In an explosive interview with Vanity Fair, Oscar-winning screenwriter Chris Terrio explained many of his grievances with Warner Bros. and how the studio interfered in not only the production of Justice League but Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Terrio argued against Batman continuing to torture criminals and disagreed greatly with the name of the film as well. Terrio disliked it so much, he called it “tone-deaf” and explained how it misrepresented the story.
Now, Terrio has clarified his comments alongside Zack Snyder in a new interview, indicating what Warner Bros. would have liked the film to be titled.
A MORE POETIC SUBTITLE FOR BATMAN V SUPERMAN
In an interview with Chris Terrio and Zack Snyder at Justice Con, one of the hosts asked about the original titles the two had for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Zack Snyder quickly jumped to bat for Terrio, explaining that he was “100% right” about the title being a studio mandate and not their original intent:
“Let me just fill that in a bit. Cause I remember when there was a long back and forth that I had with the studio and Chris is 100% right. 'Batman v Superman' was a huge 'Dawn of Justice,' was like the only title that they...and the 'Dawn of Justice' part was a very much like, there was a lot of things, the whole 'v' instead of versus, it was like this crazy negotiation.”
Snyder claimed that he had argued for a more “poetic” title for the film but was rejected:
“And I was like 'Guys, can't we just do something like 'Son of Sun and Knight of Night' or like something that's a little bit more poetic?' and they were like 'Absolutely not.'”
When one host mentioned her confusion at the title, Snyder interjected, equally mocking it and comparing it to "a court case:"
“I was like 'Did a court case...are we in...?' but also I'll tell you, the only plus is that 'BVS' is really easy in the end. That's the only positive when someone goes 'Yeah, but BVS needs...' OK, I'm with ya, I know what you're talking about.”
Terrio then explained that one of the ideas for the title would have been “Justice League:” with a subtitle indicating it as the beginning of the superhero group:
“Just to jump in on that question, I would have loved something simple like 'Batman and Superman:', you know? Or something as Zack was saying in the vein of Man of Steel that feels more like it's a progression from Man of Steel. For a while we talked about actually, right Zack, if I remember correctly, titling it 'Justice League:' and then something after that to suggest that this movie was gonna be the beginning of the Justice League, even though it didn't really look like it.”
Terrio even gave a few examples for subtitles that he and Snyder had debated, such as “Justice League: Foundation” or “Justice League: Rising.”
Finally, Snyder continued Terrio's train of thought and that the reason the film was never titled Justice League was due to Warner Bros. thinking it was too “aggressive,” even though both of them thought that would be more than appropriate:
“Yeah, because at that time the concept of us actually doing a Justice League movie, they were still like sketchy with us about it, even though once we said 'this is how we want to do it' and kinda knew that there would be a cliffhanger, that this movie would lead to a Justice League. I think that they felt like making this Justice League was aggressive in this window, even though we thought being aggressive was probably the right way to go.”
JUSTICE LEAGUE FILM IN ALL BUT TITLE
It seems like both Chris Terrio and Zack Snyder always saw Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as a Justice League film rather than simply one about just Batman and Superman.
It makes sense when Wonder Woman was heavily involved in the marketing and the climactic fight with Doomsday in the end. This is not to mention the inclusion of numerous cameos from future League members like Ezra Miller's The Flash and Jason Momoa's Aquaman.
The alternative titles that both of them suggested were a bit hokey, such as Snyder's suggestion of Son of Sun and Knight and Night. While continuing the title naming convention of Man of Steel, as Terrio said, they both still sound a tad silly.
Regardless, the final title for the film wasn't much better, especially when, in the end, it was still foreshadowing the Justice League with its choice of subtitle.
The full interview can be viewed below: