With the Snyder Verse over and done with, Joss Whedon can now work on rebuilding his image, as an interview was released on MLK Day where the director responded to the Justice League allegations, including Gal Gadot and Ray Fisher.
Below are some highlights; read the full interview at Vulture (bold my own follows). I’ll offer some of my thoughts below as well.
Batman v Superman bombing ends Justice League
Here it’s mentioned how Batman v Superman was a box office bomb and that execs became worried about Justice League. From what I have been told, WB wanted Man of Steel to hit a billion dollars at the box office, and when it didn’t, that’s when things really changed. The initial plan was to create Justice League and the DCEU around the Henry Cavill Superman and bring in a young pretty boy actor to play Batman in his second year of being a hero in a movie titled The Batman (I was told this ten years ago). However, when Man of Steel didn’t do as expected, Ben Affleck was brought in and they went with BvS, which led to the debacle known as Justice League (now they are going back to the original Batman idea with Reeves and Pattinson):
Snyder’s fans were every bit as ardent as Whedon’s had been, but his previous effort, Batman v Superman, had faltered at the box office and offended critics, with A. O. Scott going so far as to assert that Snyder and his corporate backers had “no evident motive” to produce such a joyless spectacle of power “beyond their own aggrandizement.” Now, those backers were concerned about how their new venture was shaping up. An early screening did not reassure them. “They asked me to fix it, and I thought I could help,” Whedon told me. He now regards this decision as one of the biggest regrets of his life.
WB wanted Snyder Verse over and done with
Here it is mentioned how Zack Snyder left Justice League, which from my understanding was less about his family emergency and more about both Man of Steel and BvS not meeting expectations, which led to panic about Justice League, so Snyder got the boot. I’m also under the impression that Whedon was brought in to end Snyder’s DCEU, not continue it (hence why WB didn’t push back the JL release date, mandated it be only 2 hours, gave Whedon not enough time to reshoot, and also explains the Henry Cavill Superman mustache fiasco as WB wanted Snyder Verse over and done with). Regarding butting heads with the cast, again Whedon only had 40 days to film, and Whedon’s style is “his way or the highway” and they were loyal to Snyder, so no surprise there:
At first, the studio executives told Whedon his role would be restricted to writing and advising, but soon it became clear to Whedon they had lost faith in Snyder’s vision and wanted him to take full control. (A representative from Warner Bros. denied this. Snyder has publicly stated he left the project to spend time with his family; his daughter had died by suicide two months earlier.) Whedon, now installed in the director’s chair, oversaw nearly 40 days of reshoots, a complicated and laborious undertaking. From the start, things were tense between him and the stars.
Whedon responds to Gal Gadot
Regarding Gal Gadot, the article offers that there was some sort of translation issue between Whedon and Gadot, which is a laughable notion. Gadot is actually really brilliant who originally planned to be a lawyer, so this sounds like complete Whedon BS. Did Whedon include that Flash/WW faceplant scene in spite? Probably:
Gadot didn’t care for Whedon’s style either. Last year, she told reporters Whedon “threatened” her and said he would make her “career miserable.” Whedon told me he did no such thing: “I don’t threaten people. Who does that?” He concluded she had misunderstood him. “English is not her first language, and I tend to be annoyingly flowery in my speech.” He recalled arguing over a scene she wanted to cut. He told her jokingly that if she wanted to get rid of it, she would have to tie him to a railroad track and do it over his dead body. “Then I was told that I had said something about her dead body and tying her to the railroad track,” he said. (Gadot did not agree with Whedon’s version of events. “I understood perfectly,” she told New York in an email.)
Whedon and Ray Fisher
On to Ray Fisher, which has been a disaster and continues to be so as Fisher hasn’t stopped his Twitter rants. I’ll say I now believe Zack Snyder is/was behind the whole thing and sent Fisher out to attack both Whedon and Geoff Johns (and also used a YouTuber to do so) and accuse them of racism, which IMO, is unfounded. Why no mention of Chuck, Ray? However, in Fisher’s defense, his role in the Snyder Cut was really great, so I don’t agree at all with Whedon’s thoughts. Worth a question, though, is how great would Snyder’s theatrical cut have been? Certainly, it wasn’t going to be four hours long:
The actors, at least some of them, felt Whedon had been rude, too. Ray Fisher, a young Black actor, played Cyborg; it was his first major role. Snyder had centered the film on his character — the first Black superhero in a DC movie — and he’d treated Fisher as a writing partner, soliciting his opinions on the film’s representations of Black people. Whedon downsized Cyborg’s role, cutting scenes that, in Fisher’s view, challenged stereotypes. When Fisher raised his concerns about the revisions in a phone call, Whedon cut him off. “It feels like I’m taking notes right now,” Whedon told him, according to The Hollywood Reporter, “and I don’t like taking notes from anybody — not even Robert Downey Jr.”
Whedon says he cut down Cyborg’s role for two reasons. The story line “logically made no sense,” and he felt the acting was bad. According to a source familiar with the project, Whedon wasn’t alone in feeling that way; at test screenings, viewers deemed Cyborg “the worst of all the characters in the film.” Despite that, Whedon insists he spent hours discussing the changes with Fisher and that their conversations were friendly and respectful. None of the claims Fisher made in the media were “either true or merited discussing,” Whedon told me. He could think of only one way to explain Fisher’s motives. “We’re talking about a malevolent force,” he said. “We’re talking about a bad actor in both senses.”
Zack Snyder’s DCEU is nothing to write home about
The article also basically confirms some other things I have been told in that the Snyder Cut was never intended to be released but that during the pandemic with the launch of HBO Max WB was desperate for content so they greenlit it.
I’ll also add I now believe it was Zack Snyder and his PR team who were behind the Snyder Cut campaign and not a group of fans. Snyder/WB did something similar during the release of Man of Steel using Facebook to promote the flick to the fans and various sites using an “unofficial page.”
It should also be said that Zack’s ideas for the DCEU ended up being pretty awful, so while at one time we were all hoping Zack would come through (yeah, it’s cool to see your favorite characters but content is king), much like his DC movies, there was no hope at all (and now the Snyder Verse is getting a do-over).