Warner Bros. has hit a big stumbling block with the Justice League movie. Yet again. (Just ask George Miller.) The latest problem for WB: the script by Will Beall is rumored to have been terrible, so they junked it. It seems like WB set themselves up for a fall with this. Beall is a young and generally untested writer whose only feature-length screenplay is Gangster Squad. Putting him on a big-budget, franchise-starting superhero movie that features major characters like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Green Lantern was a recipe for disaster.
This leaves WB scriptless, directorless, and aimless. The studio is now waiting to see how Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel does before doing anything related to the Justice League.
We at Flixist are here to help. The editors here have compiled a short list of screenwriters and writing teams that should get a crack at the Justice League movie. We’ve even proposed directors who can bring these screenplays to life. Head after the cut to check out our picks, and leave some suggestions of your own in the comments.
Why Drew Goddard: Joss Whedon is running Marvel so we aren’t going to get him, right? Then how about the next best thing. Drew Goddard is basically the Joss Whedon you don’t know, but he’s just as clever (see Cabin in the Woods), knows how to handle big complex plots with lots of characters (see Buffy, Angel, and Lost), and can do monsters (see Cloverfield). Yes, most of those are things he’s done with Joss Whedon, but if you ‘ve ever heard Goddard talk (the Cabin in the Woods commentary is brilliant), then you know he’s a big nerd and that he had a major influence on plenty of Whedon’s work. Plus, everything he’s done has had a tinge of the more serious tone that DC seems to want to take with its characters. If anyone would be able to turn JLA into a film that spawns an actual series of movies akin to Marvel’s efforts, then it’s someone who has worked on television and movies that have already accomplished that feat. Plus someone who is a massive nerd and can bend the ear of Whedon at any time can’t hurt things.
Who should direct Goddard’s script: Drew Goddard himself. It’d be a big jump from small horror film to epic blockbuster, but he has the skill.
— Matthew Razak
Why Frank Darabont: While the overall tone of a Justice League film will most likely be bombastic in nature, as Whedon proved with The Avengers, it’s going to be the intimate moments between characters that’s going to make or break this film. While he’s had some recent missteps (like the first two seasons of The Walking Dead), Darabont has an established enough career with adaptations to at least get a shot outside of his genre. The Green Mile remains one of my favorite films to this day due its tweaking of the “magical Black man” troupe. And Darabont has proven he could handle “large” personas thanks to his work on The Blob and several other monster films. If Darabont isn’t the main writer, perhaps he should just be brought in for some additions and editing. The film obviously needs the script revision.
Who should direct Darabont’s script: Anyone but Darabont. He’s admittedly a better writer than director.
— Nick Valdez
Paul Dini & Bruce Timm
Why Paul Dini & Bruce Timm: Two of the brightest minds behind the DC animated universe, both Dini and Timm deserve a shot at writing a big-time, live-action superhero movie. They’ve proven themselves on shows like Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited, as well as the recent DTV animated DC films. Both Dini and Timm have a love and familiarity with these characters, and they have a savvy way of reinterpreting, streamlining, and presenting superheroes that’s iconic and yet fresh. All that backstory of the Justice League line-up? No worries — they’ve shown they can get that information across to newcomers in an easy way. With these two (and perhaps the blue Jedi ghost of Dwayne McDuffie) behind a Justice League movie, we’d get big action, fine character moments, and a real sense of adventure.
Who should direct Dini & Timm’s script: Steven Spielberg, but as a mo-cap movie like The Adventures of Tintin.
— Hubert Vigilla
Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish
Why Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish: Pretty much the only way I could get excited about a Justice League movie would be for Joss Whedon to write it. Since that obviously won’t happen, why not Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish? The Adventures of Tintin was fun, Attack the Block was insane, and they’ve spent what feels like years working on Ant-Man, which is sure to be a hoot. Not much can get me pumped for JLA, but my favorite writing team would help.
Who should direct Wright & Cornish’s script: Jon Favreau. Because if you’re going to start your cinematic universe, admittedly ass-backwards, you may as well get the guy who laid the foundation for the House of Ideas.
— Sean Walsh
Geoff Johns & David Goyer
Why Geoff Johns & David Goyer: Geoff Johns and David Goyer were the writing team that got me back into reading superhero comics. Their run on JSA was full of big ideas, world-changing action set pieces, and great characterizations that allowed the various members of the team to shine. Goyer’s proved himself a more than capable screenwriter, collaborating on the scripts for Batman Begins and Dark City, and providing the screenstory for The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. He’s also the solo writer on Man of Steel, which means he can fashion a consistent tone in the Justice League movie and figure out how to incorporate this new iteration of Superman into the team. I haven’t been crazy about Johns’s work on the current Justice League comic, but he’s a solid writer who can turn continuity into mythology. He also has film in his background having worked under Richard Donner, which should help. Johns and Goyer are working together again on some big new DC series, and to me they seem to work best as a unit. Their creative chemistry may be just what this project needs.
Who should direct Johns & Goyer’s script: James Cameron. He has the know-how to do a big action movie with lots of special effects. This would also get him the hell out of Avatar land.
— Hubert Vigilla
Robert Wade & Neal Purvis
Why Robert Wade & Neal Purvis: Robert Wade and Neal Purvis spent the late 90s and early 2000s turning James Bond into a ridiculous superhero and were only hemmed in when the series relaunched with Daniel Craig and other writers were brought on to control them. It might not have been right for Bond, but if they proved one thing it’s that they can write one-liners and preposterously epic movies perfect for superheroes. My suggestion would be to do exactly what the last three Bond films did. Get these two to write the initial screenplays and then someone else can reel them in. It worked beautifully for both Casino Royale and Skyfall, so why not here? Those two films, along with the insanely depressing Quantum of Solace, have also shown that they can steer more serious when need be, and may fit perfectly into the “real world” DC comic style.
Who should direct Wade & Purvis’s script: Martin Campbell. Not only did he successfully launch Bond twice, but he’s the one who brought in Paul Haggis on Casino Royale.
— Matthew Razak
Why Brad Bird: So The Incredibles was basically The Fantastic Four meets Watchmen (sort of), and Bird knocked it out of the park. It was a great family story with inventive superheroics. Bird showed he had the chops to direct live-action material on Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. He’s busy with 1952/Tomorrowland right now, but perhaps the temptation of a Justice League movie could pull him away just for a bit. He’d get to play with the big members of the DC Comics pantheon, and putting them in dangerous, over-the-top, action-packed situations seems like something he’d enjoy. But beyond the action, I think Bird would also be able to hone in on what makes these characters great.
Who should direct Bird’s script: Brad Bird, obviously.
— Hubert Vigilla