The results from the release of Justice League have likely been underwhelming for DC Comics fans and Warner Bros. The latest reports say the film may not top the box office returns for Man Of Steel, though this does not seem to have scuttled the future of the DCEU at Warner. But over at The Wrap, fans are getting a look at what might’ve been with Justice League courtesy of the film’s original script.
The script predates the end of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and Zack Snyder’s Man Of Steel, with a universe that is already full of heroes and villains from across DC Comics’ history. As Slash Film points out, the script featured 28 supporting characters along with the main members of the Justice League and Darkseid as the main villain. According to The Wrap, the story would begin with a Darkseid’s minion Desaad stealing Kryptonite during what they call “a stunning set piece between Batman, Superman, KGBeast, Killer Croc and Lex Luthor that includes a shark tank shattering on the upper floors of Lexcorp Tower“:
* While 2016’s “Batman v Superman” would pit the heroes against each other, the 2011 script imagined them as allies who know each others’ identities and have coffee at Metropolis Diner, where they chat about other DC superheroes like Diana (Wonder Woman), Green Lantern, Green Arrow and Aquaman. They soon travel to Central City to recruit Barry Allen, aka The Flash.
* Amanda Waller and King Faraday run the Department of Metahuman Affairs and seize Killer Croc’s body. We also meet Abel Terrant (Tattooed Man), Copperhead, Barbara Minerva (Cheetah) and Solomon Grundy. Waller and Croc eventually met in 2016’s “Suicide Squad.”
* In deep space, Green Lantern John Stewart and Thanagarian Katar Hol, aka Hawkman, engage in a cool action sequence inside a space-station nightclub as they try to stop Kanjar Ro from helping Dessad weaponize the Kryptonite. The first act ends with Superman kidnapped by Steppenwolf and the Parademons and taken back to Apokolips.
Right from the start you can tell that the film wasn’t shy in featuring characters outside of the main DC Comics mainstays we have seen on screen for years. It also isn’t hesitating to leave Earth and show the universe outside of our own sphere of influence. This doesn’t mean the film wouldn’t shake some things up along the way, though according to The Wrap:
* By the start of the second act, Batman goes to Themyscira to recruit Diana, with whom he has a romantic history.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League also hinted at romance between Wonder Woman and Batman, but nothing at the level of this original script by screenwriter Will Beall. From this point, the story brings time travel into play, Superman discovers that Batman and Wonder Woman have a child in the future, and Darkseid kills most of Earth’s population, the Green Lantern Corps, and the Amazons. Luckily The Flash is around to travel back and warn everybody before it is too late. This leads to some heroics by the Justice League and a final scene planting seeds for a future story with Lex Luthor as president.
As The Wrap points out, all of this would’ve dropped long before The Avengers. It also would’ve been far closer to DC Comics tone than anything we’ve seen up to this point. The film borrows from stories by Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns, and Marv Wolfman. It also takes from the major events that DC Comics had executed and planned up to that point in 2011, including the company reboot with the New 52.
This screenplay ended up scrapped in 2013 according to different reports, leading to the version released in November. Whether the 2011 version could’ve existed with some polish is unknown, but it is interesting to see where the story could’ve ended up. Now if we could only find out if that Zack Snyder cut exists, fans will know every possibility for DC’s super team at the movies.