Justice League's Screenwriter Hated Joss Whedon's Movie So Much He Tried To Have His Name Removed

Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Batman and Flash in Justice League
(Image credit: (Warner Bros))
(Image credit: (Warner Bros))

It’s no secret Joss Whedon’s Justice League angered a lot of people when it was released. The 2017 theatrical cut of the DCEU team-up film has been the subject of protest for years leading up to last month’s Snyder Cut, which was made available on HBO Max following the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut online movement. Now that DC fans have had the chance to see the four-hour vision Zack Snyder had originally had planned for the beloved comic book heroes, the film’s screenwriter Chris Terrio is speaking out about his experience on the film.

Chris Terrio dropped a bombshell in a recent interview with Vanity Fair when he shared initial plans to ask Warner Bros to take his name off Joss Whedon’s Justice League after he viewed the cut that hit theaters in late 2017. In his words:

I was in L.A. at the time working on Star Wars [The Rise of Skywalker]. I was on the west side of Los Angeles working with J.J. [Abrams] at the time, and I drove to the studio and I sat down and watched it a couple of weeks before release. I immediately called my lawyer and said, ‘I want to take my name off the film.’ [The lawyer] then called Warner Bros. and told them that I wanted to do that.

But, Chris Terrio did not follow through on removing his screenplay and story credit, which was shared with Joss Whedon and Zack Snyder for the 2017 release. Here’s why:

Prints had already been struck or hard drives burned or however they deliver movies these days. The elements were on their way, and to remove my name they would have had to restrike the prints or redo the digital copies, and the film could be delayed. It would be an international scandal and news story. So I shut up and I said nothing publicly. I’ve never said anything about Justice League since then, but the movie doesn’t represent my work… As far as I know, I wasn’t invited to the premiere, and I never watched the film again.

If the writer had followed through with getting his name removed, it would have burdened the crew of the film with going back through Justice League and making significant edits that could have incited even more drama around the release at the time. As Chris Terrio reflected in the interview, he believes if he had taken the next step to remove his name, it would have “created a whole wave of negative publicity” that would have hurt the actors and craftspeople who spent their time and effort on the movie as well.

Now that the public has seen Zack Snyder’s true vision for the movie on HBO Max, he feels much more comfortable having this public conversation. Well, because the differences between Warner Bros version and the Snyder Cut is readily available for fans to compare. Terrio shared his thoughts on Justice League now that the version he had intended to make is now out there:

People do have problems with this version of the film, and they’ll quibble with the length, and they’ll quibble with the way that certain characters are written. But that I can take, because that is actual critique of my work. That’s fair game, and that I’ll engage with any day. People can quarrel with the movie, but at least they’re quarreling with my version and with Zack’s version of the film.

The story certainly illustrates a strong dislike for Joss Whedon’s Justice League. At the time Chris Terrio had contemplated removing his own credit from the big-budget release, there was no way he could have predicted Zack Snyder finishing the work they started and Warner Bros deciding to release it to the public following a huge movement in support of their work.

And now that Justice League is available to view on HBO Max, tons of fans are campaigning for Warner Bros to #RestoreTheSnyderVerse. Snyder and Terrio had plans to work on a three-film arc starring the Justice League and leading into the Knightmare future explored in the Epilogue of the Snyder Cut. We’ll keep you posted on any new developments related to the Snyder Cut, but until then check out the upcoming DCEU lineup here on CinemaBlend.

Up next: 'Zack Snyder's Justice League' Interviews With Zack Snyder And Deborah Snyder

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.