A lot of DC characters were cut from Justice League. In the nearly two years since the release of the DCEU team-up, more and more information has come to light to illustrate how drastically the film’s theatrical incarnation deviated from Zack Snyder’s intended vision. Snyder stepped away from the film in May 2017 following a family tragedy, with Warner Brothers assuring fans that the Joss Whedon-directed reshoots were normal pickups.
However, it has since become abundantly clear that the reshoots altered the film far more heavily than the studio had admitted was the case. Since the film’s theatrical release, the push for the "Snyder Cut" of Justice League has only grown stronger and more visible. Zack Snyder himself has added plenty of fuel to the fire, releasing a steady stream of never-before-seen images from his cut of the film on social media, and the ongoing demand for the Snyder Cut is unlikely to subside any time soon.
Furthermore, it has also become clear that not only were the tone, flow, and running time of Justice League massively tampered with, but a large number of supporting characters were completely excised from the film. The following is a list of characters known to have been removed from the theatrical version of Justice League.
The supreme force of evil in the DC Universe, Darkseid’s appearance in Justice League seemed to be a given. The character was first set up during the Knightmare sequence of Batman v Superman with the appearance of the Omega symbol seared into the post-apocalyptic desert. Later in the film, Lex Luthor ominously intones to a furious Batman that “He’s hungry, he’s found us, and he’s coming!” in the aftermath of Superman’s death. While this could be interpreted as referring to Steppenwolf (whose appearance was cut from the theatrical version but restored in the "Ultimate Edition"), it’s safe to say that DC fans largely interpreted this as a tease for Darkseid.
Yet, when the theatrical version of Justice League arrived, Darkseid was completely omitted, save for a single reference by Steppenwolf” ("For the Unity. For Darkseid.") As was revealed in ensuing months, however, Snyder had big plans for Darkseid in his version of Justice League. The film’s history lesson not only played out with a young Darkseid (known by birth name of Uxas) in place of Steppenwolf, but also saw the ruler of Apokolips go head-to-head with the God of War himself, Ares. Darkseid would have also had a looming presence throughout the film, including being seen by the League on the other side of a Boom Tube in the film's climax, following Steppenwolf's beheading by Wonder Woman's sword. With Ray Porter having been revealed as the character's actor earlier this year, Darkseid is by far one of the biggest factors driving fans in their calls for the Snyder Cut’s release.
The deletion of the fight sequence between Darkseid and Ares during Justice League's history lesson also essentially removed the latter from the film, his appearance amounting to a "blink-and-you’ll-miss-it" axe chop against Steppenwolf. Veteran stuntman Nick McKinless assumed the role of Ares in the Snyder Cut, undergoing a rigorous training regimen to achieve Snyder’s vision of “skin like paper and veins like worms”, dropping down to just 6% body fat. However, despite being specifically contracted to portray Ares, McKinless only received a stunt credit in the theatrical version, along with not receiving any of the expected residuals for his work on the film.
The sinister right-hand man of Darkseid, Desaad serves as the master torturer on the planet Apokolips. During a recent exchange with a fan on the social media app Vero, Snyder revealed that Desaad was also set to make his big-screen debut in his Justice League. The exchange specifically related to the line “No protectors here. No Lanterns. No Kryptonian.”, heard in the trailer released for the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con, but removed from the film’s theatrical release. Snyder responded that the line is spoken to Desaad by Steppenwolf. While there’s no other information at the moment regarding the extent of Desaad’s appearance in the film or who portrayed the character, it nevertheless indicates that Snyder took a much deeper dive into the world the New Gods in his cut of Justice League.
Wonder Woman’s aunt and warrior mentor, Antiope was set to appear in the history lesson, with Robin Wright reprising the role. With Antiope having been killed off during the attack on Themyscira in Wonder Woman, her involvement in repelling the Apokolips invasion was doubtlessly intended by Snyder to give viewers a greater glimpse into the character’s past. However, like Darkseid himself, Antiope is nowhere to be seen in finished film.
With Wright set to return as Antiope in next summer’s Wonder Woman 1984, fans will have the opportunity to be reacquainted with the character, but nevertheless, her intended appearance in Justice League remains another casualty of the changes made to the film.
Ryan Choi (The Atom)
The third man to adopt the mantle of “The Atom” in the DC Universe, Ryan Choi’s appearance in Justice League was confirmed following a fan post on Vero. Referring to a scene in S.T.A.R. Labs deleted from the theatrical cut, Snyder was asked to identify a character standing to the right of Silas Stone, to which he matter-of-factly replied “Ryan Choi”. While it’s unlikely that audiences would have seen the character don his suit and show off his shrinking powers, the inclusion of Ryan Choi, seemingly played by Ryan Zheng, could indicate a plan to be expanded upon later in the franchise. As it is, there no presence of Choi at all in the film.
Per Zack Snyder, Ray Fisher's Cyborg was intended to be the heart of Justice League, yet when the film hit theaters, his story was by far the most impacted by the reshoots. The Snyder Cut took a much deeper dive into Victor Stone’s backstory, including his life before the car accident that nearly killed him, along with Victor spending much of the film getting used to his new powers.
Core among the elements of Victor’s story left out of the film was the complete removal of his mother, Elinore Stone, played by Karen Bryson. Mrs. Stone would’ve been seen cheering in the bleachers for her son during a football game, before being killed in the car accident that left Victor’s body in tatters. Later, during the film’s climactic battle, Victor was to enter the Mother Boxes to prevent the Unity from completing. However, Victor is tempted to join forces with Darkseid with a vision of his body fully restored, and both of his parents by his side (his father, Silas Stone, having been killed by the Mother Boxes earlier in the film.) With the complete removal of Elinore Stone from the film, it only further illustrates just how dramatically Cyborg’s very central role in Justice League was reduced.
A key scene featuring Iris West, played by Kiersey Clemons, was seen in the aforementioned Comic-Con trailer, being rescued from a car accident by Barry Allen. The scene leaked online shortly after Justice League's release, albeit with unfinished visual effects. Currently, there’s no way to determine just how significant West’s role in the film ultimately was, though the snippets of her rescue by Barry would point to Snyder likely intending it as her introduction in the film. Iris West is Barry’s major love interest in the comics, along with being the aunt of the future Flash, Wally West, so her appearance in the film was undoubtedly intended as a primer for her appearance in Barry's solo outing.
Despite being removed from the finished film, audiences have had the chance to become intimately familiar with Nuidis Vulko due to his major supporting role in James Wan’s Aquaman. While the full extent of Vulko’s role in the Snyder Cut is unknown, his appearance nevertheless served as a major set-up for Arthur’s solo film.
As revealed by Jason Momoa himself during the Aquaman press tour, Arthur’s ending in the Snyder Cut saw the future King of Atlantis being warned by Vulko and Mera, played by Willem Dafoe and Amber Heard, of a coming conflict relating to Atlantis. Arthur, in turn, declines their request for assistance, saying "I’m going home to see my Dad." Zack Snyder himself tacitly confirmed this to be the case with his subsequent release of a still from the scene in question on Vero, captioned with those very words. Jason Momoa, meanwhile, swiftly threw gasoline on the fire by openly calling for the Snyder Cut’s release in another interview shortly thereafter.
While the scope of Vulko’s role in the Justice League Snyder Cut beyond the ending can’t be ascertained with the information on hand, his was likely another minor appearance to lay the groundwork for an upcoming solo film. Nevertheless, that Aquaman received a much more direct set-up with Arthur’s sendoff in the Snyder Cut than was the case for the theatrical version is incredibly revealing.
Kilowog & Tomar-Re (Possibly)
The removal of Green Lanterns Kilowog and Tomar-Re from Justice League is a bit more complicated. Even in the theatrical version, it can be seen that Snyder was laying the groundwork for the Green Lantern Corps in the larger DCEU. As seen in the history lesson, the Green Lantern Yalan Gur appears briefly before being killed by Steppenwolf, his Power Ring then flying off to find a new candidate (the zig-zagging the ring does here also suggests that this may possibly have been an Omega Beam from Darkseid in his cut that was repurposed for the theatrical version). Following the film's theatrical release, a visual effects artist who worked on the movie also revealed in a Reddit AMA that Kilowog and Tomar-Re were set to make an appearance during an end credits scene. However, at present, there’s no hard evidence to suggest that it was included in the Snyder Cut either, and was likely scrapped prior to Snyder’s departure from the film.
Given all the alterations made to Justice League that have been revealed, and the 214-minute runtime of the Snyder Cut, this could very well just be scratching the surface. Even minor characters, such as a Viking King played by Greg Draven (on IMDb) in the history lesson, were seemingly just as likely to be on the chopping block as larger ones. That’s also to say nothing of the sheer number of characters whose roles were either severely reduced or altered, especially Superman and Cyborg. With more and more of the cast and crew of Justice League speaking up, it's only likely to add greater curiosity towards the drastic changes made to the film, and increase the demand for the release of Zack Snyder’s original cut. However, until and unless Warner Bros. approves the release of the Snyder Cut, every character removed from Justice League will continue to remain unseen.
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