It’s been a long wait for DC Comics fans, but the live-action Justice League film finally hit theaters November 17, 2017. To get fans prepped for the film’s premiere, seven clips from the movie were released by the studio a week before it arrived in theaters.
A direct sequel to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League is directed by Zack Snyder, with additional direction by Joss Whedon, and brings back the live-action superhero trio of Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. They’re joined by Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as Flash, and Ray Fisher as Cyborg, as well as Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, and Ciaran Hinds as the film’s villain, Steppenwolf. Here’s everything we know about Justice League.
Seven clips, no wait
With just over a week until Justice League hits theaters, Warner Bros. released a set of clips from the film that offer a sneak peek at the impending team-up project.
All seven clips are collected in the YouTube video featured below:
While the clips seem to offer extended versions of scenes that appeared in the film’s trailers, one clip featuring Wonder Woman and another featuring the entire team squaring off with Steppenwolf both provide a significant amount of new footage. The latter clip also offers the best look yet at the film’s villain.
More footage, more villain
The primary villain in Justice League hasn’t had a lot of screen time in the film’s marketing campaign so far, but a television ad for Justice League released by Warner Bros. UK provides a good look at the powerful alien agent of destruction, Steppenwolf.
Not content just to show audiences what they can expect from Justice League, Warner Bros. Pictures released the full track list for the film’s score (via Entertainment Weekly), along with one full track from composer Danny Elfman. Titled “Hero’s Theme,” the track was made available on YouTube via WaterTower Music.
The full soundtrack listing — which might contain some spoilers, so fair warning — reads as follows:
01. Everybody Knows — Sigrid
02. The Justice League Theme — Logos
03. Hero’s Theme
04. Batman on the Roof
05. Enter Cyborg
06. Wonder Woman Rescue
07. Hippolyta’s Arrow
08. The Story of Steppenwolf
09. The Amazon Mother Box
10. Cyborg Meets Diana
11. Aquaman in Atlantis
12. Then There Were Three
13. The Tunnel Fight
14. The World Needs Superman
15. Spark of The Flash
16. Friends and Foes
17. Justice League United
19. Bruce and Diana
20. The Final Battle
21. A New Hope
22. Anti-Hero’s Theme
23. Come Together — Gary Clark Jr. and Junkie XL
24. Icky Thump — The White Stripes
01. The Tunnel Fight (Full Length Bonus Track)
02. The Final Battle (Full Length Bonus Track)
03. Mother Russia (Bonus Track)
‘First look’ trailer
Warner Bros. Pictures partnered with AT&T to release a “first look” trailer that features some of the film’s lead actors talking a bit about their characters and about the experiences they had filming Justice League.
The trailer doesn’t really tell us anything new, but at the end, it does tease more exclusive content and videos at ATT.com/JusticeLeague.
New York Comic Con trailer
Warner Bros. Pictures made the weekend of New York Comic Con a big one with the premiere of a new, full-length trailer for Justice League.
Set against a musical cover of David Bowie’s Heroes, the trailer features quite a bit of new footage from the film, particularly when it comes to scenes involving Aquaman and Wonder Woman.
Behind the scenes and under the masks
A new German-language promotional video for Justice League found its way online in early October 2017, and although it didn’t provide much in the way of new footage from the film, it did offer some candid insight into the cast members’ opinions of their superhero suits.
The brief video appears to have been shot during the San Diego Comic-Con International convention, judging by the actors’ wardrobes, and features Momoa asking Affleck about his least-favorite Batman costume, Fisher showing off his performance-capture “pajamas,” and Gadot reminding her male co-stars that at least they got to cover most of their bodies.
The video also features some funny behind-the-scenes moments from filming on Justice League that add a bit of levity to what seems like an otherwise dark adventure.
Merchandise hints at a surprise return
Although Superman’s potential return in Justice League is pretty much the world’s worst-kept secret (the final scene in Dawn of Justice teases his resurrection), we’re still curious about how the thread will play out. Screen Rant noticed that online retailer Superherostuff.com has two hats for sale, both black caps (one baseball-style, one leather with a flat brim) featuring Superman’s iconic logo in silver. They are listed as “Superman Black Armor Fitted Hat.”
The website’s product descriptions are very clear that the black suit is merely “rumored,” but we think that could be a cover to prevent spoilers. Since the Superman story arc that’s played out through Man of Steel and Dawn of Justice closely mirrors the comic arc that leads to a return in his popular black suit, we’re curious whether we’ll see Cavill don it in Justice League.
A detailed look at Flash’s lair
Warner Bros. in mid-September 2017 officially released a high-resolution still image of Barry Allen (aka, The Flash) in his lair — or home base, if “lair” is too villainous — which sheds some light on the character’s interests. You can see the same scene in the Comic-Con trailer (below), but the image is a lot more clear and reveals some interesting details.
As some astute fans noticed when the trailer came out, it looks like Flash is a fan of Rick and Morty (as evidenced by a scene from the animated show in the monitor to the right of Flash’s head). He’s also got a picture of Nikola Tesla on his desk — fitting, given that Flash draws his power from the Speed Force — and some fingerprint scans on one of the monitors are an indicator that Allen is a crime scene investigator.
Obviously, he’s also working through some science-related issues (see the equations on the left?), and he likes to draw birds. He could probably use some help organizing the office, though.
Going big at Comic-Con
Warner Bros. Pictures typically saves some of its best movie marketing for San Diego Comic-Con, and the July 2017 show was no exception.
The studio released a new trailer for Justice League featuring a massive amount of fresh footage from the much-anticipated superhero team-up event.
Along with offering an early look at the villain Steppenwolf (while still retaining some of the mystery surrounding the character), the trailer also prominently features Aquaman, Cyborg, Flash, and Wonder Woman — with the latter getting the well-deserved bulk of the attention, given her solo film’s success.
Last and certainly not least, the final moments of the trailer teased the return of the Man of Steel, a plot point that’s certainly anticipated but remains clouded in secrecy.
In the lead-up to 2017’s Comic-Con International in San Diego, Entertainment Weekly released a new photo of three members of the Justice League team, as well as some thoughts from Flash actor Miller about his fleet-footed character’s call-up to the big leagues.
“He’s this really endearing, altruistic nerd,” said Miller of his character, Barry Allen, and his costumed alter ego. “He’s the 13-year-old Metallica fan, and Metallica says, ‘We lost our drummer in a freak accident. We need you to play drums, bro!’ I don’t even have drumsticks!”
Given the company he’s keeping in the above photo, he’ll have to step up — even when he’s speeding along.
A high score
We already know that Justice League will feature some big names in front of the camera, but the film added another well-known figure behind the camera in June 2017.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Elfman — a four-time Academy Award nominee and veteran superhero movie composer — provides the score for Justice League (see above). Elfman replaced composer Antonius Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL) on the movie. Holkenborg previously provided the score for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, as well as recent hits Mad Max: Fury Road and Deadpool.
A frequent collaborator with director Tim Burton, Elfman famously provided the score for 1989’s Batman and its 1992 sequel, Batman Returns. His list of credits on comic book and superhero movies is a long one, full of blockbusters such as Men in Black, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Wanted, and more recently, Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The four Academy Award nominations Elfman received for his work recognized the music he provided for Good Will Hunting, Men in Black, Big Fish, and Milk.
Bringing back the Amazons
Among the returning characters in Justice League will be a few recent additions to Warner Bros. Pictures’ superhero universe: Connie Nielsen’s Queen Hippolyta and Robin Wright’s General Antiope from Wonder Woman.
Asked whether we might see more of the Amazons in future films, Nielsen confirmed that she’d reprise her role in Justice League — and be joined by Wright.
“[Wright and I] got to do more in Justice League as well,” Nielsen told The Los Angeles Times. “As sisters as well. Kind of badass as well. We can’t say much, but…”
“… And more of the story. You get some of the history,” added Wright.
Of course, anyone who’s seen Wonder Woman will likely wonder about the context for at least one of the two characters’ return. Wright’s comment, in particular, suggests that the pair’s scene could take the form of a flashback, possibly involving the Amazons’ own history with the Justice League villains.
Joss Whedon takes over following Zack Snyder’s departure
Snyder, who also oversaw Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, stepped away from the production of Justice League in May 2017, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. Snyder’s decision followed his daughter’s suicide in March.
“In my mind, I thought it was a cathartic thing to go back to work, to just bury myself and see if that was the way through it,” Snyder told THR. “I’ve decided to take a step back from the movie to be with my family, be with my kids, who really need me. They are all having a hard time. I’m having a hard time.”
Whedon, who helmed the first two Avengers movies for Marvel, took over the reins on Justice League. Snyder had already recruited Whedon to write some additional scenes for the film, following a screening of a rough cut. While Whedon shot new scenes, the project still reflects Snyder’s vision. According to Warner Bros. Pictures President Toby Emmerich: “The directing is minimal ,and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set… He’s handing a baton to Joss, but the course has really been set by Zack.”
There is no word yet on when or if Snyder will return to the franchise, or who might oversee it moving forward. Reports have already connected Whedon to a possible Batgirl film, so this may be the start of his growing involvement in DC’s film universe. According to the THR report, Warner Bros. extended Snyder’s deal, in case he wants to return to work on more projects.
After teasing the arrival of the first full-length trailer for Justice League, Warner Bros. Pictures delivered it on March 25 — and it quickly became quite the conversation starter.
Offering glimpses of Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, and Flash in action against an invading horde, the trailer also revealed glimpses of some of the comedy that the studio and Snyder insisted will lighten the tone of the film. Snyder’s previous DC Comics superhero mash-up, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, was criticized for its oppressively grim and gritty tone, and the Justice League team has been vocal about its efforts to add more humor to the upcoming film.
Images and action
As part of an announcement that a new trailer for Justice League would premiere March 25, Warner Bros. Pictures released a batch of posters for the film in the days leading up to the trailer’s debut, as well as several teasers for the trailer. (Yes, they’re previews of a trailer — but that’s the way of things in the modern movie marketing cycle.)
The first three posters released by the studio feature Batman, Aquaman, and the Justice League movie logo.
The studio also released a pair of teasers featuring Aquaman and Batman that offered a peek at the footage likely to appear in the new trailer.
And finally, the studio also released a new photo of the entire team assembled and ready for action.
If you’re the kind of person who saw Batman’s arsenal on wheels in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and thought, “There’s definitely room for more guns,” you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what Justice League has in store for the Batmobile.
In early March 2017, Snyder posted a photo of the upgraded Batmobile on social media site Vero (an image that was then discovered by ComingSoon.net). The iconic supercar appears to be more gun than vehicle at this point — which actually makes a lot of sense, given the level of threat the team will face in Justice League.
If there was any question of whether Affleck’s outrageously lethal take on Batman would be toned down for Justice League, this image offers a pretty clear answer.
Under the sea
In March 2017, Snyder posted a brief video on Twitter that features some test footage of Aquaman actor Momoa.
Captioned “Working on my birthday,” the short video shows Momoa’s Aquaman gliding through the water toward what looks to be a statue of some sort (or another character sitting very, very still).
It’s unknown how much of Justice League will be set underwater or if the clip from Snyder’s video will even be included in the theatrical cut of the film, but it does provide a nice indication of what Aquaman’s undersea kingdom might look like.
Affleck’s Batman took a lone-wolf approach to heroism in Batman v. Superman, but we know he’ll play a key role in uniting the DC Comics heroes of Warner Bros. Pictures’ cinematic universe in Justice League. So what are they uniting against?
In June 2016, the studio released the first, official plot synopsis for the film, which hinted at a “newly awakened” threat that will prove to be more than any one of the heroes can handle alone.
Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes — Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, and The Flash — it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
That same month, the studio confirmed that the threat they face will come from Steppenwolf, an alien from the planet Apokolips in league with the cosmic tyrant Darkseid, one of DC Comics’ most powerful villains. Tasked with recovering the three pieces of technology known as “Mother Boxes,” Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons — the winged creatures glimpsed during Batman’s desert nightmare sequence in Batman v. Superman — attempt to take back the Mother Boxes from the three races entrusted with them: the Amazonians, the Atlanteans, and humans.
This quest pits Steppenwolf against Amazonian warrior princess Wonder Woman, Atlantean king Aquaman, and the combined efforts of Batman, The Flash, and Cyborg.
Although he’s conspicuously absent from many reports on the film’s featured cast, Cavill’s Superman is also expected to be resurrected in some form — much as he’s done time and time again in the comics — after dying in Batman v Superman. (Cavill is featured in the cast list on the film’s IMDB page, by the way.) This time around, however, he’ll likely be assisting Batman instead of trying to beat him into submission.
Cavill himself seemed to hint at his character’s return with an August 2016 photo he posted on Instagram featuring a zoomed-in look at a black-and-gray logo with a striking resemblance to the costume Superman wore when he was resurrected in the pages of his DC Comics series.
About those villains
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Game of Thrones actor Hinds was reported early on to be playing Steppenwolf in the film, but his portrayal of the CGI character is expected to rely on performance-capture techniques.
Also expected to return for Justice League is the aforementioned Lex Luthor, who will once again be portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg. Luthor was last seen spouting prophecies of doom from inside a prison cell at the end of Batman v Superman, so there’s a good chance he’ll find his way out and ally himself with Steppenwolf (at least temporarily) given the contents of a certain Batman v Superman deleted scene (see below).
As for Darkseid himself, the ultimate evil force in the DC Comics universe, there’s no word yet on whether he’ll make an appearance in the film ahead of what will likely be a cosmic showdown with the team down the road.
The new guys
Although Justice League will provide the first featured roles for Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg, all three characters debuted in Batman v Superman, with Flash making a second appearance in Suicide Squad a few months later. That doesn’t mean the cast of Justice League will be all familiar faces, though.
Among the newcomers to Warner Bros. Pictures’ superhero movie-verse will be Oscar-winning actor J. K. Simmons as James Gordon, the commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department and an ally of Batman in his fight against crime. Simmons was confirmed for the role in March 2016, and is the latest in a long line of celebrated actors to portray the character — a history that includes a memorable performance by Gary Oldman as Gordon in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy.
Also joining the DC Comics live-action superhero universe is two-time Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man, Platoon) in the role of Nuidis Vulko, chief adviser to Aquaman.
Simmons and Dafoe’s characters will be joined by some comic book royalty in Mera, the queen of Atlantis, played by Amber Heard. Snyder posted a photo of Heard in costume in October 2016, offering the first look at the water-manipulating Atlantean noblewoman.
Saw this hydrokinetic vision come out of the sea and snapped a photo with my Leica. pic.twitter.com/rwU54XzScK
— Zack Snyder (@ZackSnyder) October 12, 2016
With so many new characters on the side of the heroes, it stands to reason that the film will introduce a few newcomers with more questionable morals. For now, though, Steppenwolf appears to be the most prominent of the villains making their debut in Justice League.
More fun, less angst
A s mentioned above, after enduring widespread criticism of the excessively dark, dour, and (some argued) depressing tones of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, Warner Bros. Pictures and Snyder responded by insisting that Justice League will skew a little lighter — specifically, with more humor — than the first two films in the series.
The first official teaser for the film — which premiered during 2016’s Comic-Con International in San Diego — appeared to confirm that Justice League should be a lighter, less moody take on DC Comics’ live-action superheroes. The preview featured Batman and Wonder Woman engaging in a bit of witty banter, as well as a scene that suggests The Flash will be a comedic focal point in the film.
While it remains to be seen whether the footage was a sample of the film’s humor or the entirety of it, Justice League already appears to have a noticeably different tone than its predecessors.
Fans’ very first glimpse at Justice League arrived via social media, with Snyder posting a photo of himself in February 2016 alongside Momoa on the film set. Although Momoa doesn’t appear in costume in the photo, the costumes for The Flash and Mera can be seen in the background.
— Zack Snyder (@ZackSnyder) February 22, 2016
That sneak peek at some of the characters’ costumes was followed a month later by the heralded footage at the 2016 edition of San Diego’s Comic-Con, which offered a much clearer — and more certain — look at how Batman, The Flash, and the rest of the team will look in Justice League.
Snyder later offered up even more footage — including some behind-the-scenes clips — in a “sizzle reel” he posted on Twitter in October 2016. The footage featured all of the core cast members except for Cavill’s Superman.
— Zack Snyder (@ZackSnyder) October 7, 2016
The studio then kicked off the new year in a big way by releasing the first, official, high-resolution image of the team lined up together and seemingly prepared for action. It offers the first clear look at the five main Justice League cast members in costume.
The name game
After initially flirting with a two-part title convention of Justice League – Part One and Justice League – Part Two for the team-based adventures, Warner Bros. Pictures eventually opted to drop the “Part One” and “Part Two” branding entirely, and officially dubbed the first chapter of the long-awaited film Justice League.
The new title became official when the studio released the first official logo for the movie in June 2016. It features a visual style that calls back to the team’s classic comic book origins, with a star embedded in the middle of the title.
In October 2016, the studio officially pushed back the second Justice League movie to make room for a Batman solo movie, and later removed it from the calendar entirely.
Instead of a two-film arc similar to the way Marvel Studios is handling its Avengers: Infinity War films, Justice League is envisioned as a single story within Warner Bros. Pictures’ DC Comics “Extended Universe.”
Justice League is set after the events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, even though the Wonder Woman solo movie arrived in theaters before Justice League. Wonder Woman serves as an origin story for Gal Gadot’s superheroine character, and is set during World War I, decades before the events of any of the studio’s other superhero movies so far.
Following the release of Justice League, the Aquaman solo movie will premiere December 21, 2018, followed by Wonder Woman 2 on December 13, 2019.
Update: We added a video featuring seven clips from the film.