With Zack Snyder recently stepping down as director of the DC Extended Universe team-up flick, Justice League, fans have started to question just how much of the film will ultimately change in light of this changing of hands to Avengers helmer Joss Whedon. Given the track record of the DC Extended Universe so far (in both fan and critical reception -- excluding the more recent Wonder Woman), fans’ knee-jerk reaction is to expect the worse — that Whedon will lead to great, unexpected change to the important flick.
When a knee-jerk reaction like this takes hold, it’s important that we take a step back and look at all the evidence at hand before moving forward. In this piece, we’ll try and walk through the evidence, the statements, the rumors, and try to come up with an idea of what we can expect.
How Whedon Was Brought On
In the original THR piece where Snyder announced his stepping down as director, it was also announced that Whedon would be taking his place in all the additional photography. However, it’s worth noting that this was reportedly not something decided by the studio, but Snyder himself.
Here’s what the statement said:
“Snyder, after screening a rough cut of Justice League for fellow filmmakers and friends, wanted to add additional scenes, so he brought Whedon on board to write them. But as he prepared to shoot the scenes in England, Snyder realized it was not the time to leave home.”
With Whedon being brought on board to write already — not to mention his experience in directing ensemble superhero casts — it seemed like a great fit for him to hop on board as director and see this project through.
However, given Whedon’s trademark and undeniable style, some fans are undoubtedly having a hard time believing that the changes won’t be extensive.
Warner Bros.’ Statement
We can’t really go much further without at least taking a look at the statement from Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby Emmerich. In the announcement that Whedon would be taking Snyder’s place as director of Justice League for any and all additional photography, he stated:
“The directing is minimal and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set. We’re not introducing any new characters. It’s the same characters in some new scenes. He’s handing the baton to Joss, but the course has really been set by Zack. I still believe that despite this tragedy, we’ll still end up with a great movie.”
No doubt, he knew what fans would be thinking, and made it a point to clarify that no, this would not be used as an all-out attempt to erase Snyder’s fingerprint from the film itself. This is the official stance for the film Fans are understandably doubtful of anything said by the studio, and the more recent rumors regarding the additional photography haven’t helped much.
Justice League's Rumored "Extensive" Additional Photography
Recently, a rumor from Batman-On-Film purported that additional photography was underway, and would continue for north of two months, possibly spilling over into August. The report did go on to say that although the reshoots were going to be “extensive,” that the production seemed to be in high spirits of the ordeal. It didn’t seem like they had any doubts that the additional photography would result in anything other than a stronger movie.
However, regardless of how much stronger the film would supposedly be, this seemed to imply that Joss Whedon would indeed leaving a much heavier fingerprint on this film than Warner Bros. was initially letting on.
But is that actually the case?
Okay, so let’s take all that evidence and piece it together.
First, we have address something that ALWAYS gets brought up in comments. Reshoots are a normal part of blockbusters these days. Yes, we understand that is the case. That being said, two months of additional photography is NOT par for the course, and if true, it is a reason to at least raise an eyebrow.
Now, let’s delve into all the other details.
Whedon was brought in to help write additional scenes that Snyder wanted to shoot this year (scenes that were probably needed in light of the new approach from Warner Bros. and the things Snyder had learned from previous productions), prior to the film’s release. When he stepped down, Whedon took over as director of the shooting of scenes that he had written for additional photography. Warner Bros. made a statement that pretty much said that the direction was minimal and that Whedon would be working to keep his direction in step with the template that Snyder had firmly established.
Meanwhile, rumors have surfaced regarding “substantial” additional photography, seeming to contradict statements of minimal direction.
We’re not sure all these reports conflict.
Now, before we go on, it is very much possible that this could end up as a film with Whedon’s trademark style being an unmistakable part of it, but it’s also not unreasonable to believe what Warner Bros. has stated.
As mentioned in that initial article, Whedon was already on board to write scenes that Snyder wanted to shoot. Yes, two months of additional photography (if true) is quite substantial, but it may include exactly what Snyder had already intended to shoot himself, based on scenes that Whedon had written. In other words, this may not be a case of Whedon hijacking a production, but rather legitimately going forward with a plan kicked off by Snyder and him prior to Snyder stepping down.
Additionally, Whedon comes from a background in TV — a medium where a director’s goal is to fall in step with the already-established tone and style. If you were to take that into account, then you have all the makings of a scenario where a man is legitimately doing what he can to execute the vision of Justice League’s true director: Zack Snyder.
Of course, while all of this is possible, it’s important to restate that many of the aspects of this conclusion can be twisted to fit the more popular, negative narrative that a lot of haters like to push. This is an attempt to bring forth an alternative possibility — one that doesn’t betray the faith that Warner Bros. seems to have in Snyder and Justice League.
But what do you think? Do you agree with me, or do you think Whedon’s changes will be more extensive than we think? Let us know your thoughts down below!