Zack Snyder’s true vision for Justice League never came to fruition. Designed as a two-part film, Justice League would be the first time that DC heroes banded together to fight off cosmic threats. Unfortunately, lackluster films that came before it forced the two parts to become one part. Not only that, but Snyder left the project after principal photography, leaving Joss Whedon to take care of the post-production work. But with all of the last-minute reshoots and mustache gate, the film ended up being a major disappointment. Which is probably why many asked to see a Snyder cut well after it failed to meet expectations.
But never let it be said that Snyder did not have a bold vision for the DCEU. In fact, what was rumored to be a two-part film in the very beginning was actually a trilogy. At least, according to Kevin Smith. More on this below.
On his Fatman Beyond Podcast, Smith revealed that he was able to observe some of the behind-the-scenes material of Justice League while he was visiting Star Wars: Episode IX in the U.K.
With Justice League shooting at Pinewood Studios in London, Smith said he was able to hang out with “people who worked on both versions” and that these are the kind of people who had plenty of access to pre-visualization materials and other aspects of the franchise planning stage.
“They saw Jim Lee breakdown boards for all three Justice League movies,” Smith said.
Again, we knew that Snyder had a vision for the film, we just didn’t know how big it would be. But based on the film’s trajectory, at the time, Justice League was just the beginning, as its ending was supposed to leave the door for something bigger and darker. Something like Darkseid.
According to Smith:
“[The League] saw Darkseid, and Darkseid saw them. Boom tube closes, and that’s the end of the f***ing movie. With them all knowing there’s something out there, and we have to go.”
Smith also addressed that vague shot of Alfred speaking to a mysterious character in one of the Justice League trailers. At the time, many thought it was a resurrected Superman, who returned to one of Batman’s strongholds to find out where the rest of the heroes are. But that shot never even made into the film itself. And if it did, the person that Alfred was talking to would not have been Superman. It would have been Green Lantern.
“Justice League 2 was going cosmic as they take the fight to Apokolips…and the Lantern Corps was involved,” Smith said.
Well, now we can see how Green Lantern Corps may have played a role. But it looks like even adding a little green to the team would not have helped, as Smith reveals that Justice League 2 would have ended poorly for the team. He compares that ending to that of The Empire Strikes Back and Avengers: Infinity War. He adds that Darkseid would arrive on Earth, only to decimate it and turn it into the wasteland that we saw in the Knightmare sequence in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
But that would have all changed in Justice League 3, where the team would have rallied together to fight not only Darkseid but the forces of Apokolips, said Smith:
“That was going to be the entire third movie. The heroes’ last stand against Darkseid and the forces of Apokolips — holy f**k!”
This would have been a very ambitious plan. But one has to wonder how the Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Shazam! standalone films could have fit into that or if the Justice League films would have changed their tones.
As it stands, DCEU films following Justice League don’t seem to care at all for being a piece that sets up a larger movie event.