Even though it ran longer than even most Martin Scorsese movies, the “Snyder cut” of Justice League seems to have gone down pretty well. It got (mostly) good reviews, a lot of people watched it, and there was nothing like the furor that descended upon another Zack Snyder picture: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. That one grossed a pretty penny back in 2016, but it was roundly criticized for its relentless doom and/or gloom. But we now know that it was almost a teensy bit doomier and gloomier.
According to /Film, Snyder and co-writer Chris Terrio appeared at Justice Con over the weekend, and they got to talking about that title, which was also a sticking point for many, earning widespread social media mockery upon its reveal. Thing is, Snyder and Terrior agree: It’s not a great title, and it wasn’t theirs. Not that their attempts at naming their epic superhero grudgefest was much better.
“I remember when there was a back-and-forth that I had with the studio, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was like the only title that [Warner Bros. liked],” Snyder told the crowd. “The whole ‘v’ instead of ‘versus,’ it was like this crazy negotiation. I was like, ‘Guys, can’t we just do something like Son of Sun and Knight of Night, or something that’s a little bit more poetic?’ And they were like, ‘Absolutely not’ [Laughs]. I was like, ‘Is it a court case?’”
But there were other title ideas, which admittedly were less pretentious than Son of Sun and Knight of Night. One angle execs considered was not calling it “Batman v Superman” at all. Instead, they thought about prematurely leaning into the ensemble team that wouldn’t assemble for another year. They thought about calling it Justice League: Foundations or Justice League: Rising — an attempt, Terrio said, to “suggest that this movie was going to be the beginning of the Justice League, even though it didn’t really look like it.”
Terrio has already talked about how he doesn’t like the title they went with. “I did not name the script,” he recently told Vanity Fair. “In fact, I found out what the movie was called along with the rest of the world on the internet. I was not consulted on the title of the film, and I was as surprised as anyone. I would not have named it Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I don’t know exactly who named it, but I suspect it was the studio and I suspect it was marketing, to be honest with you. It might have been the first step toward creating ill will for the film…I heard it and I thought, it just sounds self-important and clueless in a way. Tone-deaf. The intention of the film was to do something interesting and dark and complex, not quite as Las Vegas, bust ’em up, WWE match as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Still, imagine a timeline in which you walked up to a movie theater cashier and uttered the words “Son of Sun and Knight of Night.”