Justice League is full of cinematic ‘what ifs?’ What if they’d let Zack Snyder finish his conceptual trilogy that began with Man of Steel? What if they hadn’t awkwardly crowbarred a load of crappy jokes into the film? What if we’d gotten to see a handsomely mustachioed Superman? Now, we can add another one to this rapidly growing pile: what if they’d stuck with the original design for Steppenwolf?
The film’s creature designer, Jerad S. Marantz, gave us a good idea of what that would have been like yesterday, uploading a great picture of the Apokolyptian that bears little resemblance to his final appearance in the movie, but is also a whole lot better. Here, he actually looks scary, alien and appropriately otherworldly, with the design blurring the boundary between organic and artificial with more than a tinge of Giger.
The thing is, from what I’ve heard, it wasn’t that the Warner Bros. executives didn’t think the look was good. Rather, they thought it would be too frightening. Check it out for yourself in the gallery below and see what you think:
Naturally, you can’t have a scary genocidal madman who wants to subjugate the population of Earth into mutated slavery, so the decision was made at a late stage to replace him with the risible CG Power Rangers villain that’s drawn so much criticism since the film’s release.
It’s not as if they didn’t have better options to go with at this stage, either. As Thor: Ragnarok proved, you can’t go too wrong by sticking to Jack Kirby’s designs. If you did want something less threatening, why not go with the original Kirby Steppenwolf? I mean, look at this guy! Who can tell me they don’t want a dog-riding space-knight tyrant yelling “feel the burning bite of my electro-axe, you heroes!!”, and saying that the battlefield is “where a lusty warrior should be!!”
Sadly, as even ardent defenders of Justice League admit, the Steppenwolf we got was neither as intimidating as Marantz’s design, or as lusty as Kirby’s was. Instead, he was simply… there. Just another anonymous CG dude for superheroes to beat up on. C’mon Warner Bros. Where did your balls go?