Now that we’ve been recently reminded George Miller makes gorgeous action movies, interest has been reignited in the Justice League movie we could have had. Miller was set to direct Justice League Mortal in 2007 to be released in 2009. The cast was lined up: Armie Hammer (Batman), D.J. Cotrona (Superman), Megan Gale (Wonder Woman), Adam Brody (The Flash), Common (Green Lantern), Teresa Palmer (Talia al Ghul), Santiago Cabrera (Aquaman), Hugh Keays-Byrne (Martian Manhunter), and Jay Baruchel (Maxwell Lord).
A documentary is in the works about how the production fell apart, but the short version is that the culprit was a combination of the WGA strike, another version of Batman already being filmed (Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy), and a major portion of the funding falling through by only one vote in a government committee. As Miller recently spoke about in the Happy Sad Confused podcast, they needed a newly-passed rebate from the Australian government, but the government employees didn’t yet know if the new rebate was for films made in Australia or made about Australia, so they erred on the side of keeping their jobs and rejected Justice League Mortal by one vote. In retrospect, it should have qualified.
The actor who was set to play Superman, D.J. Cotrona, has spoken to /Film about the movie we missed out on. He seems to like it. Besides calling Miller “one of the greatest filmmakers of our time” and dubbing Mad Max: Fury Road “an absolute masterpiece” (agreed), he spoke about his love for the Justice League Mortal story Miller was planning:
“The best way I can describe it is: George Miller’s mind is so operatic and big and expansive, it’s a shame that the world didn’t get to see what he would do with superheroes. It was allegorical, like a story of Greek Gods almost. He was doing things with the Superman character and Batman character, and all the iconic favorites, that’s never been done before. Watch Fury Road and you can only imagine what he would do with those iconic characters.”
Between Cotrona’s description and the recently released concept art, it’s depressing we didn’t get to see Miller’s Justice League realized, as Zack Snyder is now helming the franchise for a Nov. 17, 2017 release date. Cotrona put a positive spin on it, though, saying Mad Max: Fury Road “was the film that George was meant to make.”
Indeed, but can you imagine if this directorial vision and mastery of practical effects was applied to a superhero tent pole film?