There has been a lot to come out about the involvement of Joss Whedon in Justice League over the past week. Ben Affleck spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the “unique visions” both Whedon and Zack Snyder brought to the production and it was noted that recent reshoots were bringing about a change in tone for some of the movie, particularly with the character Cyborg. But now a new rumor is spreading online that indicates there’s more than just tone being shifted in the film and it isn’t really fair to Zack Snyder.
Whedon came on to replace to Snyder after the director decided to step away due to the tragic death of his daughter. The Avengers director had been involved in the film and was convinced to take over by Snyder once the decision had been made. But the latest rumor seems to indicate that Whedon was brought on to “lighten” Justice League and to redo the ending that was originally planned under Snyder.
According to ScreenRant, Batman On Film‘s Bill Ramey was told by a “well-placed” source that Snyder’s version of the film was “unwatchable” and the current reshoots, tone changes, and shifts are part of that. It was echoed by SlashFilm’s Peter Sciretta, who noted that Wheedon would be shifting the ending of the film away from a cliffhanger based on the arrival of the villain Darkseid that would lead into the second film. Sciretta runs down the details of the original plan, where Steppenwolf is the lead-in to Darkseid and plays the “Silver Surfer” role to Darkseid’s “Galactus.” None of this is too mindblowing considering it was teased in Batman V Superman, but it is a troubling rumor for where the DC Comics movies are going from this point forward.
The issue with this rumor isn’t that changes are happening to Snyder’s film or that the studio wants to adjust the film’s tone. That was always expected before Snyder’s departure and Whedon’s involvement drove that home. But basically undercutting Snyder and calling his version of the film “unwatchable” isn’t fair to the director, even if he hasn’t enjoyed critical praise for his entries into the series up to this point. Considering the public reason for his departure from the film, this type of rumor just seems to be off base in terms of its focus. Whatever version of the film was complete when Snyder departed, it couldn’t have been a completed product worthy of that type of description.
On top of that, this sounds similar to the criticism that was levied at Patty Jenkins and Wonder Woman before its release, calling that production a “mess.” Not only did that turn out to be false considering the critical and box office success, but it also was another rumor attributed to sources inside Warner Bros. with knowledge of the production.
While the Justice League rumor could indeed be true or at least features enough truth to support it, the avenue it takes just is not fair to Snyder. Even if you believe he’s the worst director working today, it seems like the worst time to call his work trash in need of another director to sweep up the mess. Changing the ending, changing the tone, and re-shooting scenes would all make perfect sense and are normal, especially for such a big production. Not every major change requires dramatic gossip to make it work.