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Justice League is a fascinating work in progress. Having visited the film's set, on the outskirts of London, I know the type of movie that director Zack Snyder wanted to make. However, that vision changed when Snyder left (for personal reasons) and the story was turned over to Joss Whedon. Reshoots were reported, and changes assumedly were made. One such change appears to be the removal of any scenes involving Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor.
There have been reports that Justice League test screened for audiences in select markets (though reactions, like the ones given to Batman-News, are disappearing because those in attendance signed non-disclosure agreements). However, the site -- which tracks DCEU news like a bloodhound on the scent of a missing person -- states that they can confirm unequivocally that the latest cut of Justice League does NOT have Lex Luthor in it.
Is that a surprise? Sort of. When last we saw Lex Luthor, he was placed in prison following the events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the Caped Crusader (Ben Affleck) paid him a visit. It was during this scene that Lex teased the arrival of Steppenwolf, the villain from another world who'll be front and center in Snyder's ... er, Joss Whedon's superhero adventure. Relive the uncomfortable confrontation here:
Not that Justice League needs Lex Luthor, but as DC and Warner Bros. continues to build this world, it would be nice to see crossover talent like Lex and even The Joker (Jared Leto) surface in the major ensemble movies like Justice League, to further thread these stories together. Then again, Lex could be being held for the eventual Superman sequel, once Kal-El (Henry Cavill) is brought back from the dead.
At the same time, Justice League is going to have to go out of its way to avoid simply becoming a movie that gets bogged down in introducing characters. We are expecting to see, on screen for the first time, major characters like Cyborg (Ray Fisher), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Iris West (Kiersey Clemons), Commissioner Gordon (JK Simmons), Mera (Amber Heard), and countless Amazonians and Atlanteans. That says nothing about Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) and his evil minions. This movie could run three hours and still feel overstuffed.
The reaction from the test screening suggests that audiences found Justice League to be "epic," though again, these tweets were quickly scrubbed as WB tries to figure out how to market its massive blockbuster. We're two months away from it dropping into theaters, without Lex Luthor in its final cut. To keep up with all of the upcoming DC movies, follow the link that's over those words.