With both Wonder Woman and Justice League coming out in 2017, the DCEU finally feels like it's on track — despite continuing problems with Ben Affleck's The Batman. And yet, we came close to having an entirely different #DC movie franchise, starting with George Miller's Justice League Mortal movie in 2009.
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The movie that never was has become something of a fandom legend, especially after the amazing critical success of Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road. There's no doubt that the visionary director would have created a bombastic #JusticeLeague movie, and what we know of the film doesn't contradict this — over the years, the actors cast in each of the Justice League roles have spilled secrets from the doomed production.
And now Common — who almost played Green Lantern — has weighed in with his thoughts, revealing his disappointment that the movie was never made and ensuring us that it would have been awesome.
New Details From The Scrapped Movie
Along with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and the Flash, John Stewart completed the Justice League as Green Lantern. This version of the character has proved very popular over the years, and Common was eagerly anticipating bringing the character to life. As the rapper-turned-actor reveals to Yahoo Movies, Justice League Mortal even got as far as rehearsals before the movie was scrapped.
"[We] started rehearsals for the film. I went to Australia. I tried on the outfit and everything. It was heartbreaking, but it happened. The script was super-dope. It was intricate. And knowing George Miller was going to do it, you knew it was going to have that raw edge."
Miller, the genius behind the original Mad Max trilogy as well as the 2015 revival (oh, and Babe 2: Pig In The City), is known for his distinctive directorial style: Vivid color saturation, strong centralized shots, and depth of character are all features of Miller's movie resume. Common is quick to sing the director's praises, stressing that the proposed movie would have been a fantastic big-screen introduction for the Justice League.
"[The film] had Superman, Aquaman, it had all of the characters really involved. Each one of them had moments and you got to know them. It was a strong piece."
Common did get his chance to shine in the DCEU movie Suicide Squad last year, though there's no denying his role as Enchantress's creepy CGI brother is not nearly as cool as playing one of the Lantern Corps.
So Why Wasn't It Made?
If Justice League Mortal was as amazing as everyone involved says it was, then what the hell happened?
The culprit for dooming the movie is mostly the Hollywood Writers' Strike of 2007-2008. According to Armie Hammer — set to play Batman — although the script was very strong, Warner Bros. still wanted to make changes before they started filming.
"We had a writer’s strike in the US so we couldn’t change anything in the script and everybody wanted to change things. It would have been the perfect combination, of the realistic grittiness of the 'Dark Knight' series mixed with the amazing detail and sort of tactile nature of the 'Star Trek' [movie] series."
Well, that sounds awesome. But it wasn't just the strike that halted production: Miller wanted to shoot in his home country, Australia, as he had shot most of his previous movies there. This was all well and good until the country changed its tax rebate system, meaning that production Down Under would have been far too costly for Warner.
Hammer describes the situation as a "perfect storm" of little things going wrong. Ultimately the movie was just too difficult for Warner Bros. to make at that time, and the project was canned. Ever since, fans have bemoaned the loss of the awesome Justice League Mortal movie that never was — reportedly, it would have featured the League going up against Maxwell Lord, with a mind-controlled Superman throwing down with Wonder Woman in an epic battle sequence that was partially storyboarded.
Well, at least we can console ourselves with 2017's Justice League — but here's hoping Zack Snyder goes easy on the cyan filter this time, especially as Miller's version would have been visually delicious.