We are still somehow, against all sense of time and space, days away from the premiere of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. But we have glimpsed our comic book movie future, and all we can say is: go back. That’s what Vanity Fair did, speaking with Ray Fisher and Joe Manganiello on set last fall as they shot new footage — as their characters Cyborg and Deathstroke, respectively — for the HBO Max film.
One of the aspects of Justice League: Beta Edition that was discussed is, frankly, what went wrong. And according to Fisher, what went wrong was a whole other film for a whole other comic book publisher. Fisher told Vanity Fair that Whedon’s bitterness about the reception to Avengers: Age of Ultron impacted his work on Justice League, right down to one of its most egregiously bad scenes.
You could tell very quickly that [Whedon] was very upset that people did not like Age of Ultron very much. This is what I gathered from the first conversation that I had with him. There was a bit of this sort of egotistical narcissism that ended up going into everything that he was trying to do.
You can see it in some of the scenes that were produced. Flash falling on Wonder Woman’s [chest] is something that he yanked out of Age of Ultron and just copy-pasted here. In my first conversation creatively with him, he kept accidentally calling “Diana” “Natasha,” which is crazy stuff.
Joss Whedon seeing female characters as largely interchangeable and reducing them easily to funbag airbags? Colour me and many, many women of the Whedonverse shocked.
Fisher also divulged additional bits of the toxic environment he’s publicly spoken of over the last year, saying, “There was a lot of belittling on set. There was a lot of mocking, both of previous work and of actors and people.”
This included none other than Iron Man himself, RDJ, whose MCU tenure predated Whedon and lasted far longer.
Fisher said, “He compared me at one point to Robert Downey Jr. And said, ‘Listen, I don’t like to take notes from anybody, not even Robert Downey Jr.’ And I said, “Well, ok. Be that as it may…”
Whedon has been quite vocal about his issues with Downey, issues that ring a bit different knowing what we know now about Whedon and the environment he’s created on his sets.
Fisher’s Cyborg hopefully gets his due when Zack Snyder’s Justice League drops on Binge on March 18.