In an alternate universe, George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road) made a pre-DCEU Justice League movie where Darkseid was the main villain and Batman fathered a child with Wonder Woman. In our own universe, unfortunately, Miller never got the chance despite a ton of headway via casting and pre-production. Instead, we got the shaky Zack Snyder/Joss Whedon version that turned out to be a dismal failure both critically and financially.
Still, bits and pieces of the super hero film that never was continues to eke out of that dark abyss where Hollywood's abandoned projects go to curl up and die.
While at this year's Sundance Festival, Armie Hammer (the actor who was set to play Bruce Wayne) opened up about the failed production, which was going to be titled Justice League: Mortal, during a Kevin Smith-moderated IMDB panel. Turns out, they were pretty deep into actually making the movie.
"[Peter Jackson's] Weta [Workshop] built us a whole functioning suit that had hydraulics and worked and had microphones all through the suit, so I could hear everything happening around me," said Hammer. "It was 100 percent functional because we had $300 million to do it."
The cast was also brought together in Australia where a lot of the principal photogrpahy was supposed to take place. According to Hammer, they were in the land down under for a month or two, shooting footage and engaging in rehearsals while in costime.
"And then we got a call one day from the producers and they go 'We need everybody to come in and bring all of your material, bring all of your scripts, bring your notes, bring everything," continued the actor. "We were like 'Ok' and we show up and they had big bins and they go 'Put it all in here.' And I was like 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure, sure, sure and I quickly snuck a CD out of my computer and put in my back pocket, turned [all my materials] in and managed to basically steal a script, but other than that, I had nothing to show for it. I'm sure there's pictures floating around out there somewhere of all of us in our costumes."
He went on to cite that a major part of Miller's Justice League shutdown was that Australia pulled the plug on its tax credits due to huge government reform, which sent the entire crew packing. They were also trying to get it done before the Writers Guild strike of 2007-08, but to no avail.
"The writers strike was looming," Hammer said, "so what we did is we all sat down at a table before we knew it was gonna happen, almost like 'We have two hours' and they're like 'So just throw every idea we can into the script because we can't once it starts' and everybody just sat around spitballing with George and [co-writer] Nico [Lathouris] and the whole creative team down there. We ended up with a script that was almost 200 pages long and then someone goes 'Ok, five...four...three...alright, guys, that's the writers strike. Pens down, no one can write anything else and we were alll like 'Uhhh, what is this script gonna look like?' but it didn't matter because we didn't get to shoot it anyway.
It would have been the first-ever comic book ensemble movie (predating Marvel's Avengers by nearly a year), but if the screenplay was going to be cobbled together like that, maybe everything turned out for the best. We'll never know until the writers of our own reality decide to go into full Crisis on Infinite Earths mode and simplify continuty by allowing all parallel universes to cross over with one another.