Joss Whedon Calls Justice League One of the Biggest Regrets of His Life
Director Joss Whedon wishes he had never gotten involved with 2017's Justice League.
Speaking to New York Magazine, the writer/director explained that taking over Justice League's production was one of the biggest mistakes of his life. Though Warner Bros. initially brought Whedon onto the project to help with rewrites, he claims the studio changed the scale of his involvement and tasked him with saving the film. "They asked me to fix it, and I thought I could help," he said.
After the departure of the film's original director, Zack Snyder, Whedon was brought onto Justice League to make edits and film reshoots. However, Whedon claims it became immediately apparent that his approach to filmmaking was vastly different than his predecessor's. For example, whereas Snyder would allow the film's actors to influence their characters' dialogue, Whedon wanted to stick strictly to the script. This approach led to a clash with Wonder Woman actor Gal Gadot, who disagreed with Whedon's interpretation of her character. Gadot later alleged that Whedon would brag about arguing with her on set and went so far as to threaten her career during Justice League's production. Whedon denied these claims, saying that because English is her second language, Gadot didn't understand he was joking.
In addition to angering Gadot, Whedon's decision-making process drew the ire of actor Ray Fisher, who played Victor Stone/Cyborg. Whedon cut most of Fisher's scenes, which were an essential part of Snyder's vision for Justice League, and cited bad acting and poor reactions from the film's test screenings as a primary motivator. Fisher saw the decision differently, though, and in 2020, he accused Whedon of making racially motivated edits to Justice League, including lightening the complexion of one of the film's actors of color.
Whedon's presence also caused an outcry from the film's writers, whose work became something they didn't recognize. Chris Terrio, who previously won an Academy Award for his work on 2012's Argo, explained in 2021 that Whedon's edits sent him into a depression. "It hurts to think that I cared so much about these characters and worked on nothing else for a very long time," he said. This perspective only increased when Terrio saw the final project, which was so far gone from his script that he attempted to get his name removed from Justice League's credits.
While Whedon's Justice League was a critical bomb, Warner Bros. ultimately decided to revisit the film's original vision with Zack Snyder's Justice League, aka the Snyder Cut. This extended edition of Justice League removed Whedon's additions and put back the film's cut scenes, including Cyborg's fleshed-out narrative. The HBO Max exclusive garnered mixed critical reviews but was well-received by Snyder's fans, who had passionately petitioned to see the movie made. It has also led many to support a similar movement for David Ayer's Suicide Squad, which faced its fair share of issues throughout its production.