In October 2014 during a presentation for investors, Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara announced the slate of DC Entertainment feature films they had previously set dates for. It was an announcement a long time coming but also a slight misfire in how it was unveiled - in a corporate fashion off the cuff instead of something that was geared towards fans and the media.
Among the slate of films which included a minimum of two DC Comics adaptations every year for the foreseeable future were two flagship projects, Justice League Parts 1 and 2. Marvel announced something similar not long after by titling their third and fourth Avengers movies in 2018-19 as a two-part event, but have since backtracked on that by confirming that the pair of movies are standalone (new title ideas here!). Similarly, Justice League isn't in two parts, and the first movie - the one we visited the set of last week - is and apparently always was designed to be a standalone affair.
That is, according to producer Deborah Snyder. On an unusually early set visit, on day 31 of an 111 day shoot, with an even more unusual early embargo date (today!) we spent time with some the cast and crew of Justice League to learn what they're doing differently this time and how they're responding to the reactions and feedback from this spring's Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. They're trying to avoid the corporate-ness and media secrecy this time around (i.e. no more exciting reveals learned through investor calls), hence this major set visit and the big presentation Warner Bros. will have at San Diego Comic-Con in July which will include Justice League.
During our introduction to the film and walkthrough of the "War Room" where concept art and props were on display, we took the time to ask Deb Snyder about the recent news that Justice League Part 1 is simply titled Justice League.
So are you shooting the first part of the new Justice or…?
Deborah Snyder: We're only ever planning and we are only doing Justice League, just Justice League. One movie.
Not two parts?
Deborah Snyder: No.
By that she means when Justice League opens in theaters November 2017 it's not half a larger movie, it is its own movie, just like Justice League 2 will be its own film later. And towards the end of the day, returning to this room to watch a scene from the film (where Bruce Wayne recruits Barry Allen), we spoke to Zack Snyder's role in 2019's Justice League 2 and how connected it may or may not be to the first JL.
Is the second Justice League movie still tethered to this? Is that something that you still plan to direct? It was sort of announced early on in a shareholders meeting, but it sounds like they're closing that off for now?
Zack Snyder: I think we still have a release date.
This isn't "Part 1" though? You're not looking at it as a part one?
Zack Snyder: Oh, it is a complete movie. I mean, of course there's -
It's not going to end on a big cliffhanger?
Zack Snyder: You know, hopefully there's some reason to go - the movie doesn't end and you go, "Okay, well that's the DC Universe!"
The two-part nature of event movies, especially the final chapter in recent trilogies/series including The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and The Divergent Series has sacrificed quality storytelling for an attempt at doubling down on box office receipts and has resulted in a negative connotation associated with such a practice. This is no doubt why both Marvel and DC are shying away from their initial labeling of their upcoming event movies being spread over two films. Either way, a stronger standalone film is what the first Justice League should be just as Justice League 2 should be its own complete movie as well.
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.