Batman v Superman Writer Hated WB’s Original, Darker Ending
Chris Terrio, the screenwriter behind Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Zack Snyder’s Justice League, has broken his silence on his experience working with Waner Bros. across two DC blockbusters. And he hasn’t been happy.
In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Terrio talks about his experiences on Batman v Superman, which he was brought onto to help revise an existing script, and Justice League which he hoped would be a chance to start fresh before director Zack Snyder left and the DC brought in replacement Joss Whedon.
In one part of the interview, Terrio says he acknowledges complaints with both his DC movie scripts but says that’s what happens when whole portions of the script are cut out to save on length. As for the other criticism that his vision of the DC universe is too dark, Terrio says the version of Batman v Superman he was hired to rewrite was even darker.
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“The studio seemed to take this position after [Batman v Superman] that my writing was too dark and this was their problem,” Terrio says. “But what they didn’t mention was that, for example, in the draft of the Batman/Superman script that W.B. ha developed — [which was] the draft I was handed when I joined the project — Batman was not only branding criminals with the bat brand, he also ended the movie by branding Lex Luthor.”
Terrio says he “went to the mat” with WB over this ending arguing that while Batman can begin the movie as this unrecognizable dark character, he needs to end it on a path to redemption — a theme Terrio hoped to continue in Justice League.
“[Batman] has to see the error of his ways and remember his better self in the course of the movie. By the end of the movie, he needs to be the Batman we know, and he has to be ready to go and create the Justice League,” says Terrio.
Terrio also cut original ideas like Superman “raining hell upon Black African Muslim characters in the desert,” after Lois is punched by one of her kidnappers early in the movie. “I wanted to say [to WB], ‘I’ve been saving you from yourselves!” Terrio says. “‘I’ve been working with the director to bring a voice of conscience and sanity to the almost perversely dark film you’ve been developing for years, but I’m the problem here?’”
The screenwriter says despite his experience on Batman v Superman he signed on to write Justice League for a chance to write these characters with “love and hope,” but the working conditions for that film were similarly complicated. For example, the Wonder Woman script wasn’t finished when Terrio wrote Justice League and so he says he had no basis to write Wonder Woman or Aquaman for that matter.
And while Terrio won’t comment on how Joss Whedon handled the reshoots, saying he never met Joss and doesn’t know him, he says after watching Whedon’s cut of the Justice League Terrio called his lawyer to try and get his name off that version of the film.
But removing his name so close to the film’s release would have delayed the movie creating a scandal. “So I shut up and I said nothing publicly. I’ve never said anything about Justice League since then, but the movie doesn’t represent my work.”
As for the Snyder cut, Terrio praises Snyder for shooting much of his script intact and is happy to accept the critiques or praises now that it’s his original version on screen.