'Justice League': Batman's New Vehicles And Technology, Where Is Superman And More

As you might expect, Batman will get a bunch of new vehicles, technology and even a new suit in the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice follow-up Justice League. Join me as we take a look at these new additions and also explore all the cool bits that just didn't fit in the rest of our set visit coverage. That includes:

  • What happened to Superman?
  • Is this film being shot in IMAX?
  • Who is scoring the movie?
  • Could we see a Suicide Squad crossover in this film?
  • How will Ben Affleck's solo Batman film might connect with this movie?
  • Why did Warner Bros release that Batman v Superman deleted scene right after opening weekend?

...and much more!

The Night Crawler

The most impressive of the additions is probably the Night Crawler, a new off-road four-wheel drive vehicle that can traverse areas that might be inaccessible to the Batmobile. Think of it like a tank that has four tread wheels, that can morph into a spider-like configuration. On all fours, the vehicle is 25-30 feet in height, and the legs can puncture into almost any surface. In Justice League the vehicle is used in a sequence which takes place in an abandoned tunnel which was being constructed in the 1930s to connect Gotham City to Metropolis. This is a vehicle completely new to the Batman universe. Storyline-wise, the vehicle was created by Wayne Technology for the military in the 1960s and adopted by Batman for his needs.

Producer Deborah Snyder reveals:

There's a great action set piece that takes place in it. And it's pretty hard to get the Batmobile through there, so it's nice to have the Crawler which kind of can maneuver.

In the war room we saw concept art of Batman driving the Night Crawler while it was firing a flamethrower at a parademon, which should give us a tease as to what to expect. They constructed the cockpit of the Night Crawler which was filmed on a gimbal, but the rest will be created using CG. Production designer Patrick Tatopoulos says that he approached the Night Crawler more like a fork lift or a piece of construction equipment. Back to Deborah Snyder:

And then not only do we have the Crawler, if you're gonna have a whole Justice League, we have to find a way to transport them. So we have the Flying Fox. It fits all of them, but it also can fit a vehicle in it, so we can bring the Batmobile into the Flying Fox. That will be a set that we'll be building, but we haven't gotten there yet.

The Flying Fox

Batman has unearthed an old Wayne Technologies project and retrofitted it to be used as their plane. Imagine this as something, in Avengers terms, which is not as huge as a Helicarrier but much bigger than the Quinjet. The plane has three levels. The bottom houses the Batmobile, has seats on the wall, and has a ramp that lowers. The second has a wall armory of weapons and a cockpit/gunner in the front where Batman (or Alfred in one piece of concept art) controls the weapons. The main cockpit seats two people and is situated at the back of the third level, giving this plane a much different look from many of the other flying vehicles in superhero films.

Roven enthuses:

It's big enough for the Batmobile and it can house other of the Bat gadgets. It's definitely its own self contained, fantastic piece of equipment.

We saw a bunch of concept art of the Flying Fox, although it seems like the name has evolved over time. It was labeled as "the bat jet" on the concept art from February 2016, and as "the troop carrier" in October 2015.

Justice League Batmobile

Other New Gadgets and a Modified Batmobile

Roven teases that "the Bat tech that we'll introduce in this one isn't just big stuff."

It's also, gadgets that you've seen, but also new things. Batman will have more than one Batsuit that he's continually modifying for the adventures that are gonna be had in this film. As well as he continues to modify the Batmobile to make it more weaponized for the battles that he think he might be facing.

When asked about a piece of concept for the Flash that says "Wayne Tech," Deborah Snyder responds, "It's safe to say that I think Alfred and Bruce are building a lot of tech that helps them all. And I think you'll see a lot more of that."

New Batsuits

Batman will have two different Batsuits in this film. The classic Batsuit is a slightly tweaked version of the one from BvS, although you might not notice any changes. Some new armor plates are hidden underneath the mesh carbon fiber weave of the suit and features more graphic seaming and a tweaked cowl. The blades on his forearm gloves are sharper and a bit more aggressive looking.

Alfred and Bruce develop an advanced suit in the "final chapter" of this story to fit the needs of the mission. This suit isn't going to be used in filming for another two months so we only got to see a very early prototype of it alongside concept art. Described as "the tactical Batsuit," it looks very much like the classic Batsuit augmented with straps and layers of leather and protective plates. A new cowl allows for flight goggles which he'll wear when piloting a new vehicle. The straps look more military grade. I don't love it. The cowl offers more protection in this story. It's been implied inside the cowl there is a whole sub-membrane that is now expressed outside the cowl. Also, Snyder has embraced non-symmetry, giving Batman extra protection on one arm over another, making the uniform look more individualized and battle-worn like a warrior's.

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Where Is Superman?

But how does Superman fit into this story? At the end of Batman v Superman, the Man of Steel is dead and buried. No one wanted to talk about Superman during our visit to the set — not the filmmakers, not the producer, not the costume or production designers. When asked about Superman, producer Deborah Snyder admits, "Well, obviously Superman is part of the Justice League."

And we know where we ended up with him. And there wouldn't be a Justice League without Superman. But I think his way back to us we don't want to really spoil that. But he's here. He's back there.

She points to a wall in the war room that shows Henry Cavill's headshot among the film's lead cast. The only other reference to Superman we saw on the visit was one concept art painting of the whole Justice League team standing in heroic pose that included Superman. He didn't look much different than he did in the past two films, and I'm not entirely sure the concept painting wasn't just to imagine what the team would look like together — it didn't appear to be a specific scene from this film.

Roven says:

We know that there wouldn't be a Justice League without him. But let's keep it fresh, let's keep out how that all happens and what happens in the movie.

Later when talking about the evolution of Superman over his series of films, director Zack Snyder stops himself and says, "And I'm not saying he shows up in this movie..." But this is the same filmmaker who very consciously ended BvS with the dirt moving above Superman's casket. Snyder admits, "Yes, very consciously!" When someone jokingly asks what his hair will look like when he returns, Snyder laughs and says "Should be perfect, a little longer I guess! That's what the myths are anyway." When another journalist nudges him further, asking, "Is he not supposed to be a part of this stage of it?" Snyder responds:

I feel like the idea of it is to — yeah, well, I guess that's part of the story. If he does appear, I think that that would be a big part of the story, right?

We watched them film scene #100 and Superman was nowhere to be seen. Films like this typically have 220-260 scenes, which probably means we won't see Superman in the first half of the movie. And if I were to guess, he won't join the film until late into the movie. Its funny — when I saw BvS, I thought the ending was kind of bold but stupid. Killing Superman is an unexpected way to end the movie, but I couldn't imagine Warner Bros. promoting Justice League without including Superman in the trailers or marketing. But maybe I was wrong.

And let's continue with some more rapid fire bits we learned while on set.

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice imax

No IMAX Cameras

Christopher Nolan spurred the era of filmmakers shooting big tentpole action scenes with 70mm IMAX cameras. Nolan was a producer on the previous two Superman films and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice had one of the most impressive IMAX-shot sequences in years, with almost 30 minutes of the film expanded to full screen IMAX. So I was disappointed to learn that Justice League is shooting entirely on 35mm film cameras, and will not have a sequence filmed in IMAX.

Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL

Hans Zimmer Will Not Return to Score the Film With Junkie XL

The score was one of the universally praised parts about Batman v Superman, and Junkie XL has signed on to return to score Justice League without Hans Zimmer. Deborah Snyder admits that while Zimmer is not involved in this one, Junkie XL will have access to "a lot of Hans' music and themes."

That Deleted Scene Was Supposed to Be an After Credits Sequence

Days after Batman V Superman hit theaters, Warner Bros released a deleted scene from the movie online (which you can watch above). Most people were confused by the release, as deleted scenes usually surface to promote the home video release of a film, not to end-cap the opening weekend. So on the set we finally got to ask Snyder about the deleted scene and the weird timing of it. Here is his answer:

That scene I guess was our way of — I kind thought like, "Oh, that would be a cool after-credits sequence." But then I was like, "I don't know, can I do that?" because Marvel kind of does that. "Is that a thing?" So we were like, "Oh! Well, maybe there's another way to do it, by just having it [online]" – does that make sense?

Geoff Johns

Zack Snyder Is Working With Geoff Johns on a Mystery Project

When asked about his working relationship with DC's creative executive Geoff Johns, Zack Snyder lets it slip that he's working on an unannounced project with the comic book vet.

Yeah, Geoff and I have had a great working relationship, even on Batman v Superman, and on Wonder Woman we worked together really closely, and we have a project coming up that we want to do together... I can't talk about that. His knowledge of comics is just crazy. He's like an encyclopedia of comic books. Like I'll be like, "Hey, is there a weird Lantern from –?" and he'll be like, "You know...!" He's just amazing about keeping everything in canon that I've not even heard of — he goes, "Yeah, it's back!" Like we'll look through some archive. You know, there's DC-pedia, but he's even crazier than that.

Before you get too excited (or angry) about another possible Zack Snyder DC comic book movie, I've been told that the unannounced Geoff Johns/Zack Snyder project is "not a movie." My guess is it's a comic book project, but who knows.

Suicide Squad

Will Justice League Feature Any Crossovers?

Will Justice League address any of the events from other films, like Suicide Squad? Could members of the Suicide Squad make an appearance in the film? Deborah Snyder won't outright tell us:

All the films kind of fit in a timeline, but they're independent films. You can see one and not need to see the other. They operate on their own. They all have their own tone and they deal with different characters. Yet they're all in the same filmic universe and there is little bits of crossovers that we see. But that isn't essential to the story.

The Fortress

We toured the conference room which is typically called "the war room" or "the board room" on most movie productions, but on this movie the filmmakers referred to it as "The Fortress." The walls of the room are lined with concept art from the film, and this is typically where the heads of departments on a movie have their meetings.

No Sugar on Set

Snyder likes to keep the energy high on his sets. While most movie sets have craft service tables filled with anything and everything you could possibly want to snack on, Zack Snyder's film sets are notoriously "dry sets," which means that there is no sugar or caffeine allowed. Also, shooting in Britain means they do 10-hour rolling days with no proper lunch break.

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Will We Get to See Flash, Aquaman, or Cyborg Origin Stories?

You might be wondering if we will get to see origin stories for the Flash, Aquaman, or Cyborg in this film. That is unclear. Producer Charles Roven says we will get them in due time, but maybe not in this film.

You really have to let the story develop. And, you know, you'll get a chance at some point to get all the back story that you desire. It may not be in this movie. It might be in this movie. It might be other movies. You know, many of these characters, we're doing standalones as well, so...

Ben Affleck's Batman Solo Film Might Connect With Justice League

While chatting with Ben Affleck on set (you can read the whole interview elsewhere on this site), he finally confirmed that he will be directing his own Batman standalone film and talked about it briefly. He explains that the reason why he's now an executive producer on Batman v Superman is because "I'm directing one of the movies."

So there's sort of this cross pollination of story and characters and I don't want to give any of that stuff away, but it basically means that there are some things that might happen in my Batman that are affected by, I mean, here we are in the police station in Gotham City. There's a potential that something like this might exist in that story. So it's a creative way that DC came up with of kind of being a filmmaker-driven company and entity and also making sure that the right hand knows what the left hand is doing and so that there's collaboration and supervision. So that somebody doesn't go sailing off, causing problems for your movie with their movie. You know, in a way, it's also a kind of a courtesy. You know what they're doing, one hand knows what the other is doing, and I get to weigh in on stuff that impacts the Batman stuff.

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JK Simmons Plays a More Traditional Commissioner Gordon

A couple weeks back a photo made the rounds showing actor J.K. Simmons working out in the gym. He was jacked to the max and sporting a huge white beard. Will we be getting a much different Commissioner Gordon than we've seen in the past? Has Zack Snyder reimagined the character?

I don't know. Wait till you see him. I think he looks, he has hair and the mustache and honestly he came to us and we had seen photos of him being fit with the wig and the mustache. But then we saw him like just two days ago. This is his first day shooting today. You guys are here for his first day. And he looks like Commissioner Gordon from the comics. So he's really as buff as he did. So it's really impressive.

I saw him on set filming the scene I've described and J.K. Simmons looks more like Commissioner Gordon from the comics and animated series than anything else in this film. It should make longtime fans happy, and his delivery was perfect. Although I still can't believe that J.K. Simmons would be training so hard if there weren't a scene that required it. I could be wrong.

The Costumes of Justice League

One of the things unique to this film is that all of the superhero costumes were created in-house at Leavesden instead of being outsourced, keeping a level of quality control which would not be accomplished otherwise. Michael Wilkinson has been tasked with producing outfits for 200 speaking principal actors in the film.

Wilkinson, who was nominated for an Oscar on American Hustle, is the costume designer on this film. He worked on both Batman v Superman and Man of Steel, and also has a long history working with Zack Snyder on 300, Watchmen and Sucker Punch. Just like the concept art in the war room, the costumes on display in the costume department don't look drastically different from what we've seen before. For the most part they are just as dark and colorless as what we saw in BvS.

aquaman-momoa-firstlook

For the Atlantans, like Aquaman, Wilkinson wanted their wardrobes to feel like they were from a very ancient culture. He referenced bioluminescent sea creatures, haute couture fashion and some of the old comic book images in creating the look. For the most part they look gold, although some parts of the costumes have a greenish tint. But it's almost like they were embarrassed to give Aquaman green tights. Willem Dafoe's character Vulko is "of another generation" and his look in this film should tell you that. His wardrobe is more bronze and aged in color, and the character sports a cape. Amber Heard's character Mera was described by Wilkinson as "badass" and sports a yellow green necklace that expands below her underarms. Wilkinson revealed that Aquaman will have more than one trident in the film, although he wouldn't say how many.

Cyborg

Cyborg's costume will be created digitally but Wilkinson is still involved with designing the look. The idea behind Cyborg's look is that he was created using Apokoliptian technology, so the details behind the technology feel alien instead of "nuts and bolts and screws." A glowing red light comes from within his chest, and he of course also has a glowing eye. Cyborg will have gaps in his body that show completely through, adding to the illusion that he may be more machine than man. The design for this character looks very reminiscent of Pacific Rim.

We saw some concept art showing a moment when Cyborg discovers he has the use of a gun arm. Ray Fisher's face will be the only practical part of the character, although it doesn't appear that they were shooting his facial performance on set when we watched filming. The character will also have an undercover look – a hoodie and running pants – which probably helps to cut down the CG budget of this film.

wonder woman release date

Wonder Woman's look is pretty similar to the suit designed for Batman v Superman. Wilkinson says the reds of the suit have been enriched a little, though, and that the color is now more of a "very rich blood red." Zack wanted the suit to have grit and reality. It's a suit she's been wearing for all 5000 years of existence, and it has the scars of battle. Up close you can see a lot of this detail that maybe wasn't seen in BvS. New to this film, Wonder Woman will sport a cape which in look has been inspired by an eagle, featuring royal blue on the outside and grey silver on the inside.

To give you an idea of how much work goes into creating not just the costume but duplicates, Wilkinson revealed that they have created 13 copies of the Wonder Woman outfit for this film. Four or five are for Gal Gadot, plus two or three for each stunt double and a couple extras "just in case."