On the latest episode of the Fatman Beyond podcast (episode 242), Kevin Smith discussed with co-host Marc Bernardin some behind-the-scenes information regarding DC’s Justice League movie(s). The details were revealed to Smith by production members on break during a trip to Pinewood Studios. Smith was at the studios visiting the Star Wars XI set (listen to Hollywood Babble-On 339 for details about Smith’s Star Wars XI set visit). These crew members reportedly worked on different production phases of the Justice League movie.
The Joss-tice League
When Joss Whedon came in to finish work on the film, the crew charmingly called that phase of production the Joss-tice League.
“I was so made we didn’t think of it first,” said Smith of the production nickname. “It was right there! How did none of us know?!”
Crew members saw breakdown boards for all three conceptualized Justice League movies, drawn by comic artist, Co-Publisher, and Chief Creative Officer of DC Comics, Jim Lee. What the crew saw on those boards was the basis for what was shared with Smith.
“There was a vision; it was planned out.”
Lee’s breakdown boards of the first Justice League movie contained many elements of what was seen in the picture’s theatrical release. However after fighting and defeating the villain Steppenwolf, a boom tube would have opened up, giving the Justice League their first look at one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe: Darkseid.
“Boom tube closes, and that’s the end of the fucking movie,” said Smith. “With them all knowing there’s something out there, and we have to go.”
The second movie was going to go cosmic with the Justice League bringing the fight to Apokolips and presumably New Genesis, and the Green Lantern core would have been part of the story.
The Green Lantern’s involvement may have been hidden in plain sight. Recalling for the Fatman Beyond audience, Smith described the end part of the Justice League trailer. The trailer shows Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred, saying “Thank god you’re here! Let’s hope you’re not too late.” Speculatively, that dialogue may not have been being spoken to Superman, as many fans at the time had believed. Smith’s on-set sources reported that during those shots, green lights were used to illuminate Jeremy Iron's face, representing the glow of the Green Lantern.
According to Smith, the second film would have had a dark ending with the Justice League being defeated by Darkseid.
For the last installment of the never-was-trilogy, Smith explained that the Lord of Apokolips would go to Earth and level the planet. This aligns with Bruce Wayne’s dream sequence/vision of a scorched Earth over run by Parademons in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
“That was going to be the entire third movie,” said Smith. “The heroes’ last stand against Darkseid and the forces of Apokolips — holy fuck!”
By what Smith heard from those who saw Lee’s drawings, the idea was something that fans would have been able to support.
“I really feel like, hearing what I heard, we might have missed something. Something big.”
As was the case for the Director’s Cut of the Watchmen film, perhaps Snyder’s version of the Justice League could live as its own release.
“Get that Synder cut out there, let’s see what was cooking,” said Smith.
Die-hard fans can get a more in-depth look at concepts and art for the Justice League production in the Justice League: The Art of the Film book.