So how much of the final cut of “Justice League” was director Zack Snyder and how much was Joss Whedon? While there’s some obvious tell-tale signs of changes in scenes in the film ranging from the more obvious like CG upper lips and actor weight fluctuations, others are more subtle including minor shifts in character hairstyle between scenes.
One thing is for sure, Whedon didn’t just add scenes to the movie when he came onboard – he also subtracted some with much of the backstory of both Aquaman and Cyborg looking to have been victims of both the new edit and the determination by the studio to bring the film in under two hours.
Just to give you an idea of the changes, a three-minute clip has been made of the scenes and some of the dialogue clips in the various trailers that didn’t make the final film. Considering the total footage of the trailers only represent a small part of the film anyway, it suggests a lot.
The short change being given to Cyborg can be seen online as a Vimeo user has uploaded six deleted scenes from the film with many of them revolving around Ray Fisher’s character Victor Stone including nightmare scenes involving Nazi flags and hundreds of in-flight missiles. Not in there, but separately confirmed, is a scene that was shot in which Victor shares an emotional moment with his late mother who doesn’t appear in the theatrical cut.
The cut scenes also contain footage of Kiersey Clemons’ cameo as Iris West, however I can’t link that footage. The clips can be found on YouTube and Vimeo.
Meanwhile Willem Dafoe’s “Aquaman” character of Vulko was originally a part of “Justice League” but his scenes were cut back due to time constraints, in fact much of the “Aquaman” lore within the film that was established by Snyder seems to have been cut right back. Momoa tells Screen Rant that Aquaman’s half-human heritage played a much bigger factor in cut scenes:
“What Zack and I did, we were kind of trying to establish that he was taken down there as a boy, and he was an outcast, he was a half-breed. And he was built up as a young boy because he was fed all these ideas by Vulko – that he was the rightful king. And he gets down there and he’s a half breed, he’s impure, and I’m just made to feel like I’m this disease. So after that, I was like, ‘F— you, f— you, I’m on my own.'”
One thing that did come with the changes though is widely considered one of the film’s strongest elements, Danny Elfman’s score, which re-uses elements of both Elfman’s own Batman theme from the 1989 Tim Burton film and the Superman theme from John Williams.
Elfman tells THR that composers who abandoned famed themes that work are fools for wasting such precious resources:
“The whole concept that every time a superhero franchise is rebooted with a new director, then you have to start the music from scratch is a bullshit idea. It’s only for the ego of the director or the composer. [These creators] need to learn the incredible lesson that Star Wars and James Bond have known for ages, which is that keeping these musical connections alive is incredibly satisfying for the people who see these films.”
“Justice League” is now playing in cinemas worldwide.