Zack Snyder’s ‘Justice League’ Series Would Have Killed Off This Beloved Hero

Another day, another detail about DC’s abandoned Justice League plans.

Thanks to recent hits like Aquaman, Shazam, and Joker, DC Films appears to have finally found its footing. In fact, the company is determined to diversify its projects even more going forward to reflect its successes to date. But, of course, this revelation was a long time coming.

At first, DC’s plan to leap headfirst into a shared universe fell flat. As just the third entry in the DC Extended Universe, Justice League was ill-equipped to unify the most iconic DC Comics heroes on the big screen. What audiences ended up seeing wasn’t even the filmmaker’s original intention.

The cast of 'Justice League'
The cast of ‘Justice League’ | TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

Zack Snyder’s original ‘Justice League’ plans

Fans and journalists have discussed the troubled production of Justice League ad nauseam. Some, in fact, have obsessed over how Man of Steel and Batman v Superman director Zack Snyder lost the chance to tell his version of Justice League. Even two years after the film’s theatrical release, the fight for Warner Bros. to “release the Snyder cut” continues.

So what was Snyder’s original plan? Well, initially, Justice League wasn’t one film at all; it was three. The complex narrative would have paid off some of the setups in Batman v Superman and culminated with the team’s showdown with Darkseid. However, Snyder’s five-film plan — including the Justice League trilogy — was ultimately shunted in favor of a more self-contained team-up film.

Warner Bros. brought Avengers director Joss Whedon in to rewrite and direct the new version of the project. Although Snyder retains directorial credit, the theatrical cut of Justice League merely hints at the epic tale the director had in mind. Now, at last, we have a key detail about how Snyder’s story would have ended.

Which DC Comics hero was destined to die?

In the past, Snyder has hinted at a tragic end for one of DC’s most famous heroes. Fans have long speculated this meant that Batman would sacrifice himself to save the world in his final Justice League appearance. Now Snyder has officially confirmed this was his plan all along.

The director has been spending a lot of time on Vero these days, discussing his Justice League cut and answering fans’ questions. So when someone asked him point-blank about Batman’s death, Snyder’s response cleared away any remaining doubt. “We always had that plan we would see that in [the] final chapter,” he said.

Fans still rooting for the Snyder cut’s release shouldn’t get too excited though. After all, Batman’s death would have played an integral role only at the end of the director’s proposed Justice League trilogy. Since we never even got to see the first part of his vision, no footage was shot for its sequels.

A fitting end for Batman

That being said, even the theatrical cut of Justice League makes it clear Batman’s days in the hero game are numbered. Ben Affleck’s performance as a more seasoned version of Batman would naturally lend itself to a definitive end to the character’s story. Just look at how much Snyder dipped into The Dark Knight Returns territory with Batman v Superman.

Presumably, Warner Bros. would have released Affleck’s proposed solo Bat-films in between Justice League films in much the same way the Marvel Cinematic Universe balances its solo and team-up films. Of course, both the MCU and DCEU also center on a core duo of heroes. Considering how Avengers: Endgame concludes, it makes sense then for Batman to sacrifice himself while Superman lives on.

When the two DC heroes meet, they instantly clash, but Superman’s death inspires Batman to be better. Batman laying down his life so that Superman and can continue the good fight has a lovely poignancy to it. It’s just too bad Affleck and Snyder will never be able to see this journey through to conclusion.