Did ‘Avengers’ Director Joss Whedon Save ‘Justice League’?

The next film in the DC Extended Universe, Justice League, has been featured in the news cycle frequently over the last several months. A director shake-up, casting, and more have all contributed to this.

Now, with Joss Whedon leading the film’s reshoots, rumors are running rampant. Here’s what we know about how Whedon is stepping in for Snyder and what the results may be.

What happened to Zack Snyder?

Director Jack Snyder seen at the Batman V Superman Premiere

Zack Snyder had a family tragedy during the filming of Justice League. | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

After Snyder’s daughter died by suicide, he continued to direct, but later took a step back in order to spend time healing.

Joss Whedon, who had recently signed on to direct the upcoming Batgirl flick, took his place for the reshoots. Snyder will still receive the primary directing credit for the film.

Enter Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon attends premiere of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Director Joss Whedon attends a movie premiere. | Mike Windle/Getty Images

Having recently brought Joss Whedon over to the DC side of the comic film world, the writer/director seemed a natural choice to help out with Justice League. After all, The Avengers was a huge success, and if he can handle this superhero team up as well as he did the last, they’re in good hands.

But recent rumors claim that Whedon is doing more than just guiding the cast through reshoots. According to Express, “[r]ather than unite, it seems the Buffy and Avengers director has been tasked with saving and rebooting the entire movie and the cinematic future of the DC Universe.”

“The Justice League reshoots and the resulting changes being made to the film are significant. These reshoots — which are still taking place — are not standard pick-ups or additional photography,” a source told Bat-on-Film writer Bill Remy. “Why? Apparently, an early cut of the film was deemed ‘unwatchable.’ Thus, substantial changes to the film were ordered.”

Lightening up the film

Actor Joe Morton speaking at the Lucille Lortel Awards

Actor Joe Morton speaking at the Lucille Lortel Awards | Monica Schipper/Getty Images

The DCEU has been criticized for its very dark approach, a juxtaposition to the MCU’s more comedic tone. According to Screen Rant, this may change — “a more optimistic, earnest approach to the DCEU going forward” was promised by Geoff Johns, who was made co-runner of the cinematic universe just last year.

This has been corroborated by actor Joe Morton, who plays Dr. Silas Stone in the upcoming film. “I think what I heard was that there was a need from the studio to lighten up the film in a way, that the film felt too dark,” he said.


Cyborg's appearance in Justice League

Cyborg’s appearance in Justice League | Warner Bros.

While lightening the film can certainly be a physical aspect, it also extends to the heart and soul of it all — the characters. Morton explained, “Well, the stuff that I had to do were just really small little bits and pieces, nothing necessarily having to do with tone. I know that with Ray [Fisher], the young man who plays Victor, there were some adjustments that they made in terms of the tone of that character. “

How the DCEU handles Cyborg in Justice League could have a major effect on future films, as well. In response to questions about a Cyborg standalone film, Morton confirmed, “[A]s far as I know it is still happening. I believe, although I’m not entirely sure, that it should start sometime around 2020.”

Cliffhanger ending

Robin Wright seen attending the Les Fantomes d'Ismael Red Carpet and Gala

Robin Wright will have a key role in Justice League. | Antony Jones/Getty Images

As Stephen Jordan of Digital Trends reiterates, there was once a plan for Justice League to be split into two parts, similar to the original plan for Avengers: Infinity War (which was also scrapped). Despite the deviation, Snyder was still keen to end Justice League with a cliffhanger. And according to Peter Sciretta on his Slash Film Daily podcast, this is no longer the case.

“It was kind of like this down, dirty ending and from what I understand, that has been completely removed. The ending ends the movie like a movie and it doesn’t leave a cliffhanger now,” he said. “They did a reshoot with Robin Wright from Wonder Woman and that’s gonna be a flashback explaining who Steppenwolf is and he’s now the big bad of this movie,whereas Darkseid was this looming threat who won’t come.”

Still no Superman

DCEU released the 'Justice League' Movie Poster

Superman is missing in the Justice League movie poster. | Warner Bros.

As we previously reported, Superman is nowhere to be found in the Justice League trailers. This goes for the artwork as well, as seen in this new poster for the film.

At this point, it seems like Superman’s involvement will be kept under wraps until the film’s release in November. Still, it’s been fun to look at the minimalist artwork DC has released up to this point. Hopefully, we’ll get some more of it in the coming months.

Batman’s take

Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill speaking at a panel at Comic Con 2014

Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill speaking at Comic Con 2014 | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Speaking of the big two, how does Batman feel about all of this? His portrayer, Ben Affleck, had only good things to say about the switch up behind-the-scenes.

“It’s a little bit unorthodox. Zack had a family tragedy, and stepped off, which was horrible,” he stated. “For the movie, the best person we could’ve possibly found was Joss. We got really lucky that he stepped in.”

Affleck called the film “an interesting product of two directors, both with kind of unique visions, both with really strong takes.” He also added, “I’ve never had that experience before making a movie. I have to say, I really love working with Zack, and I really love the stuff we’ve done with Joss.”

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