SALT LAKE CITY — Don’t fret anymore about the lack of attractive films in theaters: “Justice League” is here to save the day — or so Warner Bros. hopes.
The superhero film, based on the comics about a group of superheroes who unite to fight a foreign threat, arrives in theaters this Friday, Nov. 17.
The story will focus on Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) who enlists Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher), to face a foreign alien threat.
Oh, and then there’s Superman (Henry Cavill), who’s dead at the film’s start, but will likely make a comeback during the film to help with the incoming threat.
Analysts believe the movie will be a blockbuster, though they remain unsure if the film will reach the $1 billion benchmark set out by the studio, according to CNBC.
Both “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad” — which were also DC Comics films produced by Warner Bros. — found commercial success, but were unable to earn $1 billion.
Still, for those unfamiliar with the franchise, there’s a lot to figure out. This isn’t a typical winter (read: Oscar-bait) movie — instead, the blockbuster epic is packed with superheroes, celebrities and all the fun that comes with a summer hit.
We’ve unpacked some of the details for the upcoming film ahead of its release. Here’s a quick look.
The story adds some previously unseen DC characters
We’re all pretty much aware that Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman will appear in the film. All three of those characters were seen in their own previous films from Warner Bros.
But “Justice League” will add a wealth of more characters from the DC Universe, including the water-based Aquaman, speedy runner The Flash and half-robot Cyborg. None of these characters have had their own standalone films, so this will be the first time they take center stage in the film universe.
Here’s a quick rundown of their superpowers:
- Flash: The Flash is the fastest man alive with the ability of super speed.
- Cyborg: Cyborg is half man, half-machine. His body was destroyed in a tragic accident, but was saved because of experimental technology.
- Aquaman: The ruler of the sea, Aquaman is the king of Atlantis and protector of the underwater world.
In the comics, the Justice League was founded by Aquaman, Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman and Superman, who all appear in the film.
But two other characters also helped form the group — Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern. So far, neither have been mentioned in new film, though there’s rumor that they may be included.
The production was a mess
“Justice League” didn’t happen overnight. In fact, the production required a “Herculean effort,” according to USA Today.
In May, director Zack Snyder stepped away from the film when his daughter, Autumn, committed suicide. Joss Whedon, who directed two of the Avengers films for Marvel, came aboard to write scenes for reshoots and finish up the production process, according to USA Today.
"Joss was part of the family, so we were lucky that he was there to pick it up,” Deborah Snyder, who is both a producer on the film and married to Zack, told USA Today. “It was such a difficult decision, but sometimes you have to put your family first. But also as a couple, we live and breathe these movies. Now that the movie is coming out, it’s a difficult time for Zack because he couldn’t really see his vision all the way through.”
The movie could fail, and that would be OK
Even if the film doesn’t do well at the box office, it’s unlikely Warner Bros. will feel the heat. As Forbes reported, the movie is well within its right to fail as a series.
And don’t forget that “Wonder Woman” earned $821 million worldwide.
In addition, Warner Bros. doesn’t rely on DC films to keep the studio going. If the movie fails, it won’t burn any bridges with financial executives with Warner Bros.
A sequel is coming maybe
DC fans will certainly be hammering for a sequel to the franchise, although that might have to wait. According to Bustle, the sequel was originally slated to come out in mid-2019 but got delayed because Ben Affleck’s standalone “Batman” film became a thing.
But then over the summer, the new “Batman” film hit its own snags, throwing suspicion on a potential “Justice League” sequel.
J.K. Simmons, who plays Commissioner Gordon of Gotham in the new film, said he’s unsure what’s next, too.
"We thought we might be getting to work pretty soon on "The Batman," but we’ll see what the future brings,” he said, according to Screencrush.
Jason Momoa as Aquaman in "Justice League." | Warner Bros. Pictures
There’s a villain already picked for the sequel kind of
Two actors in “Justice League” already put their money behind a potential villain for the second movie. Both Miller and Gadot said they hoped that the evil Injustice League will make an appearance.
“I think seeing some incarnation of the Injustice League would be something that DC fans would be pretty stoked about,” Miller said, according to ComicBook.
Gadot said she would also like to see Cheetah, a primary villain of Wonder Woman, in the sequel too.
The other ‘Justice League’ movie you never saw
Back in 2007, a script for a film called “Justice League: Mortal” received positive reviews from Hollywood executives, according to Den of Geek!, a comic book news website.
Ezra Miller as Barry Allen and Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne in "Justice League." | Warner Bros. Pictures
The film would have been less of an origin story, instead putting viewers right in the middle of the action from the get-go.
The film had a cast and director. Australian Greg Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”) was signed on to direct, with Adam Brody ("The O.C.") playing The Flash, Armie Hammer ("The Social Network") as Batman, Megan Gale ("Mad Max: Fury Road") as Wonder Woman and D.J. Cotrona ("Dear John") as Superman. Meanwhile, Jay Baruchel ("This is the End") would have played Maxwell Lord, the movie’s villain, according to Den of Geek!
The cast and crew were ready to shoot in Australia. So why didn’t the film happen?
Miller told Den of Geek!: "There was a writers strike. There was some legislation with a tax rebate to make it in Australia. It was the first film that came up, and there was a debate about whether it was Australian content even though I was driving it. It didn’t have to be Australian content, but Australian control. But there was a board that no longer exists that the government cobbled together from people who knew nothing about the film industry. And they voted — they struck it down by one vote. We were all ready. Once that happened and then the writers’ strike happened it fell apart."