‘Justice League’: The Major Change the Movie Made During Reshoots

It’s no secret that the DC Extended Universe is struggling to keep up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Despite the success of Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, the DCEU struggled to make its film Justice League a hit in order to remain prestigious in the world of superheroes.

Since Suicide Squad was a critical disaster, the DCEU put a ton of money and time into Justice League reshoots. Though reshoots are normal — especially with big-budget films like the $220 million Justice League — rumors of trouble continue to plague the film long after its release.

During production, director Zack Synder, who brought Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice to life, left Justice League, due to family tragedy. Acclaimed director Joss Whedon stepped in to finish the project, but many fans were concerned that with Synder’s absence, Whedon and DCEU have taken the opportunity to change the entire direction and tone of the movie. It doesn’t help that the DCEU is spending $25 million on reshoots, which would fund an entirely new mid-budget film.

So what exactly is happening with Justice League and all of its changes?

A different kind of Cyborg

Cyborg in 'Justice League' standing and staring straight ahead.

Cyborg’s appearance in Justice League | Warner Bros.

It seems that most of the reshoots for Justice League were focused on Cyborg aka Victor Stone. Since a standalone Cyborg film is slated for release in 2020, Whedon wanted to make sure that they got the tone of the character just right. (The legacy of the DCEU is going to depend very heavily on its next few films.)

Joe Morton, who stars as Cyborg’s father Dr. Silas Stone, in the film told IGN,

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.

Ray Fisher, who plays Cyborg himself, added his two cents when he said, “They’re brief if anything. Zack picked a great director to help clean up for us.”

Cyborg is extremely important for Justice League so this major change had to happen. After all, Synder called the character, “the heart of the film.”

All hail Wonder Woman!

Gal Gadot as 'Wonder Woman' standing in the rain and wind.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman | Warner Bros.

Since Jenkins’ Wonder Woman was the first critical and box office success that the DCEU had seen in a long while, word on the street was that the Justice League reshoots would focus on making Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince a focal point of the film. However, producer Jon Berg stepped in to clarify the rumor. Apparently, Wonder Woman was always going to have a major role in Justice League. (She is iconic AF after all.)

In an interview with Variety, Berg said, “Her role won’t change, but she was already playing a big role. People really responded to Gal [Gadot] in Batman v. Superman. We knew we had something special.” 

Taking a page from Deadpool?

Deadpool holding a gun in each hand and raising his arms.

Deadpool | 20th Century Fox

In 2015, Ryan Reynolds became Wade Wilson, and the witty and R-rated Deadpool became a modestly budgeted superhero smash hit. Since then, it seems that both Marvel and the DCEU have worked on lightening up the tone of their films while giving the characters more room to breathe onscreen.

Film insiders have suggested that Synder’s cut of Justice League was just too morose and Whedon was working on shifting the tone of the film. Morton addressed those rumors as well when he spoke to IGN. He said, “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.”

Notice how Morton didn’t really confirm or deny?

A whole new ending

Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg prepare for battle.

Justice League | Warner Bros.

It seems like Whedon also had to deal with reshooting Justice League’s ending. Rumor has it that Synder’s original ending included a major cliffhanger. The film was originally supposed to be Part 1 of 2, but that is no longer the case. Originally, Justice League was reportedly supposed to end with Darkseid’s (perhaps the greatest villain in the entire DC Universe) impending arrival on Earth.

Since Justice League is just a standalone film, a cliffhanger no longer really works. Instead, Whedon shifted the film’s ending so that it hones in on our heroes and what they’ve been up to after confronting Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons. 

Two directors are better than one

Batman staring straight ahead as he speaks.

Ben Affleck as Batman in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice | Warner Bros.

The DCEU has been downplaying the reshoots a great deal. However, Ben Affleck, who stars as Bruce Wayne aka Batman in Justice League, had something very interesting to say about them. He told Entertainment Weekly that Justice League is “An interesting product of two directors, both with kind of unique visions, both with really strong takes.”

He went on to add, “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.”

Though Synder is retaining his director’s credit for the film, Whedon spent months on post-production and reshoots. We won’t be shocked if the final cut of Justice League is drastically different from Synder’s original vision. Following the film’s release, it’s been revealed that Snyder is cutting ties with the DCEU.

Better battles

You can’t save the world alone. #JusticeLeague

A post shared by Justice League Movie (@justiceleague) on

Superhero flicks are known for their massive explosive battles. Some of the best moments in these big budget flicks happen when our favorite characters come to blows with the villain or antagonist that has been making their lives difficult.

It appears that Justice League’s battles weren’t exactly up to par in the first cut. Sources told Variety that Whedon’s Justice League reshoots would include “fixing some ‘connective tissue’; in bigger set piece battles and ‘punching up’ the dialogue to be a little pithier.” (Deadpool still has everyone shook.)

Since DC has snatched Whedon from Marvel,  Justice League‘s battles are in good hands.

No changes at all?

Despite all of the rumors, Warner Bros and DC Films have been adamant that no major changes have gone down with Justice League. A studio insider told The Wrap:

There has been no additional photography to date on Justice League, we have planned and will shoot additional pickups early summer. Additional photography has always been planned like most pictures in general, but certainly for a tentpole of Justice League’s size and scope.

We’ll just have to wait until Nov. 17 to see if all of the behind-the-scenes drama was worth it.

Follow Aramide on Twitter @midnightrami.

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