The DCEU is currently in an age of transformation, with the franchise poised to develop their interpretation of the multiverse as its next big move. This development was officially announced during DC FanDome when it was made clear that Warner Bros. will utilize this approach from the get-go.
As a result of this massive change, The Flash director Andy Muschietti revealed that “all that (fans have) seen exists, and everything that (fans) will see exists, in the same unified multiverse.” In many ways, this essentially means that every live-action DC adaptation exists in alternative universes, paving the way for previous versions of heroes and villains to show up in a future project.
Given these exciting new possibilities, this raised the question of how this will affect the overarching plan for DC at Warner Bros. Studios. While fans wait for this scheme to unravel, a new interview has surfaced that gives a prime example of an abandoned what-if scenario that would've been an exciting DC project to see unfold.
JAY BARUCHEL OPENS UP ABOUT SCRAPPED JUSTICE LEAGUE FILM
In an interview with Variety, Jay Baruchel discussed his version of Maxwell Lord that was originally planned for George Miller's canceled project Justice League: Mortal.
When asked if the villain was going to be very different from Pedro Pascal's version of the character in Wonder Woman 1984, the actor admitted that he hasn't seen the film (yet), but he did open up about Miller's unique vision for the canceled superhero team-up film:
“I haven’t seen (Wonder Woman 1984). I know the character’s in it, so I can’t speak to what they did versus what we were going to do. I can speak to the crazy fucking fever dream that would have been “Justice League: Mortal” by George Miller. I just spent ten minutes talking shit about acting, but my time in Australia with him is everything I adore about the craft. He treated it like a play. We workshopped it. We had a full-on dramaturg on set and did super, super earnest Meisner technique shit and ripped apart and unpacked the script just for the sake of itself. It was art for art’s sake.”
Further, Baruchel then shared that his Maxwell Lord in Justice League: Mortal had “psychokinesis and blood coming out of [his] tear ducts” while also pointing out that they were “painting with pretty vivid operatic colors:”
“George is one of the most important filmmakers of all time and part of the reason I wanted to be a director was “Road Warrior.” I have no idea what they did in the new one, but in ours we had psychokinesis (a.k.a. telekinesis) and blood coming out of my tear ducts and a whole bunch of crazy, cool shit that would have been a blast to do. We were painting with pretty vivid operatic colors.”
A DIFFERENT MAXWELL LORD
Many would agree that George Miller's Justice League: Mortal was a missed opportunity for Warner Bros. The scrapped project would've featured an exciting ensemble of DC characters, but it didn't come to fruition due to a number of reasons.
Despite that, Baruchel's reveal that the Mad Max: Fury Road director treated his Justice League as a “play” while also putting the spotlight on the actors' portrayal should create intrigue, adding another layer of mystery surrounding the unrealized film.
Meanwhile, Baruchel's comments indicate that the project had a comic-accurate take for Maxwell Lord, which bodes well for longtime readers of the comic-books that want more comic-accurate representation of their favorite characters. For those unaware, Lord originally manifested the power to control minds when his latent metagene was activated after the Gene Bomb exploded during the invasion of the Dominators in the 1989 comic storyline.
This is far different from Pedro Pascal's version in the DCEU's Wonder Woman 1984. To recap, the Maxwell Lord in that reality was only presented as a lowly businessman, and his “powers” ultimately came from the Dreamstone.
It remains to be seen if Mortal will ever see the light of day, but anything is possible in today's landscape, especially now that the DCEU's prime focus is the multiverse. Now, this doesn't mean that a full-blown revival will happen, but there's always a chance that the film could be referenced as part of one of the alternate realities of the franchise.