Actor D.J. Cotrona is maybe best known for his role as Seth Gecko in the El Rey Network’s From Dusk Till Dawn television series, but it wasn’t many years ago that he almost inherited one of the most famous and iconic roles in popular culture: he was cast as Superman in George Miller’s ultimately cancelled Justice League film (also known as Justice League: Mortal).
That film was this close to being made, but ultimately the double whammy of the 2008 WGA writers strike and certain tax incentives not working out in Australia killed the film.
If it had come out, it would have beat The Avengers by three years, and the superhero movie landscape might be very different now, for better or worse. Of course, after the success of Mad Max: Fury Road, everyone is wondering just what a George Miller Justice League movie would have looked like, and Slashfilm recently caught up with Cotrona and asked him that very question. Here’s what he had to say:
The best way I can describe it is: George Miller’s mind is so operatic and big and expansive, it’s a shame that the world didn’t get to see what he would do with superheroes; It was allegorical, like a story of Greek Gods almost. He was doing things with the Superman character and Batman character, and all the iconic favorites, that’s never been done before. Watch Fury Road and you can only imagine what he would do with those iconic characters.
It was a giant tentpole superhero movie before that really became the norm. I think at the time, it had been a while since George had a movie out and the fan base for those types of properties hadn’t really seen the types of films George makes recently, so there was a lot of questions. Ultimately it was a two-year process. There was a strike and there were some financing issues. It ultimately fell apart.
The giant “what if?” of Miller’s Justice League has fascinated fans for years. There’s even a documentary being produced right now covering what the movie would have been like. Based on the script for the movie, which leaked some years back (and is floating around the internets, if one knows where to look), it featured the JLA already fully-formed, and played like a sequel to a Justice League origin movie that never existed, which was an interesting approach. In fact, the script bears a lot of similarities to Avengers: Age of Ultron in terms of plot and story beats.
Miller did seem to get one thing right though: the comparisons of the League to the pantheon of Greek Gods was also writer Grant Morrison’s approach when he wrote the heroes in his seminal run on the title JLA. In Greek mythology there was Zeus, Hades, and Hera high above on Mount Olympus, watching us mortals. In DC Comics mythology, we have Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, etc. looking down from their own Olympus: the Justice League Watchtower in Earth’s orbit. The 12 Olympian Gods were the perfect allegories for the team, and Miller was wise to understand that.
Now lets hope Zack Snyder is reading the same comics that Miller was reading as he preps his Justice League film, which is currently scheduled for a November 2017 release.
IMAGE: Superman Forever #1 cover by Alex Ross, 1998