Justice League reshoots

Justice League is now playing in theaters everywhere and if you went into the film hoping to see all of the flashy stuff on display in the multiple trailers, you might’ve been disappointed. There are numerous moments from the previews that aren’t in the final film, which, when combined with talk of the extensive reshoots that happened after Zack Snyder left and Joss Whedon took over, implies there’s a drastically version of the film floating around out there. In the wake of the film’s release, even more details about Justice League reshoots have surfaced.

Whether or not you liked Justice League, there’s strong evidence that the film now playing in theaters everywhere is quite different than what was originally intended. Of course, this is nothing new: movies change all the time during production. But these changes usually happen behind-the-scenes, without the general public being aware of them. A big blockbuster like Justice League is a different story. A Twitter user took the time to upload a compendium of all the various trailer shots that didn’t make it into the final film. These aren’t small things, either, or alternate takes. These are seemingly big moments that don’t appear anywhere within the final film.

Reshoots and Remakes

Before Justice League finished filming, director Zack Snyder stepped away from the film for personal reasons. While Snyder still retains the final directorial credit on the film, Joss Whedon came in after his departure to finish things up. Whedon’s involvement immediately had fans wondering just how much he was going to shoot: was he merely finishing up a few remaining scenes, or would he go back and alter the film in a more drastic manner? Before the film hit theaters, star Ben Affleck said the final film would be “[A]n interesting product of two directors, both with kind of unique visions, both with really strong takes.”

Right before Justice League hit theaters, producer Charles Roven commented that reshoots make up 15-20% of the movie, saying:

“The goal is to make sure when you’re watching the movie, it all feels cohesive. That imprint that Joss had, some aspect of it is going to come out in the direction, but the actors are already pretty much down the road on their arcs. Let’s just say 80, 85 percent of the movie is what was originally shot. There’s only so much you can do with other 15, 20 percent of the movie.”

Roven’s claim that 80-85% of the movie is what was originally shot suggests the reshoots weren’t that extensive, but back in August there were rumors floating around that the reshoots were so extensive that Warner Bros. had essentially remade the film – not once, but twice. An anonymous source came forward, claiming “that in the 17 months between the start of principal photography and the final cut arriving in theaters in November that the film will have essentially been “remade…twice.”

So just what the heck happened with the Justice League reshoots?

aquaman scenes

Deleted Aquaman Scenes

If you had been following the long lead-up to Justice League, you might remember that at one point Willem Dafoe was announced as part of the cast. But Dafoe is nowhere to be found in the final film. Dafoe’s character, Nuidis Vulko, was tied into Aquaman, and while the actor will still appear in James Wan’s solo Aquaman film, he didn’t end up in Justice League. Speaking with Gamespot, Aquaman himself, Jason Momoa revealed the details of Dafoe’s deleted scenes:

“There’s a place where [Aquaman] goes down to, and it got cut out of the movie,” Momoa said. “He knows spots where he can go and he can see these statues, the remnants of [Atlantis]. There’s Vulko – obviously we’ll have way more scenes with Vulko, Willem Dafoe – in [the 2018 standalone] Aquaman. There just wasn’t enough time in this movie.”

Momoa then talked a little more about Dafoe’s character:

“Vulko’s his connection to Atlantis,” he said. “I think what Zack [Snyder] and I did, we were kind of trying to establish that he was taken down there as a boy, and he was an outcast, he was a half-breed, and he was built up as a young boy, because he was fed all these ideas by Vulko–that he was the rightful king. And he gets down there, and he’s a half breed, he’s impure, and I’m just made to feel like I’m this disease. So after that, I was like, ‘f*** you, f*** you, I’m on my own.’”

There’s a good chance these lost Dafoe scenes will pop-up on the eventual Blu-ray release of Justice League, but if not, we’ll have to wait until Aquaman hits theaters to see Dafoe’s Vulko.

Cyborg football

Don’t Forget About Cyborg 

Aquaman isn’t the only Justice League member who suffered due to reshoots. Ray Fisher‘s Cyborg, aka Victor Stone, underwent some changes as well. There are shots in the trailer that show him battling a tank, and also his pre-Cyborg days playing football, neither of which are in the finished film. Speaking with Gamespot, Fisher goes into some detail about some of his deleted scenes. He mentions that there was a scene between Victor and his mother – a character who doesn’t appear in the final film:

“There were some things that you’ll probably end up seeing later on, that didn’t make it into this version of the film…There’s a scene with Victor Stone, when he still was Victor Stone, and his mother, that was really special to shoot.”

Fisher also talks about how test screenings changed and reshaped the film:

“You’re shooting and testing, and when you’re putting it together, you’re seeing how cohesive you can make the story…Ultimately this is a team story, and, while there is some Cyborg material that we don’t see here, I’m just happy that my teammates get to shine as well.”

Of all the characters in the film, Cyborg seems to be the one who changed the most during the reshoot process. During production, Joe Morton, who plays Cyborg’s father, claimed that there were several reshoots to change Cyborg’s tone and make the character lighter, saying:

“I know that with Ray [Fisher], the young man who plays Victor, there were some adjustments that they made in terms of the tone of that character. I think what I heard was that there was a need from the studio to lighten up the film in a way, that the film felt too dark. I don’t know what that meant in terms of how it actually got translated in terms of the reshoots but that’s what I heard. That’s what I thought some of the reshoots were about.”

With all this in mind, you can’t help but wonder if the earlier, different cut of Justice League was a better overall movie. Perhaps Warner Bros. will piece it back together for the eventual Blu-ray, or perhaps these alternate moments are now lost forever.

Justice League is now playing.

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