There have been a lot of complaints about Justice League, and rightfully so. While it had moments where it was funny and the action was often exciting, there were a ton of problems with the story. Steppenwolf, the main villain, was never properly developed. The stakes never felt all that high. Main characters were introduced and thrown into the action without much in the way of backstory.
Come to find out, director Zack Snyder originally had a different vision for the film. The first cut of Justice League was much darker, and Warner Bros. brought in Joss Whedon to brighten things up a bit. The end result was a massive mess that completely missed the mark.
Here are a bunch of scenes that were supposedly featured in the original cut of Justice League but ended up being removed.
Aquaman resists Bruce Wayne a bit more
Originally, Justice League began with the scene where Bruce Wayne is recruiting Aquaman for the team. In the scene, Aquaman resists Bruce a bit more than what is shown in the final cut of the film. This makes sense, as we see later on that he has no real interest in joining up with other superheroes. The changes don’t really mesh well because it seems as though Aquaman is pretty quick to join them after initially resisting.
Having this scene at the beginning of the movie also makes sense for another reason. When we first see Ben Affleck as Bruce, he is clean shaven. Shortly after, he is seen with a full beard when chasing down Aquaman. Last, he is seen shaving the beard on his plane right home. How quickly does Batman grow a beard, anyway?
Steppenwolf talking to the Mother Boxes
One of the biggest complaints about Justice League is how weak the villain is. Steppenwolf is explained in a short flashback montage narrated by Diana Prince (aka Wonder Woman), but at no point does he ever present his motivation for collecting the Mother Boxes and wiping out Earth.
In one of the reported deleted scenes, Steppenwolf actually speaks to the Box he has taken from Themiscura. The essence of his mother, Heggra, is alive in the Boxes and would be released when he had them all together.Some of the dialogue from this scene was actually heard in one of the trailers: “No protectors here. No Lanterns. This world will fall. You will be free, mother.”
Even if the scene had extended the movie by an extra five minutes, it would’ve been worth it to understand Steppenwolf just a little better. Deleting this scene not only made Steppenwolf somewhat disposable as a bad guy, but it left fans scratching their heads over his motive.
Cyborg’s origin story
Another huge complaint about Justice League was how it introduced brand new heroes into the fold with little backstory. This is a critique of how Warner Bros. has handled the DCEU in general. It’s as if they’re rushing to catch up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Clearly they are, but they also haven’t put in the effort that Marvel has. Imagine how confusing and awful The Avengers would’ve been if Marvel hadn’t bothered to create Thor or Iron Man 2. The film would’ve been trying to introduce Thor, Loki, Clint Barton, Nick Fury, and Natasha Romanoff all at the same time.
That’s pretty much what Justice League is with Cyborg, Aquaman, the Flash, and Steppenwolf. In the original cut, Cyborg’s background is reportedly a bit more clear. It shows Victor as a young man, driving home from a football game with his mother. Angry that his father was unable to attend the game, Victor loses control of the car and crashes.
What happened leading up to Victor becoming Cyborg is talked about later in the movie, so viewers get a general idea. But it still felt like there had been a whole origin movie that had been missed.
More depth to Superman’s return
Continuing under the theme of criticism, fans and critics alike were somewhat shocked at how the return of Superman was handled in the movie. Bruce Wayne uses the Mother Box to bring him back fairly early in the story, and after about five minutes of confusion and a fuzzy memory, the Man of Steel was seemingly back to his old self.
In the original scene, there was a bit more depth to the whole thing. After Superman takes Lois Lane home to his farm in Smallville, he spends a little more time trying to figure out what’s going on. He even nearly attacks some civilians before Lane stops him. He’s struggling to control his powers. There is actually a moment where Jonathan Kent — in a cameo by Kevin Costner — appears to give his son some words of wisdom.
There is also some drama in the final act of the original version, rather than the Man of Steel just showing up. There’s a tense scene where Steppenwolf attempts to manipulate Superman’s mind to turn him against his friends. In the end, it was all simply cut out.
That missing trailer scene with Alfred
In the theatrical version of Justice League, Superman shows up at the very end to help Batman, Wonder Woman, and the rest battle against Steppenwolf. It’s a good thing he did, too, because the Kryptonian was instrumental in defeating the villain. But how did he get his suit, which was in Bruce Wayne’s possession? The process of taking Superman from his home to the end battle was poorly done, at best.
Then, there was the missing scene from the trailer. At the end of the very first Justice League trailer, we see Alfred working on one of Wayne’s many cars when he turns around and encounters an unseen character. We’re led to believe that it’s Superman, but there was plenty of speculation. After playing a prominent role in the trailer, this scene also ended up on the cutting room floor. It’s just an example of more details and explanation that were left out for the sake of brevity.
A much darker ending
The ending we saw in theaters was also completely different. We’ll pause for you to be shocked. The end of the theatrical cut saw Superman teaming up with Wonder Woman to take down Steppenwolf, who ends up being attacked and (presumably) torn apart by his own Parademons. All the while, Cyborg is working on separating the Mother Boxes. Superman comes to help him, the Boxes are separated, and everyone goes home happy.
Originally, Heggra reportedly attempts to warn Cyborg not to separate the Boxes. Steppenwolf grabs him to pull him away, ultimately ripping Cyborg in half and effectively killing him. A gruesome end for a character we were barely introduced to at all.
Darkseid kills Steppenwolf on Apokolips
As we previously mentioned, Steppenwolf is torn apart by his own Parademons before the whole mess of them are pulled through a portal. It was a fitting end for a villain that never felt like much of a threat, considering how quickly Superman was resurrected. And there is also the fact that Steppenwolf really never got an opportunity to explain his motives.
Originally, after killing Cyborg and unsuccessfully attempting to turn Superman against the rest of the superheroes, Steppenwolf returns to Apokolips to face Darkseid — who is revealed to be his brother. The story arc then wrapped with the tease that Darkseid intends to come to Earth to meet the Kryptonian himself. All of that ended up on the cutting room floor, instead completely glossing over Steppenwolf, Heggra, and Darkseid.
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