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We have talked and written at length about the changes that went into Justice League when Zack Snyder left the project, and The Avengers' Joss Whedon stepped in to take over as its director. Many of the conversations that have taken place have revolved around the distinction between Snyder's work and Whedon's work. The discussion continues to this day, but now storyboard artist and DC animation director Jay Oliva has confirmed that the scene in which Superman (Henry Cavill) uses his freeze breath was always part of the film. In response to a fan concern over the look of the power, Oliva wrote:
So, it seems that this puts that particular debate to rest. Though many fans continue to wonder what elements were changed and re-introduced when Joss Whedon took over Justice League, the instance of Superman using his freeze breath to slow down Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) and create an opening for Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) to attack was part of the fabled "Snyder Cut" during the early storyboard phase of Justice League's development.
Logically speaking, it makes sense that Superman would use his freeze breath in this scene. The character used a wide range of powers in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but his iconic freeze breath was one of the more underrepresented skills in Supes' DCEU adventures before the release of Justice League. This movie showed us a decidedly new take on the Last Son of Krypton, so bringing another ability into the fold seems like a sensible way to emphasize his evolution.
Of course, Jay Oliva's confirmation that the freeze breath was always part of Zack Snyder's vision does not fully explain the incorporation of the ability into the movie. Though it was part of Snyder's plan for the showdown against Steppenwolf, it remains unclear which director actually brought the sequence to life. It may have always been part of the plan, but it's entirely possible that Joss Whedon captured the moment during Justice League's extensive reshoot process. Considering how little we actually know about the earliest incarnations of Justice League before Warner Bros. decided to make some massive changes to the film, we will have to wait and see if we ever get more context to flesh this story out.
Only time will tell if and when we will get to see the DCEU's Superman use his freeze breath again. Until we learn more about the future of the character on the silver screen, stay tuned for more updates and watch out for the debut of James Wan's Aquaman in theaters later this year on December 21.