Comparing the Beall script with other Justice League film projects
Many scrapped Hollywood scripts have scenes or storylines that are eventually recycled in later drafts. That said, from what we know about Beall's script, he doesn't seem to have lifted too much from existing Justice League stories, nor from George Miller's previously scrapped Justice League Mortal project. There aren't many borrowed elements to be found in this year's Justice League movie, either. There does seem to be one significant similarity between the DCEU JL, Mortal, and Beall's story, however: the titular team is forced into a fight with Superman.
Infighting amongst would-be teammates is almost an expected story element in the comic book movie genre, and all three versions of the Justice League film feature the biggest one DC can muster. As you know, this year's JL film saw the team come to blows with the Man of Steel after bringing him back from the dead. Supes was apparently just a wee bit confused by the whole, suddenly being alive again thing, and after an accidental provocation from Cyborg, he gets into a brief dustup with the Leaguers before being brought back down to earth by Lois Lane. Superman is mind-controlled into fighting the Justice League in both Mortal and the Beall script, though it's Wonder Woman who manages to snap him out of it in those two tales. Conflict between teammates is always a great source of drama in superhero team-up flicks, and all three iterations of the JL script take full advantage of that.
Another similarity between the Beall project and the Justice League film that's currently in theaters is the decision to cut founding members of the team from the proceedings. Both projects opted against bringing Martian Manhunter to life, and while you're surely aware of the lacking Green Lantern presence in the DCEU team-up, Beall's script instead left the King of Atlantis on the backburner. Which is pretty odd, considering that he's the screenwriter behind the 2018 Aquaman movie.
What this means for the Aquaman solo movie
Will Beall's Justice League script aimed about as high as you can possibly aim with a screenplay, and it certainly isn't lacking in fan service or potentially epic moments. What it is lacking, however, is Arthur Curry, the man who can talk to fish. While Aquaman does reportedly get a shoutout in a first act conversation between Batman and Superman, he's completely MIA from the rest of the film. Studio meddling was said to be a major factor in the behind-the-scenes struggle to bring the Justice League to the big screen this time around (sound familiar?), so it's possible that Warner Bros. executives were against introducing Aquaman in the film and therefore forced his exclusion. Given what we know about the storyline, it wouldn't have been an easy feat to introduce the character, either, since such a large portion of the storyline takes place off-world. This script is over-stuffed enough; introducing a whole oceanic sideplot just to bring in one more hero wouldn't have made much sense.
Looking at the bigger picture, Beall's less-than-promising work on Justice League doesn't exactly inspire added confidence in the 2018 Aquaman movie, for which he's the sole credited screenwriter. Outside of his work in the comic book realm, the only credits on Beall's filmography are ABC's Castle and CBS' Training Day -- and, of course, his groan-inducing work in 2012's Gangster Squad. That stinker squandered an A-list cast (Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, and Emma Stone all inexplicably signed on for this one) in a sea of laughable dialogue and by-the-numbers plotting. 2012 was a long time ago, but man, we really hope his Aquaman screenplay proves to be a major step up.
In the end, the Justice League movie we did get was definitely a mixed bag, though we have to imagine that we ended up with the lesser of two evils. Beall's script would've cost a fortune to produce (possibly being even more expensive than the DCEU movie's final price tag), and unless its plot was way less complex than The Wrap is making it sound, it's hard to imagine that a comprehensible movie could have come out of it. Fingers crossed that Aquaman is a bit more reigned in.
Source: The Wrap
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018