A new report about the making of Justice League shows that there were already problems with the movie’s production before Joss Whedon replaced Zack Snyder in the director’s seat.
The DC Extended Universe film formed a sort of trilogy with Snyder’s Man of Steel, which divided audiences, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which was generally disliked. This led to a widespread attempt at course correction, with Warner Bros. trying to convince potential viewers that Justice League would not be overly dour or complicated like previous entries in the franchise.
When Snyder’s daughter unexpectedly died, he left production, with Joss Whedon (who had previously directed the equivalent Marvel film, The Avengers) taking over. He oversaw extensive reshoots, and the two directors’ very different styles wound up clashing in the final production. Overall, it was deemed “okay,” but Snyder’s fans have been vocal with the opinion of Whedon ruined what could have been an excellent film.
According to Kyle Buchanan at Vulture, however, Warner Bros. was leery of Snyder’s take early on, to the point where they had Geoff Johns, head of DC Entertainment, reworking parts of the script.
“I remember hearing that Geoff Johns rewrote so much of JUSTICE LEAGUE when Zack Snyder was still directing that Chris Terrio [the screenwriter] would complain, ‘Maybe *try* using some of my pages?'” Buchanan tweeted.
He added, “WB was allegedly so unsatisfied with how the Johns/Snyder version was shaping up that they convened a footage summit for *other* writers including Joss Whedon, Allan Heinberg, Seth Grahame-Smith, and Andrea Berloff to offer feedback. Then they hired Whedon.”
All this indicates that the film’s production was even more troubled than previously known, and that contrary to the popular narrative, it was not just Joss Whedon taking advantage of Snyder’s absence to make his own movie—the studio clearly found Snyder’s take flawed, which is why they hoped that Whedon’s more popular style would correct it.
Whether or not they were right to think this, of course, depends on your opinion of Snyder’s work; pretty much all of his films have been “love it or hate it,” though he certainly has strength with visual effects. But given the poor reception of Batman v Superman, one can understand Warner Bros.’ fears, however unfortunate this was for Snyder and his fans.