Justice League has been getting a lot of attention over the last year on two fronts. In one corner, we have the buzz surrounding Zack Snyder’s Justice League (which is now playing on HBO Max), and in another corner, we’ve been following along with Cyborg actor Ray Fisher’s efforts to pull the curtain back on the superhero movie’s tumultuous reshoots, which were helmed by Joss Whedon. One of the stranger chapters of that saga was when producer Jon Berg claimed that Fisher was upset when the Justice League filmmakers wanted him to say Cyborg’s catchphrase from the Teen Titans animated series, “Booyah!” Well, it turns out there’s more to this story than just some mild dissatisfaction.
As Ray Fisher recalled to THR, Justice League producer Geoff Johns, who’s been a key DC Comics contributor for over 20 years now, approached director Zack Snyder about including “booyah” in the movie, a word that Cyborg has never said in the comics. Snyder declined, as he reportedly didn’t want catchphrases in Justice League, but he still stamped the word on some signs in his cut of the movie as an Easter egg. According to Johns’ representative, Warner Bros thought the line would be a “fun moment of synergy,” but Fisher felt that it would be weird for the only Black superhero in Justice League to exclaim a catchphrase, calling to mind sitcom characters like Arnold Jackson from Diff’rent Strokes and J.J. Evans from Good Times.
Once Joss Whedon took over the Justice League reshoots, he brought “booyah” back up with Ray Fisher, and when the actor objected to the word being included, he thought the issue had been laid to rest. But Fisher says that Jon Berg, who’s also ran DC Films with Geoff Johns at the time, told him the following:
This is one of the most expensive movies Warners has ever made. What if the CEO of AT&T has a son or daughter, and that son or daughter wants Cyborg to say 'booyah' in the movie and we don't have a take of that? I could lose my job.
Despite Ray Fisher expressing skepticism that Justice League would be so heavily impacted by the inclusion of one word, he ended up filming a “booyah” take, which you can see in the theatrical cut. According to Fisher, on the day he shot that scene, Joss Whedon mockingly greeted him with a line from Hamlet, and after cameras finished rolling, the filmmaker called out “Nice work, Ray” as the actor was leaving.
Of course, the “booyah” incident is just one of many issues that Ray Fisher has talked about from his time on the Justice League reshoots. The actor has also accused Joss Whedon of being abusive to cast and crew members and Geoff Johns of “making a thinly veiled threat” to his career when the actor tried to take his grievances up the “proper chain of command.” In August 2020, WarnerMedia launched a third-party investigation into Fisher’s claims, which wrapped the following December and saw “remedial action being taken. Several weeks before the official conclusion, Joss Whedon exited the HBO series The Nevers.
However, the drama surrounding Justice League kept going on, with Ray Fisher saying right before 2020 ended that he wouldn’t participate in any project associated with Walter Hamada, the current president of DC Films. Following that, it was announced that Cyborg had been removed from The Flash, despite the character apparently having an integral role in the movie. So although DCEU fans finally got to see the full scope of Fisher’s Cyborg performance in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, it’s possible that his tenure as the technologically-enhanced superhero is now over.
Should that change, or if any additional details about what went down during the Justice League reshoots come to light, we’ll let you know. For now, scan through our upcoming DC movies guide to learn what this superhero franchise has on the horizon.