Up until the Snyder Cut came along, George Miller’s Justice League: Mortal was the most famous unmade movie starring DC’s all-star team. The Mad Max director had his cast and crew in place, storyboards were complete, costume fittings were being done and the budget was okayed at a mammoth $220 million before the plug was pulled just months before shooting was set to begin in the summer of 2008.
Warner Bros. got cold feet on the idea due to the success of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, with the studio not keen on having multiple versions of their superheroes existing on the big screen at the same time, which ironically looks to be the DCEU’s business model for the next few years with Michael Keaton returning to play Batman and The Flash set to open up the multiverse.
With alternate realities now set to factor heavily into the franchise’s next generation of storytelling, there are infinite possibilities about where the DCEU can go from here, and based on the developments of the last few months, it seems clear that nothing can be definitively ruled out.
In a recent interview, Jay Baruchel, who was set to play villain Maxwell Lord in Justice League: Mortal, admitted that he’d relish the chance to finally play in the DC sandbox should the opportunity ever present itself.
“That would be the coolest. I have to confess that Justice League: Mortal looms pretty high in my memory and in my heart. Getting to play Maxwell Lord was a piece of it, but it was also getting to kind of apprentice, shadow time with George Miller, was really the coolest thing in the world. I’m a huge, huge nerd and a huge comic book nerd, specifically, so in a heartbeat, in an absolute heartbeat. I don’t know if anyone wants to see the character that Miller and I were coming up with, it would have been a very polarizing performance I suspect.”
Baruchel claiming that his take on Maxwell Lord in Justice League: Mortal would have been polarizing instantly conjures up memories of Jesse Eisenberg’s divisive performance as Lex Luthor in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and an actor best known for starring in broad comedies would have no doubt been a far cry from the sharp-suited, suave version of the character that Pedro Pascal will be playing in Wonder Woman 1984.