The Justice League will soon be back in action.
Today in news that practically nobody saw coming, director Zack Snyder will be partially reassembling his Justice League cast for a round of reshoots, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The reshoots will be taking place in October, and will only take about a week to complete.
A brief primer: Writer-director Snyder was forced to leave Justice League midway through its production due to a family tragedy. Studio Warner Bros. took an eyebrow-raising course of action by hiring Joss Whedon, director of Marvel Studios’ first two Avengers movies, to complete the film in Snyder’s absence. Whedon, however, went far beyond simply following through on Snyder’s vision.
Apparently, under a mandate from the studio, he jettisoned huge chunks of Snyder and co-writer Chris Terrio’s script, rewriting somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 pages; he cut short the arcs of several characters (most notably Ray Fisher’s Cyborg), excised others altogether, and turned in a film that was by all accounts radically different from what Snyder envisioned.
With its production and advertising budgets hovering around somewhere in the stratosphere, Justice League became perhaps the highest-grossing flop in history upon its 2017 release, failing to become profitable despite a $677 million worldwide haul (which also happened to be the lowest total of any DCEU movie up to that time).
Disappointed fans immediately began clamoring for the release of Snyder’s cut of the film, and earlier this year, it was announced that the near-mythical “Snyder Cut” would finally be assembled, at a reported cost of around $30 million, to debut on streamer HBO Max sometime in 2021. At the time of that announcement, it was specifically reported that no actual reshoots would be taking place — which is what makes today’s news so surprising.
Which Justice League cast members are returning for the reshoots?
Multiple outlets are reporting that only a couple of Justice League’s cast members will be returning for Snyder’s exercise in batting cleanup, but The Hollywood Reporter appears to have gotten a look at an actual call sheet, and on it, four cast members are named: Henry Cavill (Superman), Ben Affleck (Batman), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), and Ray Fisher. The latter’s involvement is particularly interesting, given his recent, highly public sparring with Warner Bros. over what he has alleged to be grossly abusive behavior by Whedon while shooting Justice League.
From a creative standpoint, though, bringing Fisher back makes sense. Snyder has referred to Cyborg as the “heart” of his film, but in Whedon’s version, his presence was pared down so much as to barely qualify as a single ventricle. Affleck’s return, too, would have surprised everyone a lot more a month or so ago, as the actor had long maintained that he was done playing the Caped Crusader — but in August, it was reported that he would be suiting up again for a role in director Andy Muschietti’s upcoming The Flash, along with Michael Keaton’s version of Bats from Tim Burton’s classic Batman movies.
Since the reshoots are only scheduled to take around a week, they’re not likely to be terribly extensive — and since the TV and film production industry is still struggling to resume normal operations in the wake of the ongoing pandemic, it’s unclear whether the cast will be quarantining up until the shoot, employing social distancing measures, or both.
But it’s a testament to the faith of Warner Bros. and HBO Max in Snyder’s vision that the reshoots are happening at all, and it has to warm the hearts of fans knowing the lengths to which Snyder is going to deliver the most complete version of his vision that he can. We’ll be keeping tabs on this story, and we’ll bring you any further developments with Flash-like speed.