Inside George Miller's Justice League: Mortal

Image Source, Source 1, Source 2, The Martian Senses All
Last year, Mad Max: Fury Road wowed audiences and reignited interest in the nearly forgotten film series, thanks to some old-school action sequences and amazing art designs. I didn't find Fury Road "perfect" in a sense, however, because of its lack of storytelling, but then again, its tight focus on tension and thrills made it clear to me on how special the film really is. George Miller might have been remembered in the past as the director of family-friendly movies - Happy Feet and Babe: Pig In The City, but future generations would look back on him as an innovator of modern film making.

Looking back at his filmography, there is one film that I'd pay anything to see, and that is the canned DC Comics movie, Justice League: Mortal. Fresh off with Batman Begins and Superman Returns, Warner Bros. wanted to start another film series that would have finally given them a major head start from Marvel. Unfortunately, it was cancelled because of a variety of reasons. But how was it suppose to go down? Well here we are at Dateline Movies, reporting from inside Hollywood's trash bin, to discuss what was suppose to happen, and what happened inside to Justice League: Mortal.

Source, Wonder Woman, Ready For Action
How did it almost happen?

After axing two planned DC adaptations, one being Wonder Woman (With Joss Whedon originally slated to helm the director's chair) and the other being The Flash (With writer David S. Goyer attempting to develop the project), Warner Bros. decides that the best project to be done would be a Justice League movie. A screenwriting couple was tasked with making a script for the movie. Soon, they submitted their own script entitled Justice League: Mortal, which was favored by many. 

Eventually casting choices were decided, and no, Christian Bale and Brandon Routh would not have reprised the roles of Batman (Preferring that the Nolan version should remain in a different universe) and Superman (Disappointed at the box office scores of his Superman Returns) respectively. In addition, a director was chosen, and you know who it is by now. Below is the supposed-to-be cast and crew members that would have contributed to the film. Note that some of the characters are listed here, despite not having an actor cast for the movie.

Source, "Run, Barry Run!!!"
Producer: Barrie M. Osborne

Costume Designer/s: Marit Allen (until death) and Weta Workshop

Writers: Kieran Mulroney and Michele Mulroney

Director: George Miller

  • Adam Brody as Barry Allen / The Flash
  • Armie Hammer as Bruce Wayne / Batman
  • Megan Gale as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman
  • D.J. Cotrona as Clark Kent / Kal-El / Superman
  • Common as John Stewart / Green Lantern
  • Hugh Keays-Byrne as John Jones / J'onn J'ozz / Martian Manhunter
  • Santiago Cabrera as Arthur Curry / Aquaman
  • Jay Baruchel as Maxwell Lord
  • Teresa Palmer as Talia al Ghul
  • Zoe Kasan as Iris West
  • "Unknown" as Alfred Penyworth
  • "Unknown" as Wally West / Kid Flash
  • "Unknown" as the voice of Brother Eye
  • "Unknown" as the voice of OMACs
Source, For Justice!!!
What was supposed to happen?

The following story outline will be a simplified and shortened version of the leaked script. For more information on the complete story, click here.

The Martian Manhunter, played by Keays-Byrne (Mad Max: Fury Road) was attacked by something that forces him to burn uncontrollably. The Flash, played by Brody (The O.C.) and Wonder Woman, played by Gale (The Water Diviner), bring the Martian to be submerged in water to Wonder Woman's apartment to control the Martian's condition, where they are visited by Superman, played by Cotrona (G.I. Joe: Retaliation), who knew something was up.

Source, Make-Up For Martian Manhunter
While this is happening, Batman, played by Hammer (The Lone Ranger) celebrates his birthday with Alfred, where he runs-in to billionaire Maxwell Lord, played by Baruchel (How To Train Your Dragon), and the "Daughter of the Demon" Talia al Ghul, played by Palmer (Warm Bodies). Alfred interrupts his celebration when he tells Batman that the Martian was just attacked.

The Flash makes his way back to his wife Iris West, played by Kasan (Ruby Sparks), after bailing out on their date. To make things up, he bonds with his nephew Wally West, who also has enhanced speed just like his uncle. The Flash asked his nephew to secretly do some research on nanobots, because The Flash originally theorized that the Martian was infected with nanobots that gives him an almost inextinguishable fire.
Source, Themyscira Concept Art
Meanwhile, the rest of the Justice League are attacked. Batman, while in-pursuit of a biker, is ambushed by the said biker who transformed into a machine while his computer system has been hacked. Aquaman, played by Cabrera (Heroes) is injected with a poison that forces him to be afraid of the very thing that he needs to live, water. The Green Lantern, played by Common (Wanted) is rendered blind and a white noise drives him to the brink of insanity.

In the Batcave, Batman and Alfred learn that the machine that attacked Batman was an OMAC unit, which stands for "One Man Army Corp"., and was a secret government project that stretched back all the way to the Second World War. He then heads to the Fortress of Solitude, where the other members are hiding, to warn them of an incoming attack.

Batman, injured from his previous battle, comes clean that he uses a satellite known as Brother Eye to keep tabs on each member, and he has created contingencies if ever they become rogue, much to the team's disapproval. He also tells them that someone has stolen his files, and is making use of OMAC to take down the Justice League.

Source, Aquaman Costume Concept Art
The Flash is then attacked with a nanobot from his cellphone that latches onto his back, which forces him to run uncontrollably fast. The Justice League work together to rid themselves of the nanobots that each of them are infected in. Green Lantern tried to do improvised surgery on the Flash to remove the microbe, while Wonder Woman drops a dehydrated Aquaman in a pool of water, but fearing that the shock may kill him. Green Lantern and Superman help the Martian rid the nanobots in his skin. Green Lantern allows himself to be drowned for a while to let the nanobots out of his bloodstream.

Source, A Screenshot For The Penultimate Battle
Batman makes his way to Maxwell Lord's headquarters, and there he saw Talia, who is angry at Batman for rejecting her feelings. Through Talia and Wally's research, it is revealed that Maxwell Lord was a sole survivor of the OMAC project, originally a baby boy named Jonah Wilkes. Maxwell explains that he was trying to push humanity into an evolutionary stage of perfection. During this, people all over the world are morphing into OMACs. Maxwell then betrays Talia as he now tortures Batman, waiting for the entire Justice League to come.

Source, Storyboard For The Superman v. Wonder Woman Battle            
Source, Another Storyboard For The Superman v. Wonder Woman Death Match
Superman and Wonder Woman came to Batman's aid, only to have Superman controlled by Maxwell. The two engage in a free-for-all death match across Maxwell's headquarters, with Superman throwing one of Maxwell's sports cars onto Wonder Woman's face. The two heroes make it to space to continue their all-out battle royale, with Superman being knocked-out after Wonder Woman throws him headfirst onto the Moon, with Wonder Woman eventually overpowered and crashes back to Earth. Aquaman lend a hand, and throws every fish he has against Superman. Green Lantern then comes to Aquaman's aid, and they battle mid-air. Martian Manhunter even masqueraded as Superman's deceased mother to snap him back to reality.

With no choice left, Wonder Woman indirectly strangles Maxwell with her Lasso when Superman carried her. On the brink of death, Maxwell merges with Talia to become a cybernetic behemoth and a hive mind, as Superman returns to reality. The soon realize that OMAC spread through Maxwell's food franchise. Batman kills Talia, sticken by guilt. The multitude of OMACs make their way to their destination, and the Justice League gather in a last ditch effort to save the world, with Kid Flash joining them! The Flash soon morphs into OMAC Ultra, morphing with Maxwell, because of his consumption of Maxwell's products. The Flash shuts down all OMACs, resulting in a momentary halt in time, forcing him to enter the Speed Force itself, with the Flash sacrificing his life to stop Maxwell's plans.

Source, Somethings's Fishy
The Justice League now attends a funeral, which was the prologue, with the Flash being honored. The team recruits Wally to be the next Flash in the place of his now dead uncle, which he accepts. Batman decides to leave the team in the aftermath of the movie, and the film ends with the Justice League getting ready to stop a new threat, Starro - The Conqueror.

Source, The Cast and Crew of Justice League: Mortal
What happened instead?

The production was expected to go on full-swing, but the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America Strike changes all that. The said protest happened at the same month the planned shooting was scheduled. This caused the film to be put in temporary hiatus. After the strike in February of 2008, studios forced the production to be fast-tracked, but was again delayed for another three months. 

The movie was planned to be shot in Australia, counting that Miller himself is an Australian. Unfortunately, the Australian Film Commission felt that there weren't enough Australians in the key roles, despite having three Australian natives in lead roles, namely Palmer, Gale and Keays-Byrne, and almost the entire production crew being Australians. As such, the Commission decided to pull their backing from the film, and the film is forced to move to Vancouver, Canada to continue shooting.

Source, George Miller at The Oscars
"A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Australian film industry is being frittered away because of lazy thinking. They're throwing away hundreds of millions of dollars of investment that the rest of the world is competing for and, much more significantly, highly skilled creative jobs." - George Miller on the set change.

Although Warner Bros. was still confident that the movie would see the light of day, the critical and commercial success of Christopher Nolan's second Batman outing, The Dark Knight, became the final nail in Justice League: Mortal's coffin. The success The Dark Knight garnered made Warner Bros. think that putting together solo movies for each member of the Justice League would be better, and sadly thus was the end of Justice League: Mortal.

Source, The Cast and Crew of the DC Extended Universe

"They just didn't want to cross their streams with a whole bunch of Batmans in the universe." - Adam Brody on Justice League: Mortal's cancellation.

Eventually, The Dark Knight Trilogy came to a conclusion with the highly-anticipated The Dark Knight Rises in 2012. Warner Bros. once more attempted to bring forth another DC shared universe to the big screen with the reviled disaster that is Green Lantern, starring Ryan Reynolds, who later on would be playing Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and his own spin-off.

Source, "In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night"
Warner Bros. finally gave a go-ahead signal to form the DC Extended Universe, a film universe for DC Comics' properties that would rival the Marvel Cinematic Universe, starting with Man of Steel in 2013, with Henry Cavill as the titular hero. Recently, a new addition to the franchise was added, entitled Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, with Ben Affleck as the Caped Crusader, and Gal Gadot as the Warrior Princess. Despite earning negative reviews from critics, fans of the comics gave it unanimous praise. A two-part Justice League is set to be released in the coming years, with the first in 2017, and the second in 2019.

George Miller would then direct the Academy Award-nominated Mad Max: Fury Road, wherein he reunites with Justice League: Mortal cast members Keays-Byrne, who played Immortan Joe, and Gale, who played Valkyrie. A sequel entitled Mad Max: The Wastelands is set to be released soon. Rumor has it that George Miller is currently being eyed to direct a Man of Steel sequel.

In addition, Jay Baruchel and Teresa Palmer would reunite in Disney's summer film, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, co-starring Nicolas Cage, Alfred Molina, Toby Kebbell and Monica Bellucci.

A tie-in third-person beat 'em up game was originally planned to be released alongside Justice League: Mortal, but that idea eventually fell into obscurity.

Source, "I am The Night!"
On May 25, 2015, it was announced that a documentary focusing on Justice League: Mortal would be released in a future date, sharing the same name as the cancelled movie.

That was just a huge shame. It would have beaten Marvel by a few years. Where they could've gotten wrong? They had the perfect director, the perfect story, but okay I'll admit, the cast isn't that perfect. Regardless, it was still a huge opportunity to let our DC heroes shine!  Oh well, at least they finally have the means to pull-off a shared universe of their own that has been long overdue. In the meantime, I'm guessing that some of you aren't that satisfied with the ending for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Thanks to this certain YouTube channel, they finally answered the question, "How Should Batman v. Superman Ended?". Enjoy the video below, and note that this won't be the last of our cancelled movie spotlights, so stay tuned!


DISCLAIMER: Justice League and all related elements are properties of DC Comics, with the film Justice League: Mortal's Script and Story Ideas are properties of Warner Bros. Studios. This post is strictly for entertainment and informational purposes only, and is under the "fair use" category. No copyright infringement intended.


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