Last Friday we visited Warner Bros. Leavesden studios in southeast England to meet with Zack Snyder and the team behind Justice League. It was a last-minute trip and an unprecedented one at that given that we're allowed to discuss what we saw just a few short days later, long before outlets can report on what they may have seen on the sets of other DC movies releasing first (Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman).
But the goal was clear. Snyder and DC Entertainment don't want to hide. They don't want Justice League to be as "corporate" as Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice, and the crew and producers want to make it clear that they saw the fan feedback and that they're doing something different. Only 31 days in on an 111-day shoot, and nearly a year and a half before Justice League opens in theaters, we saw quite a lot on our day trip and tour of the sets, but they did hold back on obvious plot spoilers, avoiding giving away details on the main story.
We'll have a detailed play-by-play report of our day on the set of Justice League later but in the meantime here's a list of many of the things we saw in learned from exploring the production's War Room (where concept art and props were on display), the costume department, multiple sets, a sequence being filmed, a complete scene we screened, and several interviews with the cast, crew, producers, and director Zack Snyder who made the push to make our visit happen.
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34 Superman is in the Movie
Superman may have "died" in the climactic battle of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice but like most comic book character deaths, that means little. The final scene of BvS clearly shows the dirt above his coffin defying gravity and as producer Deborah Snyder put it best when we visited the War Room of the production for Justice League, "obviously Superman is part of the Justice League."
"And we know where we ended up with him," she continues. "And there wouldn't be a Justice League without Superman. But I think his way back to us we don't want to really spoil that. But he's here. He's back there," she finishes, pointing to a standee cardboard cutout of Henry Cavill suited up in the red and blue beside the other Justice League members.
Superman was entirely absent from the sets we visited, from the costume department, and mostly from the concept art as well for Justice League. According to producer Charles Roven and director Zack Snyder, Superman's return and role in the film is part of the story and not something they want to spoil a year and half out from release.
33 Justice League is Co-Directed by Joss Whedon
Following the tragic death of Zack Snyder's daughter, the director stepped away from Justice League's production to focus on his family. In his place, Warner Bros. hired Joss Whedon to finish the movie - following the filmmaker's mega-successful work at rival comic book movie studio Marvel. Whedon was understandably humbled by the assignment - and the director looks prepared to enjoy further exploration of the DCEU (as Whedon will helm a Batgirl movie).
Exactly what changes Whedon will make to Justice League are yet to be confirmed; though Affleck recently stated that the superhero team-up movie was now an "interesting product of two directors." How exactly that "produce" will play on the big screen remains to be seen; though, regardless of how it turns out, fans will without question debate whether or not Whedon, as opposed to other filmmakers, was picked because he could help shift the DCEU toward a lighter tone.
32 Justice League is a Very Different Movie Than BvS
We'll talk more about how the reactions to BvS may have affected Justice League and future plans for the DCEU later, but to make it clear up front, Justice League is a very different beast. It's tonally different, features more diverse characters, is less "dark," and is based on different source material.
We asked director Zack Snyder towards the end of our tour of the sets if he's intentionally making this movie different and if it's going to be more "fun."
Zack Snyder: Well, yes. I would say that to me it's like, again, this evolution -- Batman v Superman I think to me was inherently like, okay, even from conception, from the beginning, when we were first like, "Oh, let's get Batman in the movie!" -- and I've told you guys, we talked about why, how we got Batman in the movie, the whole story of "Who's he gonna fight?" You know, we fought Zod; that's pretty much an alien. Who does he fight next? What do you do? And we were in that -- I was with Chris Nolan, and we were just talking about this idea that, I think the first idea we had was like, "Oh, you know, we'll just show Kryptonite being delivered to Bruce Wayne's house at the end of the movie." I thought, "Oh, that's kinda cool. Huh..." And then I think from there we progressed on to this idea of like, "Oh, let's get --" like once we said in the room "Let's get Batman. What if he fought Batman?" then it's hard to go back. You can't take that away. You can't go, "Oh, you know who else is cool to fight? This guy." Once you say "Batman" out loud, it's gonna be Batman.
I mean, listen, if it's about putting more fun in the movie or embracing some of the more what I would call - because I think it's in all the characters inherently, sort of this larger-than-life, big, fun stuff, especially when you're dealing with the Justice League. You can't - and Flash and with Momoa, when you see, I've been out with Jason and the way that he's interacting with the group, even just in his Jason-ness, the contrast to Ben and to Gal is really interesting and fun. And just to finish my idea, what I was going to say about the "Batman versus Superman" concept, is that inherently also you've got to remember the whole thread of that was to draw those two into conflict. So I wanted to make sure that each of them was - and I felt like they were both evolving, in mind anyway. I think Superman was on his way toward something that I - I wanted to get to a Superman that had a reason to be Superman, like a reason to feel the way he felt about humanity, that we all understand from the comic books as far as he's pretty, as far as a moral compass goes, he's pretty much the thing. But I feel like he had to go through something to be that. And I'm not saying he shows up in this movie...
31 The Justice League Roster Confirmed
Batman and Wonder Woman team-up and agree to start recruiting metahumans to face greater future threats in the conclusion to BvS and this is what the first Justice League is all about.
Their first recruit is Barry Allen a.k.a. The Flash and later, Cyborg reluctantly joins them as well (we saw this scene being shot). These founding four are later joined by Aquaman who we presume - from what Ben Affleck hinted to us on set - may not see eye to eye with Bruce and/or Diana. We know the members don't all get along at all times and they may come pretty close to coming to blows with each other.
After Aquaman joins though - and we saw concept of him with the team planning a mission and on the Justice League team vehicle (more on that later!) - Superman will of course join as well for what we're guessing is the film's final battle.
For the purposes of the first Justice League movie the team is comprised of these six heroes shown in early concept art above. There have of course been rumors that a Green Lantern could appear, but those are just rumors at that point and there was zero evidence of Green Lantern Corps on our set visit.
30 History of Zeus and Old Gods Will be Explored
In the War Room, the first pieces of concept art that immediately stood out in addition to our first looks at the characters, locations, and vehicles of the first Justice League movie, were multiple examples of imagery of the ancient versions of the main factions. These shots of what the Atlanteans, Amazonians, and humans look like thousands of years earlier were labelled as "history lessons" of Greek Gods Zeus and Artemis.
Deborah Snyder: I was gonna say in terms of Zeus, I don't wanna like give a history lesson and that's actually a small section of the film that we go back and tell the story of the Mother Boxes, so everyone knows the history. He's in a very small part. Obviously the Apokoliptian technology, the Mother Boxes, gives it a whole sci-fi, you know, flare. But I think it's still our world that they're living in and the characters interact I think as they, you know, it won't be--
Charles Roven: They interact in a real way. Just like they did in Man of Steel. You know, we did say that there's other entities out there. Not just us here on Earth. And so we're just following that track.
29 Jack Kirby is a Major Influence
While we couldn't get story details including much info on how the DCEU will adapt the old and new gods from DC Comics, or what specific comic book stories the Justice League movie is drawing from, director Zack Snyder did at least tease the inspirations.
This film looks like it's going to be a bit more fun and funnier, but one of the things I love about Man of Steel is the crazy and weird opening on Krypton, and it looks like you're going back to some weird stuff with the boxes and demons.
Zack Snyder: You know, [Jack] Kirby's crazy in a great way, and there's a lot of influence, you know, sort of New God-y, kinda the New Gods stuff, and we were digging on that - and that's the Mother Boxes and that sort of Apokoliptian world and all that stuff. I mean, you can't really do that stuff without some - I don't know if I can call it "weird." [Laughs]
Larger than life?
Zack Snyder: Larger than life! Very nice, thank you. Yeah, but the kinda scope-y, sci-fi, kinda cool, what I think is fun stuff. But yeah, no, I think inherently when you start to talk about - also, a bad guy that would justify the Justice League, not to make a thing, to "Double Justice," but I think you have to have a good threat that's fun and kinda crazy. And the Mother Boxes are always fun DC weird tech, you know?
Speaking of which...
28 It's All About the Mother Boxes
As teased in a deleted scene from Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice featuring a holograph of Steppenwolf (more on that later) and in the in-movie teaser for the introduction of Silas Stone and Cyborg - who both appear in Justice League - Mother Boxes play a key role in the team-up movie.
The War Room featured concept art of each of the three Mother Boxes - each given to one of the ancient factions and their leaders, and each designed with that faction in mind, an idea production designer Patrick Tatopoulos had when pitching their look to Zack Snyder.
- Humans – Their Mother Box is bronze and looks straight from the comics (pictured above), simple in its design.
- Atlanteans – Appropriate matching the aesthetic of their underwater weapons and armor, the ancient Atlantean King was given a Mother Box that looks crafted from sea shells.
- Amazons – Their mother box was the most impressive looking, blood red in color, lined with greek text and intricate designs
It's the Mother Boxes which seem to be core to the Justice League story, to Cyborg's origins, to what the villains may be after, and perhaps even setting up future DCEU movies.
27 A First Look at Atlantis
From left to right on the first wall covered in concept art in the Justice League War Room the first pieces featured three underwater shots of Atlantis. It’s very vibrant with bright blues and greens. No shot highlighted the one-time surface city as a whole but they did feature Aquaman up close to the ancient king’s throne who in modern times appears as a skeleton (more on this later!).
Two of the three Atlantis depictions featured their Mother Box, first sitting at the top of a large spiral staircase pillar at the center of a circular hall and the other a close-up of Aquaman grabbing it - similar imagery to Loki grasping at the Casket of Ancient Winters in the original Thor movie. Around Aquaman, his Merman-esque soldiers swim around.
26 Aquaman's Supporting Cast is Introduced
Next were some concept art renderings of the main Atlantean characters who appear in Justice League before starring in the Aquaman solo movie. It was here in the War Room where it was first confirmed that Willem Dafoe is playing Vulko, a political adviser of sorts to Aquaman and a veteran among his people.
The concept art and costume department had the costumes for Aquaman and Vulko on display in addition to Amber Heard's Mera character and their soldiers. While Mera and Vulko seem to wear their full armor suits in their appearances in Justice League, Aquaman has a full armor body suit that offers a nod to the comics (orange tinted top and green lower half) while he also dons the costume seen in BvS and official photos and art showing lots of skin and tattoos.
- Aquaman - His full body suit nods to comics with orange-esque top and green bottom.
- Mera - Full green, gold costume, with scaled layered shoulders.
- Vulko - Elegant, even more translucent and weathered (almost silvery). Old and wise.
25 Tormund Was The Atlantean King
This had yet to be reported or officially announced, and the actor wasn't even listed on the wall of confirmed supporting actors in the War Room while we were on the set of Justice League, but Norwegian actor Kristofer Hivju was definitely the inspiration for the character's design.
Hivju, best known as the lovable Wildling leader Tormund in Game of Thrones, was depicted as playing the Ancient Atlantean King in art of the civilization from thousands of years in the past - back when Atlantis was still above water. There was also art of the ancient Amazonians and humans as well from this era, when each were given Mother Boxes, but in the present day, we also saw other art of Aquaman near the throne of Atlantis were the ancient king is just a skeleton.
24 Aquaman Wears Civilian Clothing
Of all the Justice League characters featured in the War Room concept art, it was a bit of a running joke among those visiting the movie set that virtually only Aquaman had a standalone piece of concept art featuring him in "civil attire," literally only wearing jeans.
Barefoot and bare-chested, Jason Momoa's take on Arthur Curry upper body makes up for it in full body tattoos.
23 Themyscira is Back
Next, the Amazonians. Concept art of Themyscira featured an island, with a old and round stone bunker on it near a cliff edge. One interior shot showcased a great hall of sorts, again old, plain with legions of Amazon soldiers around layers of the circumference, uniform in stance and look. This land will obviously be central to the solo Wonder Woman movie (in modern day and in WWI) opening in theaters before Justice League, but this movie will build off that even more, showcasing the Amazons thousands of years in the past and in the present.
The characters featured in the art:
- Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) - Gold everywhere, a sight to behold.
- Euboea (Samantha Jo) - Showing much more skin, attire mostly comprised of leathers compared to the others.
- Melanippe (Lisa Loven Kongsli) - Purple attire, unique in its vibrant colors.
- Queens Guards - uniform in their designs.
As we know from the Wonder Woman solo movie, Hippolyta is still Queen thousands of years later.
22 S.T.A.R. Labs is Explored
S.T.A.R. Labs had multiple pieces of art and plays a big part of the movie. Protective containment chambers with a figure wearing a Hazmat suit seemed to be the focus, with other art showing halls, all open concept and tech-y looking. One shot also featured a robotics looking lab with a robot arm extending from the ceiling. This place focuses on energy and robotics research and doesn't look like the S.T.A.R. Labs from The Flash TV show on The CW.
One piece was titled “Silas Lab” and of course is where Silas Stone, father of Cyborg who we saw in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, works. We know from watching a scene being shot that the "head of " S.T.A.R. Labs - presumably Silas - is kidnapped by Parademons which forces Cyborg into joining Batman, Wonder Woman, and The Flash to join forces and head underground in search of him.
21 Commissioner Gordon Has An Important Role
Ben Affleck is an exec producer on Justice League because he's involved more on the creative side now as well and there are elements in this movie that will directly connect to his in-development Batman solo movie, including of course Commissioner Gordon (J.K. Simmons) and Gotham PD.
In the concept art and on set we saw a sequence where Gordon has activated the bat signal on top of a Gotham rooftop to summon Batman and his super friends. Batman shows up with The Flash and Wonder Woman and are quickly joined by Cyborg, bringing the team-up to four heroes. They work with Jim Gordon to locate where a Parademon nest is and solve the mystery of high profile kidnappings in Gotham and Metropolis.
Gordon, as expected, sports a wig and thick, bushy mustache and wears and old trench coat and hat. He looks like an old school detective.
20 Willem Dafoe's Role
When news broke that Willem Dafoe was joining the DCEU, reports indicated he'd be playing a "good guy" Atlantean character and we can confirm this is indeed the case. Dafoe is playing Vulko, the political adviser of Aquaman.
His costume, similar to Aquaman's and Mera's is far more elegant, and even more translucent and weathered (almost silvery). It's clear he's old and wise compared to other Atlanteans.
19 Batmobile Upgrades
The original Batjet was destroyed in the Doomsday confrontation in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice but the iconic Batmobile returns, and this time it’ll be able to do a lot more. Some of the features of the vehicle developed but not seen in BvS will be on display in Justice League, including the vehicle’s ability to raise and lower itself.
The big changes however are in just how many weapons the Batmobile gets equipped with. The front and center hood turret is now a missile launcher with six tubes, and a pair of Gatling guns (bigger than the BvS guns!) sit mounted on each side of the hood closer to the vehicle’s front window. Wing-shaped elements of the vehicle near the side of the cockpit on each side house even more rocket-based weaponry, and the biggest addition of all is roof mounted cannon. This particular heavy gun, which we didn’t see on set, but was featured in the art, serves as artillery and the vehicle deploys stabilizing legs on each side before it can fire. For the gamers out there, think of how it functions like a StarCraft tank in “Siege Mode.”
18 Batman Gets A New Costume
Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck)'s main Batman costume is nearly the same as it was in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (pictured above) with the one exception in that there are thin armor plates scatted around the suit under the mesh for added protection. Later in the film, he develops and sports an entirely new outfit however.
Costume designer Michael Wilkinson compares Batman's second Justice League costume concept to an old school warrior where armor isn't always symmetrical, where sometimes one arm or shoulder could be more padded. The second outfit, the new one for Justice League, features far more armor and a new, more durable cape alongside heavy armor on the back of the cowl itself. It's difficult to tell from the artwork along since the actual costume is still being made on set, but it appears to have metal, silver-colored panels on it. It's not at all like the heavy armor he wore in BvS but on its right arm, there's an exoskeleton enhancement either to compensate for an injury or to give Batman more power with his right hook.
This second Batman costume also has built-in goggles which help catch the light in certain shots and are there with the function of helping Batman pilot a certain vehicle. It's unclear what vehicle that is, but it's unlikely the Batmobile, Crawler, or Flying Fox - it could be another, hover bike type vehicle we saw a sketch of in the War Room.
17 Batman Has A Mech
The Nightcrawler (“Crawler”) is an old military vehicle (not armed) designed by Wayne family in the ‘60s. It’s a four-treaded tank with each tread on a separate leg so it can walk. It’s special function is that at can pierce into surfaces with each leg to climb up walls or hang from roof. It’s big.
Its cockpit interior is based on function, like a forklift. It has one command seat and two fold-out benches. The art we saw depicts Batman driving it with Flash, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg tagging along as it travels through an underground tunnel network to the Stryker’s Island ventilation shaft (more on this later) which is part of an underground network abandoned in 1929 that was designed to bridge Gotham and Metropolis together. Here a big action sequence takes place where the four heroes, with the Crawler, battle Parademons near their nest.
16 The Justice League Has A Team Vehicle
Where the Crawler is an old machine that finds itself useful in Justice League, the modern Batman ride in the film is the new JLT trooper carrier (the “Flying Fox”). It's a massive state of the art flying vehicle that essentially serves as the Justice League team cruiser. It’s housed suspended from the ceiling in “Batjet Hangar” near a Gotham port. This location's design is inspired by Submarine bays and we walked through this hangar later in the day. The hangar itself is fully built and the interior rooms and cockpit of the Flying Fox will be constructed later in production for shooting.
The concept art of the Flying Fox also featured a gunner cockpit with triple cannons on each side, with another image showing Alfred (Jeremy Irons) serving as the gunner inside of it - continuing his role as field support as he was in BvS.
There are three levels of the vehicle, the top being the cockpit, the middle deck housing weapon racks and seating (where Aquaman was drawn in) and the lower deck has cargo space and houses the Batmobile as well as a deployment ramp for entering/exiting the vehicle.
15 There's Another Batcave (Batjet Hangar)
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice provided moviegoers with their first look at the world of Batman in the DCEU, and specifically the Batcave where Bruce Wayne and his closest ally Alfred work away on Batman tech, weapons, and the Batmobile. That underwater location however, accessible through the nearby lake isn't where the Batjet was located.
That Batjet may have been destroyed but the Batjet Hangar (or the Wayne Hangar as it's also known as) plays a major part in Justice League. It's where Batman and the newly formed Justice League will operate from and where the team vehicle, the Flying Fox, is stored suspended from the ceiling.
This location was a big focus on much of the War Room concept art from our set visit and we had the opportunity to walk through the actual set where computers, gear, tools, weapons are stored alongside the Batmobile, Bruce Wayne's sports car and a motorcycle also are. It is here where the Justice League will team-up to plan out the final battle of the movie.
14 Alfred Gets Into the Action
Jeremy Irons' Alfred helped out Bruce Wayne in more ways than one in BvS. He's not only his moral compass and a tinkerer for Batman's armor and gear, but he provides intel and tactical support while Batman is in the field. He even takes remote control of the Batjet during the film's best Batman battle.
In Justice League, Alfred steps up even more. Bruce and Alfred will help outfit and gear up the Justice League members (The Flash gets a new outfit from them for instance) and Alfred takes command of the gunner's seat while aboard the Flying Fox. The concept art showcase him aboard the ship, inside a gun turret.
13 The Flash's Costume
Like Batman and Cyborg, The Flash will have more than one 'look' in Justice League. Concept art spoiled that he'll have a superhero costume built by "Wayne Tech" later in the movie - a costume that matches the official movie concept art - but the primary costume Ezra Miller's Barry Allen wears is something he made himself. He's already The Flash by the time Bruce Wayne meets him.
Costume designer Michael Wilkinson walked us through his department and show us the full costume which is comprised of 148 pieces. They even built some cool Flash logo'd sneakers that everyone on set wish they would sell separately. With the help of two costumers, it only takes 4-5 minutes for Ezra Miller to get suited up.
The costume is very red in color, much more vibrant than Grant Gustin's costume from the The Flash TV series and features a layer of thin, plastic-looking armor panels. It's designed with funtion in mind, aerodynamic by necessity - hence the shape of the helmet and the aerofoils on the shoulders which direct air backward. There are also high-tensile wires all over the suit, holding it together and helping conduct the electricity The Flash generates when moving at super speeds.
12 The Flash's Apartment
Barry’s Apartment (not actually an apartment) was displayed in concept art in the War Room on the Justice League set and we also got to see a 3-minute scene of Barry coming here and being recruited by Bruce Wayne.
It's in an abandoned building, dirty, with garbage everywhere and walls covered in graffiti, but hidden inside is an advanced workstation Barry setup full of computer screens. The Flash costume, the homemade prototype mentioned earlier - his main costume for movie - sits on a mannequin in the right corner. When Barry arrives in this scene, Bruce Wayne sits in a chair in the left corner wearing a nice suit and waiting in the dark. We watched a rough cut of this sequence with missing effects of this sequence at the end of the day (more on this next).
11 Batman Recruits The Flash
As mentioned above, in the scene we were shown of Barry heading to The Flash HQ, he enters the abandoned building and powers it up, revealing the well-dressed man sitting in the dark. It’s Bruce Wayne who’s been waiting for Barry to return. This is the Justice League recruitment scene and plays out similar to the Tony Stark-Peter Parker scene in Captain America: Civil War. The effects weren’t in place and it’s a rough cut but Barry questions Bruce while continually being witty. Bruce knows Barry has powers but doesn't understand them. He shows Barry a printout from the surveillance footage we saw in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice as Barry continues to deny it, again with jokes, explaining that whoever is in the picture sure is handsome.
As Bruce walks towards the screens he turns and throws a Batarang directly at Barry’s face as time slows and we view the facial expression response from Barry as his shock is quickly replaced by awe as he notices it’s a Batman weapon and puts it together that Batman is in his workspace. He picks it out of the air and faces Bruce as time returns to normal for both players in the scene.
“You’re the Batman,” says Barry.
Bruce responds acknowledging that Barry’s power is that he’s “fast” to which Barry responds that this description is an over simplification. Bruce goes right into his pitch explaining that he’s recruiting a team of powered individuals, and Barry interrupts him saying “he’s in” which surprises Bruce. Barry explains that he needs friends. Barry is the first recruit to join Batman and Wonder Woman.
10 Cyborg's Alien Suit
Unlike the other Justice League members, Ray Fisher doesn't get to wear a cool costume on set. Instead, his character as Cyborg will be created with special effects in post-production so set he wears a motion capture performance suit. To create real lighting however, Fisher does wear a red light on his head to cover his one eye and another on the center of his chest.
There were multiple shots of the Cyborg armor in the War Room and even more - showcasing possible different variations - in the costume department. Since this outfit is done in post, they're still tweaking the final concept. It will however intentionally look alien in design, emphasizing that he’s comprised of Apokoliptian technology and not human “nuts and bolts.” Some shots feature his right arm transformed into an energy cannon - something he discovers, and another features battle mode with full helmet and two extra arms.
In art featuring some of the team in action, where Batmobile is being tipped on its side with Wonder Woman leaping into the air, Cyborg is scene hovering beside his team mates, in full battle mode with his head covered and with extra armors - reminiscent of what Ultron looks like in certain Marvel Comics designs.
9 Wonder Woman's Costume Changes
In the War Room of the Justice League set, where concept art and props were on display, we got a close look and hands-on with the gear Diana Prince uses when suited up as Wonder Woman. From her shield and sword to the Lasso of Truth, Wonder Woman's weapons - like her armor - are battle scarred and detailed with Greek text.
Her field outfit seen in Justice League is almost identical to that of what was shown in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and what we'll see again in the Wonder Woman solo movie with only minor differences, mostly technical for comfort and functionality. Costume designer Michael Wilkinson on the armor design:
"Zack [Snyder] and I love the idea of making her super fierce and legitimate as a fighter. There's nothing ornamental about our Wonder Woman. Everything's for a reason, from her protective metal armor, the way she has her rig with the cross-straps, her gauntlets, and the way she binds her hands. She's a formidable fighting power but we also wanted to combine that with a sense of grace because the culture of Themyscira is all about discipline and grace and compassion so we wanted to get that sense of aesthetic beauty in the design."
The team slightly tweaked the color by enriching the red
"We've always talked about it as if there are centuries of congealed blood from her victims on the breast plate [laughs] so we really went for the really rich blood red."
A few of the silvers around the logo have been exaggerated as well and the armor is worn down and "gritty" since it's been worn by Wonder Woman for "5000 years." For the Justice League production, 12-13 Wonder Woman armor suits were made, each hand-detailed with finishings (4-5 for Gal Gadot and 2-3 for stunt doubles alongside a few extras).
Wilkinson also told us while giving us a tour of his department that designing the civil clothes for Diana was perhaps the more rewarding part of his job. He says working with Gal Gadot and playing with a more elegant, European style with a character who clearly has resources offers a lot of creative, especially in designing attire from the ground up. She has quite a few sophisticated civilian sets of clothing.
8 An Insane Amount of Costumes Were Made for Justice League
Costume designer Michael Wilkinson spent over half an hour with us proudly showcasing the research and craftsmanship that went into designing and constructing the large variety of costumes needed for Justice League. There are 3000 extras to dress and 200 speaking parts for this movie and all costumes made on set.
To make this possible, 3D printers are used a lot and many of the costumes are designed in 3D, down to the solws of the boots (we saw example of this with Batman and Flash's shoes). After a costume is designed, they print out a 3D mill-out, sort of like a sketch before doing a final rendering.
Since costume design is all about storytelling, each culture has a very different look, even from Gotham (compared to Philadelphia) to Metropolis (compared to New York). The costume design workshop for Justice League has 50-55 people making the costumes, and another work room for sewn costumes and people who help dress the cast (another 40-50 people).
7 Why Steppenwolf Scene Was Released Right After BvS
Screen Rant recently visited the set of Justice League, and director Zack Snyder was asked about the Batman V Superman deleted scene, dubbed "Communion." He discussed the thought process behind the decision to release it so soon after the film's debut:
You know, that scene I guess was our way of - I kind thought like, "Oh, that would be a cool after-credits sequence." But then I was like, "I don't know, can I do that?" because Marvel kind of does that. "Is that a thing?" So we were like, "Oh! Well, maybe there's another way to do it, by just having it -" does that make sense?
6 Steppenwolf is The Villain of Justice League
The "Communion" deleted scene from the Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice League extended cut now makes a little more sense and it wasn't already obvious, Steppenwolf - the uncle of Darkseid - is the primary antagonist of Justice League.
He was only shown on our visit to the Justice League set on a single poster and only as a dark silhouette but at the time of our visit, Warner Bros. was very close to signing the actor who will play the character. Steppenwolf will be realized on screen entirely in CGI which shouldn't surprise anyone given his appearance in the BvS deleted scene hologram.
Working for Steppenwolf as his minions are of course the Parademons as seen in the "Knightmare" sequence of Batman V Superman.
5 Parademons Are in Gotham
Parademons are back in a big bad way in Justice League, and this time they're not just appearing in visions of Bruce Wayne. They're actually in Gotham and kidnapping people - including S.T.A.R. Labs scientists (that's why Cyborg joins the crew).
Wonder Woman seemingly had knowledge of these "flying monkeys" (Batman's words) and from what we saw on the Justice League set, we know they're nesting underground in a tunnel system and ventilation shaft underwater somewhere in between Gotham and Metropolis. That's where the Justice League take the "Nightcrawler" mech/tank out for a spin to engage them in battle.
From our time spent in the War Room on set, we saw two pieces of concept art detailing two versions of Parademons, gold and green variants. We also set additional art of them swarming the Crawler vehicle in one of the tunnels and another where they're battling the Batmobile, Wonder Woman and Cyborg on open land.
4 Justice League is More Inclusive
While visiting the Justice League, producer Deborah Snyder discussed the target audiences for each of their different films. When asked if Justice League could appeal to younger audiences more than Batman V Superman, Snyder explained:
“Justice League is much more inclusive. I think also you have like, it’s all about the characters too. And we have these two very young characters, Flash and Cyborg. And you know, they’re definitely lighter. I think they’re going to appeal to a younger audience… And you know, I think Suicide Squad has its own audience. And I think Wonder Woman has its own audience. And not just women, because I think the movie – I’ve seen a little bit of it – and Patty [Jenkins] is still working on her director’s cut, but I think it’s going to be broad-reaching. I think the darkest where we’ve been is where we’ve been.”
3 What DC & WB Learned From BvS Feedback
While touring a key set piece of the Justice League production, the Batjet Hangar and the team's base of operations, we regrouped with producer Deborah Snyder to ask about how the creative team and studio are reacting and/or altering their plans after the feedback from Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
There’s a vision you have to have you have to know where you’re going, but at the same time, you have to kind of know what the audience is going to want. So how do you sort of pivot from all those reactions to BvS to sort of institute that going forward?
Deborah Snyder: Listen, I think every film is a learning experience. Right? And we hear what everyone has to say because we care what the fans say, at the same time, every story that we’re telling is a completely different story, and I think what’s really great is that where we were going is kind of what the audience is wanting. We just had to take the characters from somewhere to bring them up to where they are and that was kind of our journey.
Snyder continued, laughing while responding to our next question, "people don’t like to see their heroes deconstructed." If Justice League and other future DC movies were embracing different tones and perhaps targeting different audiences, that doesn't mean Justice League wasn't affected by BvS. It was.
Deborah Snyder: Well, listen, I think it’s all a creative process and you’re always changing and evolving as you go. We’ve been, we’ve been working on the script, we’re aware of things. I don’t know if we’re making those decisions. I know we wanted to always make this film to bring up these characters. So obviously I think it’s affected the process in some way, but it was also kind of where we were headed.
2 Ben Affleck's Batman Solo Movie Update
After observing the first four Justice League members meet up with Commissioner Gordon on a Gotham rooftop, Ben Affleck took off the cape and cowl to chat with us. He mentioned that there's an unannounced release date for his Batman solo movie that he's directing and helping write but said he likely can't make that date since he's not yet happy with the current draft of the script and won't make it until it means his very high bar.
Ben Affleck: I have a script, we’re still working on it, and I’m not happy enough with it yet to actually go out there and make a Batman movie, for which I have the highest of standards, I would say. That’s something that would have to pass a very high bar for me. It’s not just like, “yeah, that might be fun, let’s go try this out.”
1 Official Synopsis & Logo Were Revealed
After returning from Warner Bros. Leavesden studios in southeast England, Zack Snyder's representatives sent over the following Justice League synopsis and above official logo.
Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
Directed by Zack Snyder, this marks the big screen debut of the Justice League, featuring an all-star lineup: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher.
Suicide Squad will arrive on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020.
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