Justice League post-credits scene explained

Before the DC Extended Universe was a twinkle in Zack Snyder’s eye, there was the scrapped Justice League script by Will Beall, penned in 2011 and never heard from again.

Not much is known about this lost script other than the fact that Ben Affleck was being considered to direct it before he signed on to be Snyder’s Batman. That, and it was rumored to be “terrible” by insiders at Warner Bros., leading the studio to throw out the script shortly before Man of Steel‘s release. But now, you can decide that for yourself. The long-lost script’s plot details have resurfaced and it’s chock full of wild plot twists, Darkseid, and a baby.

It took five years and four movies for DC Comics fans to see the Justice League on the big screen, but if Beall’s original Justice League had been greenlit, they would have seen the superhero team a lot sooner. In 2011, Warner Bros.’ original plan to launch its own DC Comics cinematic universe was with a fully-formed Justice League movie — in retaliation to Marvel’s slowly burgeoning MCU.

Warner Bros. tasked Gangster Squad screenwriter Will Beall to pen the script, but the idea was dead before you could raise your finger and ask, “What about George Miller’s Justice League?” Beall has since gone on to write James Wan’s upcoming Aquaman script, but his Justice League script has not seen the light of day, until The Wrap uncovered it this week.

The line-up for Beall’s Justice League looked vastly different than the 2017 version, with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and The Flash joined by Hawkman and John Stewart’s Green Lantern instead of Aquaman and Cyborg. The plot involves Superman getting kidnapped by Darkseid, Green Lantern and Hawkman getting into a space battle, and a time travel twist that results in Batman and Wonder Woman spawning a son. It also boasts a massive roster of 28 supporting characters and villains like Amanda Waller, Cheetah, and Solomon Grundy. If you thought Snyder’s Justice League was overstuffed, well, it’s a good thing we didn’t get this version of Justice League.

The Story

The story begins with a battle between Desaad, one of Darkseid’s minions, and Killer Croc. Desaad kills Croc and steals Kryptonite from Lex Luthor. Batman and Superman are friends who regularly hang out at a coffeeshop (I wonder if How It Should Have Ended had an influence on that), and are spurred to recruit the Flash after Desaad’s attack.

Meanwhile, John Stewart and Hawkman battle Green Lantern Corps. foe Kanjar Ro in space, trying to foil Kanjar Ro’s attempts to weaponize Kryptonite with Desaad. They fail, and Superman gets kidnapped by Darkseid, who spirits him away to Apokolips with the help of Steppenwolf and the Parademons. Down a member, Batman recruits Wonder Woman, with whom he shares a romantic history, and the Justice League hold their first meeting in the Batcave. But their union is too late — under Darkseid’s mind control, Superman kills all of the Green Lantern Corps. except for John Stewart, and Darkseid invades Earth.

After a fight with Batman (donning the Dark Knight Returns and Batman v Superman armor), Superman breaks free from Darkseid’s control and accidentally travels 11 years into the future. There he finds Wonder Woman and a wizened Batman leading the revolution against Darkseid alongside their son, and 80% of the world’s population dead due to his actions. Batman leads the “Berzerkers,” which feel like the prototype to 2016’s Suicide Squad, while Lex Luthor has turned to the side of good. With Luthor’s help, future Flash travels back in time to warn of the future and die in his younger self’s arms, and the Justice League manage to foil Darkseid’s scheme to control Superman and invade Earth.

Could It Have Been Made?

In this form? Definitely not. There’s no way that the most adept filmmaker could have squeezed this into a two-hour run time without turning it into a convoluted mess. The morass of characters and confusing time travel elements would have been enough to turn the audience off the DC Comics universe completely — and though Snyder fans may complain about a butchered final version of Justice League, at least the 2017 version kind of makes sense. This, at least when taken in from a third party describing it, does not.

Beall’s script sounds like it would be better suited to the pages of a comic book than the big screen: complicated, cluttered, epic. But a few elements of Beall’s scripts did make their way to the DCEU, such as the presence of Steppenwolf as a minion of Darkseid — an element of Snyder’s original script. I just hope that if other elements make their way to DCEU projects, they could skip over the time travel. And any future kids between Wonder Woman and Batman.

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