Justice League Versus Star Wars: Episode IX but Not The Way You Think
It’s been a strange year behind the scenes of major superhero and sci-fi movies. To be more specific, Justice League and Star Wars: Episode IX, have already had their fair share of production hiccups.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably heard that Zack Snyder was replaced for personal reasons by Joss Whedon to complete the direction of Justice League while J.J. Abrams was tabbed to return to the Star Wars franchise to write and direct Episode IX.
Such directorial turnover in the fantasy movie genre is not uncommon. Interestingly enough, the results have been surprisingly positive to-date.
The Good News
A few examples of directorial changes late in a movie’s development that didn’t totally ruin the film:
- Superman II (1980) replaced renowned filmmaker Richard Donner in the middle of completing the movie. You could see the rough edges* in the final product under the direction of Richard Lester but the film still did extremely well at the box office, and was a more than satisfying sequel to its groundbreaking 1978 predecessor.
- Ant-Man (2015) is the latest and greatest example of a film that lost an excellent director, Edgar Wright during filming, only to still yield an excellent, highly-profitable film under the watchful eye of a new director, Peyton Reed. Despite the late directorial change, the film retained a great portion of Wright’s original tone and vision, if you know anything about his films.
- Before I decided to write this post and do the necessary research to validate my points, I had no idea that the Hollywood classic The Wizard of Oz actually had two different directors. The finished product is so sterling, it’s hard to believe that there was a change. The original director was Richard Thorpe. The replacement was Victor Fleming. Now you know.
What To Expect
If history is any indicator, Justice League and Star Wars fans need not worry about late directorial changes dooming either film. Any concerns they have should surround the current state of each film franchise.
The problems that the DCEU has had so far have been well-documented. The polarizing Man of Steel, which I think is a solid but unspectacular film, kicked off their cinematic universe to mixed reaction. Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad are mediocre at best. But hope reigns supreme coming off the heels of the wonderful Wonder Woman.
Adding Joss Whedon to the DCEU mix to complete Justice League appears to be a solid move. He directed the good, but forgettable, Avengers: Age of Ultron. But his best work is Marvel’s the Avengers, one of the greatest superhero movies ever made. His work on the first Avengers film makes him an excellent choice for a superhero team-up film like Justice League.
Despite the recent moves by Warner Brothers (DCEU), I’d still have to say that the Star Wars movie franchise is in better shape based on the quality of its most recent Star Wars, The Force Awakens and the excellent Rogue One. Under the watchful eye of Disney, the Star Wars magic has resumed since the disaster that were the prequels.
Bringing J.J. Abrams back will help ensure a level of continuity since he helmed the Force Awakens. Although the film is highly-derivative of Star Wars: A New Hope, Awakens brought back a measure of respectability to the franchise. And what better way to close the latest trilogy with the director who brought life back to its cinematic universe?
Fans of both movie franchises have a lot to be excited about, but I’d put my Disney dollars on Star Wars: Episode IX being the better movie of the two. And there’s no shame in that DCEU fans.
*Definitely check out the Richard Donner cut of Superman II to see those rough edges smoothed out a bit. In my opinion, it’s better than the theatrical release.