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It should be obvious, but you can never be too careful in these matters. There is a big SPOILER for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice beyond this point. Turn back if you haven’t seen the movie yet. However, if you have, read on.
Building up to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there was a lot of talk of whether or not the Man of Steel’s sidekick Jimmy Olsen would show up. Some thought Scoot McNairy was playing the photographer, but those of us who have seen the film know that’s not true, and many of us walked out of the theater wondering where Jimmy Olsen was—he is listed in the credits. It turns out he was right in front of our face in one scene, we just didn’t realize it. When Lois Lane (Amy Adams) travels to the African desert to interview a warlord, her photographer (Michael Cassidy) is revealed to be a CIA plant and is subsequently murdered by said warlord. It turns out this was, in fact, Jimmy Olsen.
While dispatching a long-running Superman character in such abrupt fashion may seem kind of callous, especially for fans, but Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice director Zack Snyder told EW that there is a very simple explanation: there simply isn’t enough room for him in the upcoming DC Extended Universe. Talking about Jimmy Olsen’s fate, he said:
We just did it as this little aside because we had been tracking where we thought the movies were gonna go, and we don’t have room for Jimmy Olsen in our big pantheon of characters, but we can have fun with him, right?
Initially the lack of Jimmy Olsen made me wonder if we were going to see him in the R-rated special edition of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, much like Jena Malone’s character. According to the EW story, we will actually get more from him, as he will introduce himself up front in the extended Blu-ray version.
Still, Jimmy Olsen wasn’t just trimmed from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, he was completely excised from the DC Extended Universe. I get why, he’s not a character with a hugely consequential role in the grand scheme of things, and there’s a ton going on in these movies, but with as much space as there is, you’d think there might be some place for the little dude.
Initially, Zack Snyder was going to use the Jimmy Olsen role to toy with audience expectations, to pull a Psycho and kill off a character fans wouldn’t expect to see die so soon. This was part of having Jimmy introduce himself. But there was also a time when the director wanted a familiar face in the role, and originally had his eye on Jesse Eisenberg for the part. That, of course, didn’t pan out, as Eisenberg landed the part of Lex Luthor instead.
What do you think of all of this? If you’ve seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, did you connect the photographer in the desert to Jimmy Olsen? (Only one of us around here made that link, and it certainly wasn’t me.) Do you care that he was killed off, or are you glad they’ll be able to focus more on the central characters now? Let us know in the comments.