Warner Bros v Justice League: Dissecting the Drama

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Could Warner Bros Interference Be The Downfall of Justice League?

As negative news stories make its round in the trades, it becomes more apparent something is wrong with Warner Bros. and Justice League. The drama is noticeable when director Zack Snyder removed all things related to the movie from his Twitter. Snyder must’ve known it would stir the pot. This Twitter drama came days ahead of a major Warner Bros panel at SDCC and followed months of behind-the-scenes drama.

A few days ago when Variety broke the story about costly reshoots, the film got another slashing from the media. At the center of that news story is Joss Whedon. There are talks that his reshoots would cost about $25 million and take longer than most post-production reshoots. Things also get messy when discussing if Whedon will get a directing credit for the film. Some reports say he will share the credit, while others report he is credited as producer and screenwriter. This type of report isn’t the first issue for Justice League, but it is one of the more problematic situations.

But what is the inciting incident for this growing dilemma? Finding the root of all this drama is hard as there’s plenty of factors leading to this.

“Yeah, Geoff and I have had a great working relationship, even on Batman v Superman, and on Wonder Woman we worked together really closely, and we have a project coming up that we want to do together… I can’t talk about that.”
-Zack Snyder on working with Geoff Johns

Zack Snyder’s relationship with DC and Warner Brothers goes back years. Nothing felt off until the backlash of Man of Steel. Box office returns were fair, but the grim take on Superman angered comic book purist. The relationship between studio and director was damaged more with the handling of Batman v Superman. Like his usual persona, Snyder ignored most of the hate towards his first DCEU film and went forward with his vision. Warner Brothers saw that and stepped in with their theatrical cut.

Everyone had re-grouped, and Justice League was on the way. Tragedy sadly struck Zack Snyder’s personal life, and he attempted to work through it. It would come out soon that he needed to take time off and he would not be working on re-shoots. Joss Whedon, who allegedly was working on re-writes and some reshoots, announced that he’d be stepping in and completing Snyder’s film.

“We were saddened by the events that caused Zack Snyder and Deborah Snyder to have to leave and turn the reins over to Joss Whedon. He was already working with us on some of the scenes for the additional photography that we’re gonna be doing shortly, and it was fortunate that Zack convinced him, and he agreed to step in and finish the movie, help Zack finish his vision, and we’re excited about that.”
-Producer Charles Roven

Original reports said Whedon would provide “connective tissue” between the set pieces. That would include some added dialogue for team building and exposition. One of his first moves was firing Junkie XL and replacing him with Danny Elfman. That sounds more like an entire reworking than a “reshoot.”.

Once that news broke, the conversation for Justice League got messier. Anyone who hates Zack Snyder’s work says that Joss Whedon is saving the project, others became upset Whedon is attempting to “steal” Snyder’s movie. Look at the headline pictured below from the website Wired:

Justice League

This article comes only months after saying the first Justice League trailer is “everything wrong with DC’s movie universe.”. The author ignores the fact that both previews are similar with only extended sequences and that tease ending separating them. Personally, it looks even more like a Zack Snyder film with the apocalyptic red toned set piece and more slow motion. With Joss Whedon coming into play, it gives the DCEU naysayers more reasons to give the movie backhanded compliments. Moving ahead toward the release, the conversation will no longer be clear on who did what and why this will succeed or fail. If it does even $5 million more than Batman v Superman, people will sing the praise of Joss Whedon. If the film flops, bloggers will be quick to blame Zack Snyder still. It’s a no-win situation for not only the original director but Justice League itself.

“They’re brief if anything…Zack picked a great director to help clean up for us.”
-Ray Fisher (Cyborg) on the reshoots

That leads us up to the Variety story about Justice League reshoots becoming a problem for the actors. One of them, in particular, is Henry Cavill. Cavill recently grew a mustache for Mission Impossible 6, since he had finished with his Superman look. The actor is asked to do JL reshoots during the filming of MI6. The problem being Paramount says Cavill can not shave his mustache. As petty as this sounds, it’s expensive and would explain the reshoot costs. Warner Brothers will either have to shoot less of Superman than they planned or remove this stache in post-production. Why would the studio cut it this close to the November release date and focus on such VFX heavy reshoots? These aren’t the first film reshoots ever and is becoming part of every film’s schedule, but this is just strange.

As stated earlier, it is hard to nail down the source of the behind-the-scenes problem. The only clear thing is that this will affect the final product. Best case is the movie is great. That is believable after some impressive trailers and this year’s Wonder Woman. If it is praised by the right influencers and makes enough money, all could be forgotten.

Warner Brothers needs this happen before going forward with more films. This self-sabotage sets the studio and more importantly the movies up for failure. For every Wonder Woman, there is one massive Suicide Squad. After being praised as a comic book studio where directors could shine and very little drama, Warner Brothers is making up for lost times with Justice League.


What do you think? Is Warner Bros. going in the right direction or is this too messy?

Let me know your feelings in the comments below!

“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.”

Justice League stars Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, and Ray Fisher as the superhero team. The film hits theaters on November 17th.

EJ Morenohttp://Vimeo.com/EJMoreno
Who is EJ Moreno? Is he a trained physician? No. Is he a former Miss Universe contestant? Possibly. With a bachelors degree in film and a love of pop culture, he brings an alternative view to the world of pop culture journalism. Follow him on Twitter @EJKhryst and check out his film work at Vimeo.com/ejmoreno

1 COMMENT

  1. Warner Brothers is going in the wrong direction. When they completed the Dark Knight Trilogy, they had the opportunity to truly create a superhero universe that could have been as epic as the Lord of the Rings. But Zack Snyder decided on his own to make the universe more dark and fantastic. I don’t think it was a coincidence that Man of Steel – which was influenced by Christopher Nolan – turned out to be the best of the Snyder directed films. It was the least dark and more grounded film. His decision to forego instead of build upon the Dark Knight Trilogy was and is a huge mistake. Joss Whedon is not going to do any better. While he might make more fun films, I have doubts it will reach the epic levels that could have occurred.

    What Warner Brothers ought to do is end the current DCEU and do a soft reboot taking up after after Man of Steel, the one movie worthy enough to be linked to the Dark Knight films. The four films should anchor the universe. Their next film should be a proper sequel to Man of Steel and then do a proper epic and definitive Wonder Woman reboot. Snyder claims that the reason he could not continue with the Dark Knight vision was because it was too grounded in reality. It was not. There are plenty of fantastic elements in the Dark Knight films. Snyder self identified that he was not able to make grounded films. Warner Brothers seems to have taken his word for it that it could not be done. That was wrong and in my opinion it has cost the studio billions in opportunity costs; lost ground compared to its studio rivals; and negative public relations that now makes everything they do suspect. It did not and still does not have to be that way. I have already seen a treatment in which the Dark Knight universe and Man of Steel are blended together masterfully as well as a an epic Wonder Woman story that would become the most definitive origin story for a hero that deserves it. Just because Snyder does not know how to do it, does not mean it can’t be done.

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