In an ideal world, 2016 would have gone down as a defining year for Warner’s DC Extended Universe, with both Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and David Ayer’s Suicide Squad spinoff releasing within the space of five months.
Alas, neither really lived up to those lofty expectations, forcing the Powers That Be at Warner Bros. to shuffle their proverbial deck. The first order of business involved electing Ben Affleck to executive producer on Justice League, which has now been streamlined into a single event movie; no longer will Zack Snyder’s 2017 ensemble feature tee up narrative arcs in anticipation of a sequel, instead those story beats will now be folded into the main film.
It’s a little more complicated than that, of course, with DC producer Geoff Johns revealing to The Wall Street Journal (via CBM) that the script has essentially been accelerated so that Justice League reaches the “hope and optimism a little faster.” Joined in the interview by Jon Berg, here’s what he had to share about the reshuffling effort.
“To have these characters be part of the fabric of pop culture is so rewarding, though of course we’re disappointed the movies weren’t better reviewed. We accelerated the story to get to the hope and optimism a little faster. We’re trying to take a really hard look at everything to make sure we stay true to the characters and tell stories that celebrate them.”
Reflecting on the DCEU’s wobbly first steps, Geoff Johns spoke candidly about Warner’s handling of tone and style, and why DC movies don’t necessarily have to be defined as “gritty and dark” from the outset.
“Mistakenly in the past I think the studio has said, ‘Oh, DC films are gritty and dark and that’s what makes them different.’ That couldn’t be more wrong. It’s a hopeful and optimistic view of life. Even Batman has a glimmer of that in him. If he didn’t think he’d make tomorrow better, he’d stop.”
Justice League is due to hit theaters on November 17, 2017. Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Ray Fischer, Willem Dafoe, and J.K. Simmons all star.