Justice League VFX Reel Confirms Final Battle Was Much Darker Before Reshoots
It had been rumored that Zack Snyder had planned a far darker final battle for the climax of Justice League than the one that made it into the theatrical release of the movie following reshoots managed by Avengers director Joss Whedon. These rumors seem to have been confirmed by the recent release of two VFX reels from Blind LTD, who did visual effects work on the film.
Rumors of the existence of a "Snyder cut" of Justice League have persisted for several months, with the demand for a special edition of the movie growing as more and more evidence revealed how drastically the reshoots altered the tone and story of Snyder's original vision. Photos have surfaced revealing several scenes that were cut from the theatrical release of the movie, such as a battle at STAR Labs. Storyboard artist Jay Oliva also confirmed that the story Whedon ultimately told was not the same as what he had worked on with Snyder, despite claims that Whedon was working directly from Snyder's plan.
Two video special effects sample reels posted to the DCEUnited Twitter, which can be viewed below, seem likely to add further fuel to the fire. The first video shows a compilation of various effects shots, briefly showing a strange inverted pyramid in a desolated landscape. The second, shorter video, shows this structure in more detail, along with what appears to be a desolated Earth.
This footage greatly resembles scenes from a previously released series of concept art paintings for Justice League. Created by artist Christian Lorenz Scheurer, the paintings show the villain Steppenwolf successfully using the Motherboxes he gathered over the course of the movie to start terraforming Earth to resemble his home-world of Apokolips. This would have created a hellish landscape, similar to the sand-blasted dystopian wasteland which Bruce Wayne saw during the "Knightmare" sequence of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. The VFX reels from Blind LTD seem to confirm that the idea of the Justice League fighting Steppenwolf in a visibly devastated land had progressed far beyond the pre-production phase of the film's development.
What this may mean for the efforts to see a Snyder cut of Justice League released is anyone's guess. The rumors are as far-spreading as they are contradictory at this point, with dueling reports saying that Snyder had a full cut of the movie complete before he left the project and that he is now working on an edit of the movie independent of Warner Brothers. The only thing we know for certain is that this controversy will continue to boil for quite some time.