Flash solo movie on the 2011 comic book crossover series of the same name led by comic book writer (and DC Films head honcho) Geoff Johns and artist Andy Kubert.
Because of Famuyiwa leaving the movie and DC Films moving forward with Flashpoint, the studio seemed to want to recast Iris West, either because Clemons wasn’t their first choice or perhaps to better reflect the comic book version of the character in that particular storyline. According to Reddit user LDN_Films (a VFX artist who worked on Justice League), Warner Bros. planned on digitally replacing Clemons for Justice League‘s home video release and then later recasting the role prior to Flashpoint entering production. However, that doesn’t seem to be happening anymore.
A collection of unfinished scenes excised early in post-production leaked online during Justice League‘s opening weekend, and one scene, in particular, showed Barry and Iris meeting for the first time (with Barry saving her from dying in a car accident). The scene was cut, and the unnamed VFX artist said the reason was so that Warner Bros. could replace Clemons without causing an uproar since none of her scenes made it into the final cut. However, with the scene leaking online, it appears the studio no longer plans on recasting the role for fear of fan backlash, especially if they were to replace Clemons with a Caucasian, redheaded actress – something closer to the pre-New 52 depiction of the character.
Although the source’s legitimacy was verified by r/DC_Cinematic‘s moderators, any report/rumor that originates on Reddit (barring news that stems directly from filmmakers and named individuals) should be taken as rumor. Still, this particular piece of information is certainly plausible considering that DC Films is currently in the process of setting up Flashpoint, something that may not have been on the table when Clemons joined the project.
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