Justice League writer airs his beef with Warner Bros.

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Academy award winner and Justice League scribe Chris Terrio is airing his grievances in an exclusive and wide ranging interview with Vanity Fair. Not to mince words, the man is super pissed off and despises what happened to his DC films just as much as the haters do. 

After remaining silent on the matter, Terrio has decided to face his critics as well as fans to set the record straight regarding his work on both DC films Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. 

To quote directly from the interview:

He described the films that Warner Bros. released to theaters in 2016 and 2017 as incoherent misfires, undermined by corporate meddling, poor franchise planning, and tone-deaf decisions that prioritized costly VFX sequences over coherent storytelling. Terrio believes that Zack Snyder’s director’s cuts of both are much stronger, if still imperfect movies—an overall vindication of their work together. 

“The 2017 theatrical cut was an act of vandalism,” Terrio said. “Zack may be too much of a gentleman to say that, but I’m not.”

(The studio did not provide any comment on his remarks.)

The Vanity Fair interview is incredibly blunt and details many issues Terrio has with the two films as well as the studio. Here are some key highlights:

Ben Affleck called him

After working together on the film Argo, it seems that the studio invited Terrio to appease Ben Affleck. Affleck himself called Terrio and asked him to read and possibly rewrite the script in an attempt to work on Batman’s character. 

Hated the title Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Terrio initially intended the film to be a snapshot of how he was feeling about the division of the country. He specifically did NOT want the film to feel like a sitcom joke that Batman and Superman were trying to kill each other. He intended for it to be dark and operatic. 

He did NOT name the script and he wasn’t even consulted on the title. He found out the name of the film along with the rest of the world, on the internet. He thought the name was a disaster. 

Terrio speaks in depth about the changes he made to the original script as well as his reasons behind them. 

Disgusted by “Josstice” League

After watching Joss Whedon’s version of that film, Terrio was so disgusted that he explored taking his name off the movie. He was especially disappointed to see the sidelining of Ray Fisher’s tragic hero, Cyborg, whose arc the actor himself had helped craft.

He’s happy the Snyder Cut was released so everyone who was cut, sidelined, and minimized in the theatrical version could be seen and enjoyed by the public and he’s grateful to HBO Max for allowing Snyder to finish and release his original vision.

Terrio was especially happy to see “Willem Dafoe’s performance in the Aquaman story. Obviously the character Iris West [played by Kiersey Clemons in the Flash rescue sequence] and, most centrally, Ray Fisher’s performance as Cyborg.”

Terrio was hurt and disappointed when he saw the final theatrical release after

Whedon was finished ripping it apart. 

Mad respect for Zack Snyder

Chris Terrio said that he has nothing but good things to say about Snyder. He respects his talent for visualization and contagious excitement. After Batman v Superman Zack and Chris remained friends with the intention to create a big, epic DC world together. 

After Justice League was taken away and rewritten Terrio fell into a deep depression, but felt he wasn’t entitled to be depressed after the family tragedy the Snyder family endured. 

Zack Snyder agreed with many of his changes on the BvS script. 

Warner Bros. tensions

Terrio explained that the cast and filmmakers were paraded in front of a room of investors at the Time Warner Center in an attempt to convince them their money was in good hands. One of the top level investors actually took Terrio aside and told him how to write Batman. 

The studio tensions forced him to rewrite Justice League in an attempt to lighten the mood, and that is what has now become Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

Snyder told Terrio that it was then Warner Bros. chairman Kevin Tsujihara’s mandate that Justice League be under two hours and more comedic.

“When the movie was taken away, that felt like it was some directive that had come from people who are neither filmmakers nor film-friendly—the directive to make the movie under two hours, regardless of what the movie needed to do, and to make the colors brighter, and to have funny sitcom jokes in it.”

Chris Terrio

Tsujihara and the brass at the very top, decided the order of the films and determined that it was going to be Batman/Superman, and then Wonder Woman, then Justice League, and then Aquaman. So there was never any thought to how the world was constructed before they issued this edict. They said, “Conform to this schedule.”

Studio co-presidents Jon Berg and Geoff Johns, who have been accused by actor Ray Fisher of being complicit in Whedon’s toxic behavior, were on the Justice League set every day, which was a mandate from Tsujihara, to “babysit” Snyder, as he put it.

Terrio thought it was “miraculous” that Zack shot as much of his script as he did knowing there was constant pressure to simplify and do whatever the studio wanted. 

The Actors

Terrio developed Cyborg with Ray Fisher and Fisher even went to Terrio’s apartment in the East Village and talked about Cyborg and the responsibility of putting the first Black DC superhero in a movie on screen. (This was before Black Panther)

Terrio said, “Cyborg is the one character who can’t disguise himself. He lives in his skin. His otherness is a constant fact of his life. And that to me—and Ray and I discussed this—speaks about being a Black man in America. You cannot remove the otherness that people force upon you. And therefore Cyborg—when he becomes the hero that he always should have been and was meant to be, that felt like something really strong that we wanted the world to see.”

Terrio also talked to Jeremy Irons on the phone and had correspondence with Gal Gadot regarding the Wonder Woman character. 

After feeling like a scapegoat after the horrendous flop of Justice League in 2017, Chris Terrio has no problems facing his critics now that his work has actually been released to the public in The Snyder Cut. 

The complete interview can be viewed here