The JUSTICE LEAGUE Movie That Never Was: Everything We Know About Will Beall's Scrapped DC Movie

The JUSTICE LEAGUE Movie That Never Was: Everything We Know About Will Beall's Scrapped DC Movie

Before the SnyderVerse was a thing, Warner Bros. turned to Gangster Squad helmer Will Beale to pen a Justice League movie. Here's everything that's known about the scrapped project from the early 2010s...

Feature Opinion
By JoshWilding - Jun 18, 2024 12:06 PM EST
Filed Under: Justice League

There was a time when writer Will Beall was one of Hollywood's most sought-after writers. However, after the star-studded Gangster Squad failed to meet expectations, that all changed. 

Warner Bros. still turned to him for help with expanding its DC Universe, though, and he's credited with working on both Aquaman and...Zack Snyder's Justice League?! The reason Beall got a "Story by" credit on that director's cut is because he was once tasked with writing a vaguely similar Justice League movie which, believe it or not, Ben Affleck was eyed to direct (years being cast as Batman).

The project started taking shape in the early 2010s and was ultimately scrapped when Warner Bros. put all of its eggs in Zack Snyder's basket. In this feature, we take a look at what might have been, delving into everything we know about Beall's plans for this scrapped project.

To see how his version of Justice League compared to the two we eventually got, click on the "Next"/"View List" buttons below...

10. Batman And Superman Are Allies


Superman is dead when the Snyder Cut begins, but in Beall's version, the Man of Steel is good friends with Batman. They know each other's secret identities and meet in a Metropolis diner for a catch-up. 

Before heading to Central City to recruit the Flash, there's a battle in Lexcorp Tower against KGBeast and Killer Croc to deal with. Lex Luthor is attempting to buy Kryptonite from the former, but they're all interrupted by the arrival of Desaad, one of Darkseid's most loyal followers. 

He kills Croc, and makes off with the Kryptonite. This action-packed, character-heavy opening doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what's to come, however...

9. Darkseid Is The Film's Big Bad


Steppenwolf doesn't get as much to do in this Justice League, and Darkseid is the lead baddie from the start. The film wastes no time introducing the ruler of Apokolips, with an early scene taking place on the villain's home planet. 

Snyder and Terrio clearly had a different idea for how Darkseid's big screen introduction would work, something that was evident after he made only a cameo appearance in the Snyder Cut. The reason for that is because he was supposed to take centre stage in the Justice League: Part 2 film Warner Bros. initially greenlit, with Steppenwolf this first chapter's big bad.

Had Beall's script been used, Darkseid might have beaten Thanos to theaters. While this film had Darkseid in spades, there's one key member of the League who was set to be M.I.A.

8. There's No Aquaman


Jason Momoa's Aquaman has become a firm fan favourite, and his solo film grossed over $1 billion globally in 2018. Even Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom performed better than expected last December. 

Beall, however, had no intention of using the King of Atlantis. While there are a lot of other heroes in this Justice League, it seems the writer couldn't quite figure out how to bring this divisive superhero to the screen. Remember, when Beall was penning this screenplay, it was before DC Comics reinvented Arthur Curry with the New 52 reboot.

As you'll soon come to see, it would have been tricky to squeeze Aquaman into this story, because Beall instead focused on characters who Snyder overlooked in his film. Chief among them is Green Lantern...

7. Green Lantern/Hawkman Team-Up


There was a huge cosmic element to Beall's Justice League screenplay, with Green Lantern John Stewart and Hawkman teaming up in an outer space nightclub to stop Kanjar Ro from helping Dessad weaponize the Kryptonite he stole from Lex Luthor and KGBeast.

We don't get a Hal Jordan mention, and this film was presumably set in a separate world from 2011's Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds. 

While all this is happening, there's a subplot about Amanda Waller and the Department of Metahuman. Interestingly, she has her own team made up of Tattooed Man, Copperhead, Cheetah, and Solomon Grundy (we'll come back to them).Also on Earth, Superman is kidnapped by Steppenwolf and his Parademons, and taken back to Apokolips. 

6. Massacre On Oa


Batman heads to Themyscira to seek Wonder Woman's help, and we learn they have a romantic history.

John Stewart, meanwhile, returns to Earth, and meets with Bruce, Diana, and the Flash in the Batcave (which is packed full of Easter Eggs, including The Penguin's Umbrella and multiple Batmobiles and Batsuits). 

As the team formulates a plan to rescue Superman, John heads back to Oa, only to find the planet decimated by Darkseid. Katma Tui, Kilowag, Guy Gardner, Salakk, and Tomar-Re are all dead, a sign Beall wasn't exactly thinking ahead to their potential future in the DC Universe...for now, anyway. With no Green Lantern Corps standing in his way, Darkseid heads to Earth. 

5. Batman v Superman


Superman has fallen under Darkseid's control, and a fight with Batman ensues. Like in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, the Caped Crusader dons a special armoured Batsuit to take on the Man of Steel in hand-to-hand combat. 

It's Wonder Woman who eventually figures out how to free Superman from Darkseid, and the hero quickly rejoins the League to repel the villain's invasion. However, things get a little strange at this point in Beall's Justice League film because Kal-El finds himself thrust eleven years into the future after travelling through a Boom Tube.

This has to be where Snyder and Terrio got the idea to tackle a "Knightmare" future in their version.

4. A Desolate Future


Superman learns that Darkseid has wiped out 80% of the planet's population, and Diana and Bruce are leading what's left of the human resistance. Batman is Wonder Woman's second in command, and they have a son: Clark Wayne. 

It seems Superman's disappearance through the Boom Tube left Earth defenceless, and even Lex Luthor is now aligned with the heroes. "Batman's Berzerkers" is a team made up of Deathstroke, Captain Boomerang, Huntress, and Cheetah, essentially meaning the Dark Knight is the leader of the Suicide Squad.

The survivors are based in Superman's Fortress of Solitude. 

3. Time-Travel


We know Batman and Cyborg are responsible for sending the Flash back in time in the SnyderVerse, though those scenes were being saved for the sequel after the hero's initial trip through time in the Snyder Cut.

In Beall's film, it's Lex Luthor who figured out how to send Barry Allen eleven years into the past. 

The Future Flash arrives on Earth prior to Darkseid's invasion and dies in his younger self's arms shortly after warning the younger Barry about what's to come for the League. After the hero accomplishes his mission by preparing his fellow heroes for what's to come, the stage is set for an epic battle...

2. The Final Battle


Superman has already been taken to Apokolips at this point, so Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Green Lantern travel to the planet to stop Darkseid before he can brainwash their teammate. 

Superman is rescued, and the heroes take on the villain and his forces. The Green Lantern Corps - who are alive in this timeline -  soon arrive to lend a helping hand, as do the Amazon warriors from Themyscira.

As you might expect, the heroes emerge victorious from the battle and stop that desolate future from ever becoming a reality. Darkseid may be defeated, but there's another foe waiting in the wings.

1. President Lex Luthor


Lex Luthor is planning to run for President, a nice hint at how his story played out in the comics. However, there's one final surprise that was likely meant to set the stage for an earlier iteration of 2013's Man of Steel

Lex receives a message from his future self, learning that Superman is, in fact, Clark Kent.

Beall's screenplay doesn't reveal what the villain does with that information, but there are plenty of ways that could have been addressed. In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Lex deduces that himself, and the pay off wasn't quite what a lot of fans out there hoped for.

Beall's film sounds like it could have been a fun ride, and there are definitely some similarities here with the Snyder Cut. Snyder put his own spin on those, though we'll let you decide if that was a good or bad thing...

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Evansly - 6/18/2024, 12:12 PM
All this was planned for one film?

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HermanM - 6/18/2024, 12:14 PM
All I know is every unreleased version of the Justice League movie was better in every way than the snyderverse.
CerealKiller1 - 6/18/2024, 12:26 PM
“with Green Lantern John Stewart and Hawkman teaming up in an outer space nightclub to stop Kanjar Ro from helping Dessad weaponize the Kryptonite he stole from Lex Luthor and KGBeast”

This is the crazy comic booky sentence I want to hear when talking about a JL movie. Can’t guarantee it’d work but it just sounds fun and really exploring areas of the universe we’ve yet to see done well on the big screen
Origame - 6/18/2024, 12:31 PM
Can't wait for snyder haters to explain how it's better to do it this way, where all the confusing time travel shenanigans are there and this is basically infinity war and endgame in one movie at the START, than what snyder did.

Not saying his way was good, but come on.
dagenspear - 6/18/2024, 1:09 PM
@Origame - Considering there's no insane edgy nonsense where Superman helped destroy the world for no reason in this pitch, I think that's more interesting than, "EEEVVVILLL Superman!" goofiness to me being the premise of an entire dark future. And seemingly no old man psycho Batman who wants to murder Superman to start with.
dracula - 6/18/2024, 1:41 PM
@Origame - both versions are crap
Origame - 6/18/2024, 2:30 PM
@dagenspear - ...they literally do have an evil superman in this. He's even evil for the same reason.
Origame - 6/18/2024, 2:30 PM
@dracula - I agree. But at least snyder was building up rather than shoving everything into one movie.
dagenspear - 6/18/2024, 8:18 PM
@Origame - I said being the premise for an entire dark future. As far as I read here, this wasn't that. He was mind controlled, that got undone and he's sent into the dark future.
Origame - 6/18/2024, 8:25 PM
@dagenspear - don't think a future where Darkseid completely takes over the planet and batman is forced to lead a resistance with whatever powered beings remain? Because that's literally the future scenario in both this pitch and the actual dceu.
dagenspear - 6/18/2024, 10:19 PM
@Origame - I was said Superman being evil as the entire premise of the dark future isn't what this is, which was one of my issues with Snyder's version, along with Batman being a psycho. From what I read, that's not what this is.
Origame - 6/19/2024, 5:30 AM
@dagenspear - the premise for the dark future has always been Darkseid taking over.
dagenspear - 6/19/2024, 6:34 AM
@Origame - But not with evil Superman being evil in the future doing it.
Origame - 6/19/2024, 6:58 AM
@dagenspear - thats a ridiculously specific piece you're fixating on. Especially since we know it's still an apocalypse invasion.
dagenspear - 6/23/2024, 7:28 AM
@Origame - It's the part I and others, maybe, have an issue with and think is dumb in that way. I said so in my post.
Origame - 6/23/2024, 7:30 AM
@dagenspear - well, considering superman isn't doing it willingly and is instead being controlled by the anti life equation, really don't see the issue. He's basically a really tough parademon.
DravenCorvis - 6/18/2024, 12:36 PM
@TheFinestSmack - outstanding 👏
DravenCorvis - 6/18/2024, 12:37 PM
TheFinestSmack - 6/18/2024, 12:38 PM
@DravenCorvis - I was just looking for the original since what I linked was also a repost lol. Thank you for finding it though. This is worse than double-dipping! It's TRIPLE-dipping!!!
harryba11zack - 6/18/2024, 12:40 PM
@TheFinestSmack - Josh is a hack.
TheFinestSmack - 6/18/2024, 12:42 PM
@harryba11zack - I wonder what the site policy is regarding these copy/paste jobs. He changes a couple words, if any, and then swaps out a few of the pics. Does he get paid by the post? THAT'S LIKE STEALING!
MuadDib - 6/18/2024, 12:43 PM
It’s sounds great, would it have been? Idk, but it sounds like it would have been better than what we got.

Unfortunately I feel like Gunn is going to try and differentiate his universe from what’s come before to the extent that we may miss out on some, although already told storylines, epic non the less.

Casting has been pretty on point so far, holding out hope that he can pull this off and essentially resurrect the DCU before it’s too late.

There’s a large sword hanging over everything right now with a potential DC sale.
ObserverIO - 6/18/2024, 1:22 PM
I'm convinced that everyone but Kevin Feige is a moron at this point.

They were gonna do this in 2010? With no origin movies? While Nolan was doing Batman?

What a bunch of maroons.
Forthas - 6/18/2024, 1:24 PM
That does not sound that impressive. Very little in the way of character development or motivating factors that lead to the happenings in the script.
99OPTIMISTPRIME - 6/18/2024, 1:45 PM
Is Will Beall seriously only known for Gangster Squad?🤣 That would've been one really convoluted Justice League movie. But it looks like that's what James Gunn is gonna try to do now. Throw a bunch of characters and storylines onto the big screen all at once, and see if the general audience will be able to follow along.
JFerguson - 6/18/2024, 2:04 PM
Why did all these creatives try to bring KGBeast to the brig screen before any of the more important dc characters is the question
S8R8M - 6/18/2024, 3:48 PM
I like some of the themes. Not a fan of all the deaths and the whole bvs thingy. I think it should be like in the comics, where they are allies for a long time and then fall when they have nothing else to fight for. That's why I think Kingdom Come is so strong because of all the things these 2 have been through. They find something in each other to end their own personal demons. It's like they are edging each other to finish the job.
Odekahn - 6/18/2024, 4:21 PM
No Hal Jordan? No thanks! Glad this never got made.

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