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11 Things We Learned on the JUSTICE LEAGUE Set

Barry Allen doesn’t have any friends. Ezra Miller’s Barry told Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne this when Bruce showed up at his home to recruit him in a clip from the upcoming Justice League film. Barry’s admission wasn’t a sad one; it was more tongue in cheek. Everything we saw of Flash in clips and on set showed a humorous, slightly awkward tone for the character. It’s not what one might have expected after the darkness of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and after comments from director Zack Snyder about the heavier tone of the DC movie universe. But Justice League is bringing brightness.

During a visit to the set of Justice League with other journalists, Nerdist learned about the overall tonal difference for the film, but that wasn’t all the intel we gathered during interviews with the producers, director, and cast and tours of sound stages. No one gave up big spoilers, but if you want to go into the movie knowing nothing beyond the just-released synopsis, stop reading now.

  • Steppenwolf is a primary villain in the film. Concept art in the production’s war room showed the character in silhouette. They’ve almost closed a deal with an actor but wouldn’t disclose who will be stepping into the role of the New God. In the comics, Steppenwolf serves Darkseid.
  • Parademons also cause trouble for our heroes in the film. The bug-like creatures are from Apokolips in the comics and are commanded by Darkseid. In Justice League, we know they’re kidnapping scientists. We observed a scene being filmed in which Commissioner Gordon talked to Batman, the Flash, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg about nine missing scientists (including the head of STAR Labs). They were taken by Parademons–Batman called them the bad guys’ “flying monkeys.” The team decides to search for a possible Parademon nest in abandoned tunnels that stretch between Gotham City and Metropolis. We explored part of the tunnels and saw destruction caused by what was likely a huge action sequence.
  • Willem Dafoe is playing Nuidis Vulko. In the comics, Vulko is a supporting character in the Aquaman stories and is the chief scientific adviser of Atlantis. We saw Vulko’s costume for Justice League and costume designer Michael Wilkinson said it was created to have a more courtly look than Aquaman’s and Mera’s ensembles. Wilkinson wanted Vulko to appear as though he was from a different generation.
  • Rather than outsourcing production of the superhero costumes, they’re fabricating everything in house. That means they’re designing, sculpting, casting, weathering, and doing every step possible in a few rooms of the studio. It’s not a typical move for a production this large, but Wilkinson discussed how much control it gives them.
  • The Flash’s costume has received an upgrade. Barry’s initially wearing a prototype, but it’s possible that he breaks into NASA in order to get tech to fashion a suit capable of keeping up with his speed. The outfit is made of 148 different pieces, and the costume department has a detailed diagram showing how the numbered pieces are to be fitted onto Miller. It takes two costumers to get the actor in and out of the ensemble and only takes about five minutes. The costume is wrapped with wires that will show electricity flowing around his body with the aid of VFX. And finally, Flash has the coolest red sneakers; they’re emblazoned with yellow lightning bolts on the sides and soles. I want a pair.
  • Cyborg is CGI from about the neck down.
  • Justice League is being shot on 35mm film, with no IMAX shots.
  • Batman has some new suits with new plates and armor. He’s getting a little more tactical and more prepared for the dangers ahead. To that end, he also has tech upgrades. The Batmobile has heavier protection. There are a couple of fresh vehicles for the team to play with: the Nightcrawler and the Flying Fox. The latter is a troop carrier big enough to fit the entire Justice League.
  • The fact that Superman is in Justice League isn’t a secret. He’s in concept art, and he loomed as a cardboard standee in the war room, but no one is talking about how he comes back or at what point.
  • The Batman we’re meeting is different from the man in Batman v Superman. Producer Deborah Snyder said, “It’s about the purpose of being a hero, and Superman’s death had such a strong effect on Batman, and he regains faith in humanity, and everything that’s good. Here’s this alien who just gave his life for us, and it really changes Batman, and he also feels responsibility to honor him, so I think you’re seeing the elevation of these heroes. 

    Ben Affleck added Batman has to try to work with others which isn’t always his best thing. “That’s the interesting thing about this Batman is that on the one hand, he’s the ultimate loner, but on the other hand, he’s tasked with putting together a group. So, is the guy who basically broods in a cave all day really the best person suited to put together a team of superheroes? He doesn’t have huge success initially. He rubs some people the wrong way, they rub him the wrong way. He’s got to figure out to play well with others. He barely knows how to play well with Alfred.”

  • The three Mother Boxes have a significant part in Justice League. They’re tied to the Atlanteans, Amazonians, and humans. They each have a distinct look (the varying colors of white, red, and green made me think of Daenerys’ dragon eggs from Game of Thrones), and the history of the Mother Boxes will be explored with the story reaching into the past. Zeus shows up at some point, and I’m guessing that will play into the Amazonian Mother Box story. Producer Charles Roven said, “These Mother Boxes are best used when they work in threes.”

How do you feel about these revelations? Let me know your thoughts in the comments or come talk to me on Twitter–@amy_geek.

Images: Warner Bros./DC Comics
Editor’s note: Nerdist’s time on the Justice League set was courtesy of Warner Bros.

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