Right now, fans all over the world are going nuts over director George Miller’s return to the world of Mad Max with Fury Road. But did you know that not that long ago, Warner Brothers nearly had Miller direct a big screen Justice League movie? Back in 2007, Warner Bros. hired Miller to bring the JLA to life in a movie that would have been called Justice League: Mortal, and the project came this close to shooting. There was a script, a full cast in place (including Armie Hammer as Batman and Common as Green Lantern) costumes designed and made, and shooting was scheduled to proceed in a matter of weeks before Warner Brothers pulled the plug on the whole thing in early 2008.
Various reasons have been given as to why the whole thing crashed–the WGA writer’s strike was happening at the time, Chris Nolan’s desire to have his Batman be the only Batman while his Dark Knight saga was in the middle of production, problems filming in Australia, and, supposedly, WB’s cold feet about introducing all of these iconic characters together in one movie, which might kill all those potential franchises in one fell swoop if fans didn’t take to it. Any one or all of these things could have done Justice League: Mortal in. But after the awesomeness of Mad Max: Fury Road it’s hard not to imagine what could have been.
Now, director Ryan Unicomb and producers Aaron Cater and Steven Caldwell plan on pulling back the curtain on the movie that almost beat Marvel to The Avengers by three whole years. That’s right, they are planning to tell the whole behind the scenes saga of the JLA movie that nearly was in a feature-length documentary. Currently, the documentary has the working title Miller’s Justice League Mortal, and will seek to give an unbiased account of the project’s development, pre-production, and cancellation, as well as the impact on the Australian film industry. The plan is to interview some of the cast and crew who would have worked on the film and gain access to never-before-seen artwork and costumes, very few which have leaked out over the years.
The last couple of years have seen several documentaries based around high-profile genre projects that ultimately never saw the light of day, like Jodorowsky’s Dune and this year’s The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?, as well as the upcoming Doomed: The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four, so Miller’s Justice League Mortal will be in good company. While a documentary like this might take a few years to produce, I wouldn’t be surprised if it premieres in time for Zack Snyder’s 2017 Justice League movie.
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