While DC fans these days are anxiously anticipating the release of [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice](tag:711870) in 2016, it's easy to forget about an earlier Justice League project that never came to fruition. Back in February 2007 (before even Iron Man was released), Warner Bros. started moving forward with Justice League: Mortal that was fully cast and slated to be directed by George Miller.
After an indefinite hold and debilitating production woes, the project got shelved. But now, with the phenomenal success of [Mad Max: Fury Road](tag:41445), George Miller is back in the spotlight and taking this time to remind us of what could have been.
The director is releasing a documentary about the Justice League that never really took flight, and the movie's official twitter page has recently released concept art teasing the beginnings of the movie. Read on for a look into Miller's vision for the Justice League.
Wonder Woman in full color
The first bit of concept art to get the ball rolling is a gorgeous view of Themyscira, Wonder Woman's homeland, that gives a great idea of what Miller wanted for his film. Lively, ornate, and, above all, colorful, this definitely deviates from the current DC slate of movies that made it to screen.
Diana would have been played by Megan Gale in Justice League Mortal.
You probably recognize her from Mad Max: Fury Road, in which she plays one of the female freedom fighters.
Here's how she would have looked in the big city:
The biggest thing I can notice is that Diana's skirt appears to be of Greek armor length and the color palette is clearly much more saturated than the early promotional photos.
Aquaman is blond
Despite the fact that Santiago Cabrera was reportedly cast as Aquaman, this concept art has the seafaring hero looking suspiciously like Chris Hemsworth:
Compared to what we've seen of Jason Momoa's Aquaman, Miller's version appears much closer to the comic books. Plus, it looks like he would have had his water hand, which would have opened up the possibilities for impressive weapons and jaw-dropping effects.
Here's how the two versions compare:
Once again, I see a more diversified color palette for Miller's vision, and both these visions are obviously products of their respective worlds.
Martian Manhunter test sculpt
Finally, the noble character who deserves much more attention outside of animated universes got a full-blown sculpted bust to test out his look. The Martian Manhunter would have been played by Hugh Keays-Byrne who also stuck close to Miller despite this movie getting scrapped.
Keays-Byrne played the totalitarian villain Immortan Joe in Mad Max: Fury Road.
A storyboarded fight scene between Wonder Woman and Superman
On the heels of the concept art, storyboard artist Steve Skroce released this extensive sample of his work on Justice League Mortal. The storyboards reveal a scene showing a battle between Superman (who would have been played by D.J. Cotrona) and Wonder Woman.
The powerful pair battle it out after manipulated
The villain, Maxwell Lord, gained power of Superman's mind
Maxwell turns the Man of Steel against his allies
Leading to this epically destructive fight through the city
Wonder Woman holds her own
But Maxwell's plan is even more insidious than it appears
Because the script leaked back in 2013, we know that Maxwell (who would have been played by Jay Baruchel) is using Superman to test the ethical limits of the team. He tells them that the only way to free Superman is to kill the villain
In an uncharacteristic moment, Batman (who would have been played by Armie Hammer) takes the murder upon himself and snaps Maxwell's neck. Now, as much as I love the visuals, this one plot point is where I'm a little relieved this movie didn't happen.
Not only does Batman do his best to adhere to a no-kill policy, but Wonder Woman is the prototypical soldier out of the big three. She may not enjoy killing, but she's definitely not opposed to the idea in moments like this. Why not have Diana do the deed?
Aside from that one gripe, I can't help but wonder how this movie would have ended up. From the story to the visuals, Mad Max was outstanding , and I'm sure Miller would have brought that same spirit to the Justice League. Some fans were worried about the cast full of smaller names, but I've never been one to associate talent purely with name recognition.
In the end, we'll get the full scoop on Justice League Mortal from the documentary, described as a "love story" to Miller's vision. No concrete dates have been revealed, but I'm glad this isn't the last we'll see of this ill-fated project.