Joss Whedon's 'Justice League' Reshoots Made Cyborg's Story Less Grim

Friday, 11 August 2017 - 6:45PM
DC Comics
Justice League
Cyborg
No
Friday, 11 August 2017 - 6:45PM
Joss Whedon's 'Justice League' Reshoots Made Cyborg's Story Less Grim
Warner Bros.
When speaking about the reshoots for Justice League during a panel at San Diego Comic Con a few weeks ago, Ray Fisher, who plays Cyborg, claimed the new scenes were "brief if anything" and argued that really, they're not that big of a deal.

Joe Morton, who plays Cyborg's father, disagrees. According to Morton, while his own reshoots changed only small bits and pieces from the greater whole of his character's part in the movie, much of the newly filmed footage, overseen by new Justice League director Joss Whedon, has dramatically altered the presentation of Cyborg in the overall movie.

In an interview with IGN, Morton said that the tone surrounding his movie-son was lightened up at Warner Bros.' request: 

Opening quote
"I know that with Ray [Fisher], the young man who plays Victor, there were some adjustments that they made in terms of the tone of that character. I think what I heard was that there was a need from the studio to lighten up the film in a way, that the film felt too dark. I don't know what that meant in terms of how it actually got translated in terms of the reshoots but that's what I heard. That's what I thought some of the reshoots were about."
Closing quote


Morton also noted that his own scenes don't appear to affect the movie's tone at all, and that this was purely what he was gleaning from his time on-set, so there is room for questioning this tonal shift. That said, this does seem to fit with other reports surrounding the reshoots, which suggest that DC is using the optimistic, lighthearted Wonder Woman as a basis for tweaks to the movie.

At the same time, it is odd to hear that Justice League's tone might be moving towards a more upbeat presentation in general. When we got our first look at the movie last year, one of the big things that Warner Bros. seemed to be emphasizing was the fact that Justice League would be far more humorous and playful than Batman v Superman, to the point that Bruce Wayne cracks jokes at the expense of his fellow teammates.

For the tone to need to change again, becoming even less grumpy still, it's potentially worth assuming that Whedon, who's finishing the film now that Zack Snyder has been forced to depart the project surrounding family challenges, may be putting more of his trademark tongue-in-cheek wit and style into this movie than had been previously assumed.

After all, DC is hoping for Justice League to be the next Avengers. They've got the director from Marvel's big film on-side, so if he suggests that maybe Cyborg's character arc is a little depressing, it makes sense for Warner Bros to move heaven and earth to allow him to fix a perceived flaw. While Man of Steel and Batman v Superman does make the idea of an overly dour superhero film feel exhausting, it's easy to see how a particularly mournful Cyborg might actually make sense.



To quote Joe Morton again, there's more than a little of Frankenstein in this character:

Opening quote
"Unlike the other members of the Justice League, Victor has no alias, he has no way of hiding behind another personality or some sort of mask in order to protect themselves. He is very much like Frankenstein [Frankenstein's Creature] again in that there's no disguising who he is. So that what I think ends up happening is that section of the movie and certainly that character, Cyborg, is a metaphor for being The Other. Which is why I'm glad it's being played by — that I'm playing dad and Victor is a black, young man. Because I think that is the metaphor in a certain way, that it is talking about what it means to be The Other.

Even if you have something that you can contribute to society, very often society doesn't view you that way. Because when you are The Other, the first response by the mainstream, if you will, is to ostracize. So I think that's what Victor's fears are. He has to figure out how to overcome before he then eventually becomes benevolent and understands that the powers that he has can be used for great good."
Closing quote


Strangely, this almost sells the idea of a deconstruction of the superhero genre, in a way that simply hasn't worked with Zack Snyder's DCEU movies up to this point. Making Superman constantly upset about having to be a hero never quite makes sense, but telling the tragic tale of a Cyborg who's constantly ostracized by society as a metaphor for race relations in the modern era? That movie has a lot of potential to really resonate with modern audiences, and it would make sense for it to be somewhat depressing.

Here's hoping that we don't lose all of that in favor of quick, sarcastic quips. Joss Whedon is capable of delivering some powerful character work, but he's not exactly Jordan Peele when it comes to exploring racial allegories in film. It makes sense for Cyborg to be the Justice League's answer to the Ever Lovin' Blue-Eyed Thing, a man cursed with a distorted body that he can never escape, and making his arc too light and frivolous might well undercut the poignancy of his story within the film.

Here's hoping that Justice League turns out well, and that all the reshoots slot nicely into place. Nobody wants another Suicide Squad any time soon.

Justice League comes out November 17, 2017.
Science Fiction
Comic Book Movies
DC Comics
Justice League
Cyborg
No
No