As you may or may not know, Warner Bros. began working on a Justice League movie back in 2011, which was a few years before Man of Steel came out and kicked off the DC Extended Universe in proper fashion. Though it never got off the ground, a script was written by Will Beall and thanks to The Wrap, who got their hands on a copy of it, we now know what the studio’s original plan for the DCEU was.
As you’ll see down below, the script details what sounds like a pretty wild movie and a far cry from what we ended up getting. With 28 characters, time travel, an insane plot and more, we’re actually thankful that we got what we did instead, despite its problems, and after hearing about what Beall’s story involved, you’ll probably feel the same.
So, where to begin? Well, like we said above, the original Justice League would have featured 28 different characters, and they’re as follows: Darkseid, Steppenwolf, Batman, Superman, KGBeast, Lex Luthor, Killer Croc, Darkseid’s disciple Desaad, Flash, Amanda Waller, King Faraday, Tattooed Man, Copperhead, Cheetah, Solomon Grundy, John Stewart, Hawkman, Kanjar Ro, Wonder Woman, Katma Tui, Kilowag, Guy Gardner, Salakk, Tomar-Re, Deathstroke, Huntress, Captain Boomerang, and Mercy Graves.
As for the plot, well, here’s how The Wrap outlines it:
- Though Steppenwolf is the lead villain in this year’s “Justice League,” Beall’s draft would have made his boss, Darkseid, the master of evil. That opening shark-tank battle ends with Desaad, one of Darkseid’s minions, killing Killer Croc and stealing Kryptonite that Luthor has just tried to buy from KGBeast, aka Anatoli Knyazev. At one point, Croc bites a shark.
- While 2016’s “Batman v Superman” would pit the heroes against each other, the 2011 script imagined them as allies who know each others’ identities and have coffee at Metropolis Diner, where they chat about other DC superheroes like Diana (Wonder Woman), Green Lantern, Green Arrow and Aquaman. They soon travel to Central City to recruit Barry Allen, aka The Flash.
- Amanda Waller and King Faraday run the Department of Metahuman Affairs and seize Killer Croc’s body. We also meet Abel Terrant (Tattooed Man), Copperhead, Barbara Minerva (Cheetah) and Solomon Grundy. Waller and Croc eventually met in 2016’s “Suicide Squad.”
- In deep space, Green Lantern John Stewart and Thanagarian Katar Hol, aka Hawkman, engage in a cool action sequence inside a space-station nightclub as they try to stop Kanjar Ro from helping Dessad weaponize the Kryptonite. The first act ends with Superman kidnapped by Steppenwolf and the Parademons and taken back to Apokolips.
- By the start of the second act, Batman goes to Themyscira to recruit Diana, with whom he has a romantic history.
- Barry Allen, Green Lantern John Stewart and Diana have a meeting with Wayne inside the Batcave, which has several generations of Batmobiles and Batsuits, as well as Mr. Freeze’s Cyro-Gun, the Scarecrow’s Mask, and The Penguin’s Umbrella.
- John Stewart returns to OA (Green Lantern headquarters) and finds the dead bodies of his fellow Lanterns: Katma Tui, Kilowag, Guy Gardner, Salakk, and Tomar-Re. The entire Lantern Corps has been massacred by Darkseid.
- With the Lantern Corps out of the way, Darkseid invades earth at the midpoint of the script — with help from a brainwashed Superman. As he does in Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” and “Batman v Superman,” Wayne dons special armor to fight the Man of Steel. Diana manages to release Superman from Dessad’s mind control and Superman rejoins the League in the fight against Darkseid.
Continuing on, they revealed a few further plot points.
- Superman goes through a Boom Tube and travels eleven years into the future to find that Darkseid has wiped out 80 percent of the Earth’s population. Diana leads the last of the human resistance with an aged and grey-haired Bruce Wayne as her second-in-command. They have a son named Clark Wayne, and one surprising member of the resistance is Lex Luthor.
- The Future Batman leads a dozen fighters known as Batman’s Berzerkers. They include Slade Wilson (Deathstroke) George Harkness (Captain Boomerang), Helena Bertinelli (Huntress) and Barbera Minerva (Cheetah). Comics fans might also recognize this team as the members of Suicide Squad — though not exactly the Suicide Squad of last year’s film. The last of the resistance is headquartered inside Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.
- Future Lex Luthor figures out a way to send Barry Allen back eleven years in time, partly using Darkseid’s Boom Tube. Future Flash goes back in time to before Darkseid’s invasion, and dies in younger self’s arms — after warning of the terrible future.
- Diana, Bruce, Barry and Green Lantern travel to Apokolips and rescue Superman before Desaad can take over his mind, and the reunited Justice League battle Darkseid and his forces on Apokolips to stop the invasion of Earth. The entire Lantern Corps, along with the Amazons from Themyscira, join in the battle.
- The script ends with Mercy Graves planning a presidential campaign for Lex Luthor and Luthor receiving a message from Future Luthor telling him of Superman’s secret identity: Clark Kent.
While some of this does sound interesting, it’s probably for the best that this version of the film never got made. Not only would it have been a ridiculously over-stuffed movie full of way too much world building, but we can also imagine this turning out to be a bit of a mess.
Sure, the Justice League now in theaters is far from perfect, but at least it’s a lot more streamlined and focused than what the studio was originally planning to give us. Still, it’s fun to learn about what could have been and DC fans will no doubt get a kick out of reading the details of Beall’s script.
Tell us, what do you make of Warner Bros.’ initial idea for their team-up movie? Do you think it would have worked? Be sure to share your thoughts in the usual place!