This article contains SPOILERS for Justice League.
Justice League's opening Batman sequence was originally supposed to be a comedic scene until Warner Bros. got involved and changed it. It's no secret that the first live-action Justice League movie ran into several obstacles during production. First, the studio altered their plans for their unofficially titled DC Extended Universe following Batman V Superman's release. Second, director Zack Snyder exited the movie after suffering from a personal tragedy, leaving former Avengers director Joss Whedon in charge of overseeing post-production.
A number of scenes were either altered, trimmed, or cut during post-production, evident by the handful of Justice League's scenes that leaked online this past weekend. Among the various gripes people have with Justice League, one of the main issues is that the film feels like a product of two directors, not one vision. Some people blame Whedon for that particular issue as well as the poor CGI in some scenes, while others blame Warner Bros.' interference. However, people may be surprised to find out that one scene which has been praised was actually written and directed by Whedon and re-edited by Warners.
Actor Holt McCallany told Men's Fitness that Batman's opening scene in which he encounters his first Parademon on-screen was written to be comedic, but Warner Bros. felt that it would be a mistake to open Justice League with a comedic scene, so they edited it into the scene that ended up in the final cut.
"I love Joss Whedon. My scene with Batman was originally conceived as a comedic scene. That’s how Joss wrote it, and that’s how we shot it. I thought it came out great, but the studio felt it would be a mistake to open the film with a completely comedic scene, so it was re-edited a little bit. I was disappointed, but when I got home to New York I found a bottle of my favorite Champagne and a note from Joss that said 'To Battles Lost. Gratefully, Joss.' I can’t tell you how much it meant to me that he took the time to write to me. Joss Whedon is a class act. I had the letter framed."
Although many people protest studio interference with superhero films, particularly with the DCEU, this may be at least one instance in which Warner Bros. was correct. A comedic opening for Batman that sets up the rest of the film may not have been the right choice, but it would be interesting to see what Whedon initially had in mind for the sequence.
McCallany's quote does speak volumes to Whedon's contribution to the film (which was more than 33 percent in script changes to warrant co-writing credit and approximately 15 - 20 percent in additional footage), especially with regard to how much comedy was added during post-production. Some of Whedon's added dialogue comes out later in the film, such as during the Superman vs. Justice League scene after the Last Son's resurrection, when Batman utters to himself that "something's bleeding."
The majority of footage filmed under Whedon's direction were reshoots with some reworked dialogue, though Batman's opening sequence was an additional scene shot from scratch. Justice League's mid-credits scene - Flash & Superman's race - was also an additional scene of Whedon's creation; however, the film's Lex Luthor/Deathstroke post-credits scene was Snyder's doing (something he may have actually spoiled in a social media post last year). Considering all the scenes that were cut and changed, DCEU fans are hoping Warner Bros. will release a Snyder cut of Justice League. We'll just have to wait and see what happens on that front.
Source: Men's Fitness
- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019