It would seem that today was Justice League News Day and we didn’t get the memo. Or the invite to visit the set of Warner Bros’ upcoming superhero-palooza that was extended to international film press (grumble grumble!). Those who were lucky enough to get a peak behind the curtain of the Zack Snyder directed follow-up to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice all proceeded to dump their findings online late yesterday afternoon resulting in a flood of new details about the film. And some of it is pretty major! [SPOILER ALERT FOR BATMAN V SUPERMAN]
Firstly, WB and DC Comics have now officially unveiled the film’s logo (up top) and film synopsis (down 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.
Directed by Zack Snyder, this marks the big screen debut of the Justice League, featuring an all-star lineup: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher.
That logo (which also comes in an alternate black on white version) is certainly not very revealing, other than the star being a subtle throwback to the classic logo of the comics. The synopsis also doesn’t tell us a lot more than we already know, other than the fact that WB are still going to milk this whole “Superman is dead” angle from BvS even though even the chewing gum that stuck to my shoe as I exited the cinema has enough sense to know that he’s really not and will be back on screen in no time. But according to Snyder there’s a good reason for that.
“I wanted to get to a Superman that had a reason to be Superman, a reason to feel the way he felt about humanity, that we all understand from the comic books,” Zack Snyder told reporters. “As far as a moral compass goes, he’s pretty much the thing. But I feel like he had to go through something to be that.”
More important than that wishy-washy explanation though, the synopsis also hints that Batman may be a little less grim this time around, as Affleck revealed to reporters.
“He’s a little bit more sardonic, [with] a little more irony. He’s a little more of a man on a mission this time. As opposed to, he was so full of anger because of what happened at the Black Zero Event. That sort of rage that possessed him. And now he’s on a mission to get this group together; to constitute this League. But more of that sort of Bruce Wayne, wry, ironic gallows humor comes out. He’s not like a ‘haha’ jokey, but that sort of stuff comes out a little bit. A bit of his darker humor is present.”
“This is now not a guy at the end of his rope but kind of a guy at the beginning. Starting over, reborn and believing. Finding hope. The thing that he’s hopeful for, he’s holding onto desperately. And he really believes in this idea of forming this group.”
That lighter tone doesn’t just end with Batman it seems, as one of the big things mentioned numerous times to reporters is that Justice League was not going to be as oppressively grimdark as BvS was, as Affleck continues:
“There’s definitely room for more humor. It’s not going to be… DC movies are I think by the nature still a little bit more Gothic or mythic then some comic book movies are. But that movie was a really dark, heavy movie that was rooted in Dark Knight Returns, which was a heavy, dark book and this is not that. This an an evolution from that, bringing together these characters who’s had their origins and it’s about hope and working together and the kind of conflicts you have with working together. It’s this world with all these other superheroes, so there’s comedy that goes into that, trying to work with other people, and the idea of people working together to accomplish the same goal is the root of all comedy in my view. So there’s definitely an opening for some fun it it, but it’s still recognizably these characters…”
Director Zack Snyder also proved the lighter tone by revealing to press an early cut of a scene in which Affleck’s Batman meets Ezra Miller’s Flash for the first time, and which is reportedly “witty, warm and contain[ing] genuine laughs”. That’s quite the tonal about-face, but Zack Snyder explains that it’s all part of the character progression.
“When I saw the scene, I was like, ‘Oh, God, this is fun. This is an interesting way of understanding how the movies have gone in a progression. By no means is this the whole movie. There are parts of the movie, of course, where they’re facing enemies and they have to get their stuff together. Look at the Batmobile, for God’s sake. You know, they’re going to be drawn into conflict. I’m a fan of ‘Magnificent Seven’ and team-making movies. So it’s fun for me to finally get to this point now in the progression of these three movies where we are building a team and making the Justice League.”
And that team building also allows the movie to be “more inclusive” as producer Deborah Snyder – wife of Zack – explains how these new characters will be more widely relatable.
“‘Justice League’ is much more inclusive [than ‘Batman v Superman,’]. It’s all about the characters, too. We have these two very young characters, Flash and Cyborg. And you know, they’re definitely lighter. I think they’re going to appeal to a younger audience.”
As for that “newly awakened threat” mentioned in the synopsis, the rumours have now been officially confirmed that it will indeed be New Gods baddie Steppenwolf that will be the film’s primary antagonist, with Snyder and co more than likely holding back his ultimate evil nephew Darkseid for Justice League – Part Two. Steppenwolf was of course glimpsed in that BvS deleted scene, and there he’s pretty much just a creepy bit of CGI, but according to Deborah Snyder the human casting for the Apokolips general is already pretty far along.
“We’re not completely closed [but] we’re close.”
Snyder of course didn’t want to spill all the beans completely, but did confirm that Parademons – Darkseid’s flying monstrous footsoldiers, glimpsed in Batman’s “knightmare” sequence in BvS – would be featuring quite a bit in Justice League – apparently as part of some plot in which a series of scientists are being kidnapped from around the world – which strongly suggests that Darkseid may still show up in some form. Those winged beasties are not the only way though that this movie will be linking up all the alien god mythology of Darkseid and co with the more terrestrial affairs.
In a neat new twist on the established cannon of the comic books, producer Charles Roven reveals that it will actually be a piece of advanced Apokalyptic technology that will tie it all together.
“So as I believe those of you who did see ‘Batman V Superman’, there was a bit of a tease or an easter egg about these guys (points to the “Mother Boxes” shown in the deleted scene released a few months ago). These Mother Boxes are best used when they work in three’s and back before there was a history, there were these primary Mother Boxes (points to an Amazonian Mother Box, an Atlantean Mother Box and a Mankind Mother Box). The Atlanteans were under water, the Amazonians and actually the Old Gods teamed together and decided based on an event that happened that these Mother Boxes were to be placed in the care of the Amazonians, Mankind and the Atlanteans.
So that allows us to get into some of those environments in our story and of course Atlantis is underwater so that’s what these conceptual designs are (points to concept art drawings for Atlantis in the ‘Justice League’ movie which include weapons, costumes and more that define the culture). Over here (walks over and points to more concept art of the Amazonian world including wardrobe, locations, etc.) and finally (points to more concept drawings for the world of Man including a good look at S.T.A.R. Labs).”
To be fair, this does smack an awful lot of Marvel’s ultimate mcguffin of the Infinity Stones, which is certainly not going to help WB’s cause one bit when uninformed fans start accusing them of ripping Marvel’s Thanos and his plot (For the record: in the comics, it’s an official fact that Thanos was actually a blatant rip-off of Darkseid by creator Jim Starlin). That being said, at least it gives Darkseid a valid reason to actually visit our little mudball in space.
But speaking of Atlantis, it’s also been revealed that Willem Dafoe’s mystery role will be that of Vulko. And if you actually know who that is off the top of your head, then congratulations you’re actually a bigger comic book geek than I am, which is no small feat. In the comics, Vulko was an Atlantean ally to the Justice League, but naturally had more to do with the half-human King of Atlantis, Arthur Curry aka Aquaman (Jason Momoa). He featured most recently in the 2012-2013 “Aquaman”/”Justice League” crossover “Throne of Atlantis.” He’s described as a “loyal servant to Aquaman, [who] showed Arthur Curry his birthright and home of Atlantis. Vulko even incited the violent Atlantean War just so he could get Aquaman to reclaim the throne”.
It’s speculated that Dafoe’s Vulko may just be introduced in Justice League, but may then feature more prominently in the James Wan directed Aquaman solo movie. After all, you don’t just bring on an actor of Dafoe’s stature just for a cameo.
And staying with Aquaman, how is the super powered ruler of geographically speaking the largest nation on the planet by far going to be on a team taking orders from Batman, who’s nothing more than a rich guy in a Halloween costume?
“Aquaman is a very strong character played by a very strong actor with a very strong personality, so he’s not a guy who has anytime in his life to take orders from people. He’s got a kind of strong, stubborn, powerful energy, so it’s not like any of these characters show up and immediately go like, ‘yes, sir – what should I do Mr. Wayne?’ It’s about getting very disparate people who are used to being powerful to try and work together and it’s about how hard that is. There are some characters who really hit it off with each other and some that don’t and almost come to blows, and it’s about trying to tame that kind of energy.”
As for how these characters will look, the press got to see concept art and some behind-the-scenes shoots of the movie, giving us our first descriptions of the character’s costumes. Amber Heard’s Mera – Aquaman’s love interest/eventual queen, is described as being “a sorceress and a badass” and whose costume reflects this “being made of a new, polyurethane material that almost makes it looked like scale skin, but not. It’s very form fitting, and the concept art makes Heard look fierce”. Dafoe’s Vulko also has “long hair and a faded, very courtly outfit that makes him look like a knight – albeit an Atlantean version. The costume also gives off the idea that Atlantis was once above water but over time they’ve evolved to be more in-tune with their environment, having a gilled look.”
Meanwhile it seems that Ezra Miller’s Flash will have two costumes in the movie, with Waynetech eventually giving a streamlined, high-tech suit. Before that though, his outfit is described as being “based on the idea that he’s testing things out, making it look beaten up. It’s a prototype suit, and designed to protect him as he moves through space. So there are rigid pieces on the front, with blades and venting making the costume aerodynamic. He’s a smart, resourceful young man who’s stolen 3D printers, and has hacked into NASA. As he moves he generates electricity, with him being a kind of human sized electrical coil, making the wires which tie the over 100 pieces together light up with a CG effect.” That certainly sounds like it will be very visually striking, which is apparently enhanced by the fact that Miller will be sporting a very lean and lanky frame, making him stand out from his bulked up costars.
It’s also been revealed that Ray Fisher’s Cyborg won’t be sporting any costume though – at least not a physical one (sorry, folks, you won’t be seeing his boxers), as his outfit will be completely CGI, prompting Fisher to shoot his scenes “in what looks like a giant sock”. Concept art of the finished design was revealed though, with it being described as being “very sophisticated and very robotic, with lots of space” and bearing a slight resemblance to “the original version of Robocop”. Hmmm… Interesing.
And I think that’s all for now, but check back here later tomorrow when Darryn will be tackling all the reveals on Batman’s shiny new toys – including a new team vehicle – as well as some details on his solo movie.
UPDATE: AICN dropped a potentially huge piece of info that I don’t really see anybody else reporting on. They’re saying that according to the producers, there’s only going to be one Justice League movie, despite WB’s release schedule clearly showing a Justice League – Part One for next year, and Part Two for 2019.
“We were only ever planning and we are only doing just ‘Justice League.’ One movie,” “Justice League” producer Deb Snyder told this weekend’s assemblage of nerd press.
“So no two parts?” somebody asked.
“No,” replied Snyder.
What?! There’s been no official confirmation from WB that they’ve dropped their second JL movie, which would be really strange seeing as every bit of info we’ve seen thus far points to the fact that that’s where Darkseid will truly show up. Could this maybe just be a case of lost in translation? Maybe it’s the Snyders themselves who were only ever planning to stick around for one Justice League movie before handing the reins over to somebody else?
Justice League is scheduled for release on November 17, 2017[Sources: JoBlo, CBR, ComingSoon]
Last Updated: June 21, 2016