Zack Snyder's vision of the Justice League may not have been the one movie fans eventually got, but he's confirmed another DC superhero who was going to make an appearance: Ryan Choi, better known to comic book fans as The Atom.
The fans had previously spotted the appearance of Ryan Choi's name in Justice League in a digital list of all STAR Labs employees working for or alongside Dr. Silas Stone. The detail was taken to be an Easter Egg in a movie filled with plenty more. But now, Snyder has confirmed that an actor was cast to play Choi, although whatever plans he had for the character were scrapped along with a good chunk of his cut of the film.
While fans of The CW's Arrowverse may know The Atom best as the superhero alter ego of Ray Palmer, he would eventually pass on the mantle to Ryan Choi. Choi is the student of Palmer in DC's current continuity, but from the moment he was introduced as a fan of Palmer's who took his teaching position - and later, his physics-defying, shrinking Atom technology - he was one of the most prominently and proudly featured Asian characters in DC's roster.
So when Vero user 'Michael Van Huang' inquired as to the identity of a Star Labs scientist beside Cyborg's father in a Justice League promotional photo, Snyder confirmed he had tweaked Choi's occupation for the DCEU (hat tip to Scott of Squadcast on Twitter).
Unfortunately, most DCEU fans will instantly know that the above shot, like the STAR Labs staff and storyline they expected, was completely removed from the movie once reshoots and post-production turned over to Joss Whedon. So while it may seem like actor Ryan Zheng (The Great Wall) may have been only an Easter Egg, that may not have been the entire plan.
It's possible that Snyder intended to include Ryan Choi in STAR Labs, either referred to by name or not (but having him included, and portrayed by an actor of Asian descent would, and will, please fans). But knowing that production photos confirm an action scene for Justice League took place at STAR Labs, the opportunity would have been present to tease Choi's coming powers. After all, Snyder took heat in the past for teasing too many DC superhero origin stories.
Sadly, while the armored Atom appears in Injustice 2 - giving a good idea of what a movie suit of Atom armor could have resembled - the character of Ryan Choi now resides on the DCEU cutting room floor. So hopefully getting to see The Atom battle Black Manta in video game form, instead of a live-action movie, will help soften this blow.
Would you have wanted to see The Atom teased, or even appear in the DCEU movie universe? Or would a small cameo giving a wink to the fans been enough for you? Sound off in the comments.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this article stated the actor in the photo was Orion Lee, credited as 'STAR Labs Scientist.'
Source: Vero (via Twitter)