Warner Bros. is in a tricky place with the future of the DC Extended Universe as movies like Black Adam and The Flash prepare for their arrivals. But another big question that remains is which movies from the franchise's past are the true canon version of the story - specifically, that debate is between Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon's directions for Justice League.
Following the reports about Whedon's misconduct on the set of Justice League, fans have cried out to Warner Bros. to make Zack Snyder's Justice League canon for the DCEU, even though all indications pointed toward that honor going to the original film. While this is partially due to the controversy surrounding Whedon himself, Snyder's vision for Justice League unquestionably resonated more with fans after he directed or produced every DCEU movie leading up to that story.
Well, thanks to the latest piece of promotional material surrounding the DCEU's latest release, Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam, there may be signs pointing to Warner Bros.' decision.
Warner Bros. Avoids Whedon's Justice League?
A TV ad for Black Adam incited angry complaints from fans due to the use of a scene featuring Steppenwolf from Joss Whedon's theatrical cut of Justice League.
In response, Warner Bros. removed the scene from the trailer, replacing it with a different shot from another DCEU movie. Additionally, Black Adam star Dwayne Johnson posted it to his social media pages with the caption "corrected."
This is leading fans to believe that Warner Bros. is moving away from considering Whedon's take on Justice League canon to the DCEU, even though no footage from the Snyder Cut was used to replace it.
In March 2021, shortly before the Snyder Cut debuted, Snyder actually admitted that Whedon's version is canon with the rest of the DCEU. He admitted that he accepted that decision, noting how that was "the only way that I could have made this film with autonomy," although he did call it an interesting relationship:
“It’ll be an interesting. It’s interesting, sort of in the DCEU, or whatever it’s become, that that trilogy (comprised of Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, Justice League) sort of insulates itself in some ways it becomes, like, it’s its own thing now. And it doesn’t really rely on, you know... And I said, I famously said, and it’s true, this is not saying anything, this isn’t controversial... But you know, Warner Bros, is it, that this film, my Justice League, is not canon, right? Canon for Warner Bros. is the Joss Whedon version of Justice League, right? That’s, in their mind, that’s canon. And what I’m doing is not. Everything is not. So it’s just an interesting, that relationship. And I’m fine with it because I feel like the only way that I could have made this film with autonomy was because of that, because of me admitting and agreeing to the fact that it is not canon.”
What Is Happening to DCEU Canon?
Similarly to how the MCU is dealing with its own "canon vs. non-canon" battle over Daredevil's introduction, having two full versions of Justice League is causing some issues within the DCEU. Joss Whedon's take has been seen as the canon version for most of the last few years, but with the vocal response coming from fans over the Snyder cut, Warner Bros. has clearly heard and taken those musings into account.
Rumors have also pointed to next year's The Flash actually erasing everything that came before it in the DCEU, giving the company a fresh slate to develop new DC adventures after this franchise earned such mixed reactions over the years. Combine that with how many new movies and TV shows have been canceled, and it certainly makes sense why both versions of Justice League could be put on the back burner for some time.
Unfortunately, those questions won't be answered for a while with The Flash not releasing in theaters until June 2023, and it seems unlikely that Black Adam will set anything into stone upon its release. However, with the rumors about Henry Cavill returning as Superman still in play, nothing can be counted out.
Black Adam will debut in theaters on Friday, October 21.