Major spoilers for Justice League.
There’s a big villain in Justice League and it isn’t Steppenwolf: it’s reshoots. The exact nature of the DCEU’s infamous reshoots has been debated endlessly over the past year – was Joss Whedon executing a massive course correct or simply helping out Zack Snyder? Whatever was true, most had assumed we’d never truly know.
However, nobody quite expected the reshoots to be quite so rampant or obvious in the movie itself; Justice League is a mishmash of tone, narrative and character, with glaring leaps in feel and some downright-shocking CGI that makes cracking the case a little easier than expected. It’s a Frankenstein’s monster of a film, with Whedon taking Snyder’s body parts and trying to craft something new, and the clues to what really went down are right there on the screen.
We’re not going to be assessing whether the changes made throughout Justice League‘s long journey to the big screen ultimately helped or hindered the film here (but be sure to keep on eye on Screen Rant over the release weekend), but instead take an analytical deep dive into all the changes that were made to Zack Snyder’s film by Joss Whedon. As a warning, it’s going to get messy.
Joss Whedon Reshot More Than They’re Saying (This Page)
Joss Whedon Reshot More Than They’re Saying
Before looking at everything that was changed, it’s important to know what exactly happened behind-the-scenes. The accepted narrative is that it was mutually-decided Zack Snyder’s first assembled cut of Justice League wasn’t up to scratch and so Joss Whedon came in to do some rewrites to punch up the script, allegedly mainly in character moments. Then Snyder stepped down following the tragic death of his daughter Autumn, and Whedon coming on as a stand-in replacement. He conducted the reshoots and the rest of post-production, seeing the film over the finish line for his colleague.
All through this, we’ve been told several things over and over: Whedon was following Snyder’s blueprint and wasn’t going to change the tone or style; the reshoots weren’t that extensive or impactful on the finished product; and that, above all, this was still Zack Snyder’s picture. To cap it all off, the week of release we were told by producer Charles Roven that Whedon in total shot around 15-20% of the released film.
However, having seen the film, that definitely doesn’t seem to be the case. The reshoots are more obvious than Fantastic Four‘s and betray a major tonal shift; this is mainly through inconsistencies, but overall Justice League feels a result of a concerted effort to move away from Man of Steel and Batman v Superman to something more Whedon-y. Indeed, the film is working hard to distance itself from the prior installments narratively, with callbacks stripped down and only ever there with a sheer sense of reluctance. Add to this that vast swathes of the trailers are nowhere to be seen and it’s clear the changes are more seismic than we’ve been led to believe.
It would really seem that major alterations were mandated after Snyder’s original version (the one that was widely cited as being “unwatchable“), with Whedon subsequently tasked with “fixing” it. We can’t give a proper estimation of the exact amount of the film reshot, especially as a lot of Snyder’s footage and scenes were completely cut, but feel safe saying the percentage of the film that comes from Joss is much, much higher than Warner Bros. are saying – and the knock-on impact of his changes go even bigger than that.
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