How Much Will Justice League Movie Script Be Influenced By The Dark Knight Returns?


For people anxious to see how the Warner Bros./DC movie universe develops, here’s some good news: the first draft of the Justice League movie script is already complete.

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That’s the word from, citing a feature in the new print edition of Entertainment Weekly. Chris Terrio and director Zack Snyder reportedly holed up with a whole bunch of Diet Coke (note to Coca-Cola: maybe you want to explore some product placement possibilities with these gentlemen) and simply pounded out the story for the two-part film which is scheduled to hit theaters in 2017 and 2019.

Then there’s this interesting tidbit:

"Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns is noted as one of the influences on their plot."

By itself, that’s not an especially big revelation. There look to be some of the themes of The Dark Knight Returns in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as well, particularly with Ben Affleck describing his Batman as an older, more weary version than we’re used to seeing in films. Some role reversal could also be in play, as The Dark Knight Returns featured a Superman who had aligned himself completely with the U.S. government and was still seen (or at least pushed as) a hero to the people, while Batman v Superman has positioned the Man of Steel as someone who large portions of the public don’t trust.

The reason it’s curious for The Dark Knight Returns to influence Justice League is that there simply aren’t many of the Leaguers in it. We get Batman, Superman and Green Arrow (who plays a small but pivotal role in the ultimate showdown between the Dark Knight and the Man of Tomorrow), and that’s about it.

Now if we include the sequel, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, we get a much broader set of characters in the mix, including Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, the Atom, Martian Manhunter and others. Lex Luthor is the main villain as well. But as beloved as The Dark Knight Returns was and is, its sequel was almost universally panned. Hopefully Snyder and company steer clear of it for possible plot points and characterizations.

So where does that leave us? If the report is right about the Justice League script, the guess here is that it only draws on The Dark Knight Returns (and maybe DK2) for tone and atmosphere, and not for anything more specific than that. Warner and DC look as if they are content following Marvel’s lead in terms of not making movies that are straight comic adaptations, and Justice League shouldn’t remind us of any particular comic book series or arc — even one of the most highly regarded examples in super hero history.

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