One character that fans hope to see in the DC Cinematic Universe is Martian Manhunter, who was depicted as an original member of the Justice League when the team debuted in 1960. J’onn J’onzz has also been adapted into multiple animated television shows and movies, particularly the Justice League/Justice League Unlimited series’ that ran from 2001-2006. Additionally, he was one of the Justice League members who appeared on Smallville, where he was played by Phil Morris. So, how would Man of Steel scribe David S. Goyer adapt this iconic DC character for the big screen?
Goyer is currently under fire for controversial comments regarding Marvel’s She-Hulk, and during his interview with Scriptnotes (via The Mary Sue), he’s asked how he would take on Martian Manhunter in the DC Cinematic Universe. After implying that J’onn J’onzz’s fanbase is mostly made up of virgin nerds, Goyer explains how he would portray Martian Manhunter. “Well, he hasn’t been rebooted but he’s a mainstay in the Justice League. He can’t be [bleep]ing called the Martian Manhunter because that’s goofy. He can be called Manhunter… The whole deal with Martian Manhunter is he’s an alien living amongst us… So he comes down to Earth and decides, unlike Superman who already exists in the world now, that he’s just going to be a homicide detective… So instead of using super-powers and mind-reading and like, oh, I could figure out if the President’s lying or whatever, he just decides to disguise himself as a human homicide detective. Dare to dream!” For more from Goyer, you can click the link above.
Despite many fans hoping to see Manhunter in the Justice League movie, most signs point to that film utilizing the New 52 lineup, which notably replaces J’onn with Cyborg. Of course, it’s possible that they may do more than the typical seven members. However, don’t be surprised if Martian Manhunter is absent from that film.
Before Heath Ledger was cast as The Joker for 2008’s The Dark Knight, Oscar winner Adrien Brody was a contender for the coveted role. Despite losing out (which was for the better, no doubt), the King Kong actor is still open to the part. Speaking with Metro, Brody expresses his interest in tackling the Clown Prince of Crime – potentially in the Justice League movie. The chances of Joker appearing in the DC superhero ensemble are slim, however, as the team will need a far more powerful villain (such as Darkseid) to fight. Still, Brody had this to say. “I would do it if I feel I can contribute something valuable and that the role would be interesting to me because they’re long journeys. To me, the villains are way fun! But they don’t offer me those roles. If there is an opportunity to do something like that and play a comic book hero or villain, that’s not something I’m fundamentally opposed to.” Hopefully, WB will offer a DC role to Brody sooner or later.
Finally, we have some new details on the most infamous attempt to bring the Justice League to the big screen. Titled Justice League: Mortal, the film would have seen the team fight Maxwell Lord in a mash-up of “Tower of Babel” and “The OMAC Project”. The movie was very close to production, but was suddenly postponed and eventually shelved for a variety of reasons. Now, comic book artist Steve Skroce, who was involved with Mortal, has shared some new info on the project. Appearing on The Word Balloon Podcast (transcription via CBM), he talks about his time on Australia for six months in preparation of the film, and his “geeking out” seeing it come to life. He reveals that the costumes donned by Batman (Armie Hammer) and Superman (DJ Cotrona) “were very much what we saw with The New 52, and that Wonder Woman was pretty standard with more detail instead of flat gold and had the Alex Ross skirt.” As for Maxwell Lord, Skroce states that “Jay Baruchel was playing it nerdy, had an empire of Kingdom Come restaurants that were featured as a plot to infect the world with some sort of virus and that he was obsessed with the superheroes.” Finally, he affirms that “It was very faithful to the comics at the time, very DCU. Ultimately I think it’s good that it didn’t come out, as there were some parts that were cool that they got right and there were some things that people were going to hate. Some of it was very aimed at kids.”
This film certainly showed some major potential, but due to its cast and story ideas, it was best left to be put on the shelf. In the meantime, director Zack Snyder will deliver his take on the Justice League shortly after the now-shooting Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. A release date for Justice League has yet to be set, but a 2017/2018 debut is expected.