Evaluating Movie Rumors
Before we get into the rumors themselves, since the DCEU coverage is so rife with them, let's take a moment to look at the typical lifecycle of a movie rumor and how their validity can be properly evaluated.
The rumor mill is always churning in Hollywood, particularly when it comes to reshoots. The problem is, depending on the source of the rumor (and their source, and potentially their source's source), many details can be lost in translation and out of context by the time they're officially reported. Oftentimes, the rumors wind up being spot on, such as the claim that most or Rogue One's third act was being remade - a decision that resulted in a critical and financially successful film, but just as often they are unfounded and turn out to be false, such as the claims that Wonder Woman was a mess.
Rumors almost always start when somebody hears or sees something. The rumor gains life once it's communicated to someone who publishes it, usually trying to add some sort of context, then all bets are off once it hits the internet. Recent events with the Han Solo movie are a great example. Before the sudden firing of Lord and Miller from the untitled Han Solo movie, there were some rumors floating around that Lucasfilm was not pleased with Alden Ehrenreich's performance. After the directors were replaced by Ron Howard, people continue to point to the fact that an acting coach was hired for the Han Solo actor as a continued cause for concern, even though other reports revealed that Lord and Miller were actually directing a movie that was far too comedic, with Ehrenreich's performance more akin to Ace Ventura than Han Solo. While it's definitely possible that there are other issues with his abilities, the full context, including his stellar performance in other projects, suggests that the problem turned out to be a directorial issue, not a performance issue, although that context wasn't available when the rumor first spread. So, the rumor that an acting coach had to be hired may very well be true, but the conclusion, based on limited context, that Ehrenreich isn't a good match for the part, is not a logical assumption to make once all other factors are accounted for.
The problem is, as a reader, it's often very difficult to determine the contextual awareness of the source of a rumor, particularly when the source is anonymous. Obviously reporters trust their anonymous sources, but how can you? In addition to context, how much of what is reported opinion and how much is fact? Recent rumors that Warner Bros. is looking to replace Ben Affleck as Batman in the DCEU are another great example. Again, it could be true (even though Affleck denied it), but looking at the full picture provides a little more context. Shortly after this rumor surfaced, it was announced that the Flash movie would be called Flashpoint, signaling that it will likely draw heavily from the comic event of the same name. In that alternate timeline story, Bruce Wayne is killed instead of his parents, so the role of Batman is adopted by Thomas Wayne. If the DCEU keeps that aspect of the story, then that means there is truth to the fact that Warner Bros. is looking to replace Affleck, but it could only be because they're using Jeffrey Dean Morgan for that particular story. True or false, if that's the situation, then it's easy to understand how that context could be lost between the source and the reporting.
In addition to the lack of contextual clarity, that original report from THR also asserted that the impetus for phasing Ben Affleck out of the role was at least partially due to his age, even though Ben Affleck was primarily chosen for this older version of Batman because of his age - not in spite of it. Looking at the big picture, it's incredibly easy for the game of telephone and reporting to turn a fact: "Batman will be recast for Flashpoint" into an out of context fact mixed with inaccurate conjecture: "Ben Affleck is being replaced as Batman because he's too old," and then the nuance and context is all lost as the story is mass reproduced by dozens of sites as the story slowly fades into the either as "Ben Affleck is too old to continue playing Batman in the DCEU." Regardless of the truth to the original report, this now generally accepted assertion is completely innacurate.
The last aspect of internet movie rumors is the way in which they're recycled over time. The rumors that Wonder Woman was a mess is a great example here. The initial rumor was supposedly written and published online by a disgruntled WB employee. It was immediately reported by dozens of outlets, but it would periodically be revived by someone simply saying something like "yeah, I heard Wonder Woman has major issues," as the story slowly becomes something like "multiple sources have claimed Wonder Woman is a mess," when it's really onle the one rumor still. When this rumor replication happens behind the scenes, it's even more damaging, as a single rumor making the rounds behind the scenes quickly becomes "multiple sources asserting" the rumor.
Not every rumor can be contextualized, and it's almost impossible to know exactly what's causing a rumor to circulate behind the scenes, so it's obviously important to take all rumors with a grain of salt. The track record of the person or outlet can be a major factor in that part.
But what does this mean for Justice League reshoots?
- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- Cyborg (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020