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Damon Lindelof Offers WB Justice League Advice


Warner Bros. should take note, because a lot of important people are offering the studio free advice on how to handle its long-planned Justice League film. First Kevin Feige, the man who ultimately brought together The Avengers, told Warner Bros. it needs to “have confidence in the characters, believe in the source material,” and now Damon Lindelof is also throwing in his two cents. He said in a recent interview that a solution to the Justice League problem will hinge on the tone for the universe set up in Man of Steel.

“The Justice League problem is not a problem of, who is the bad guy that Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, Superman, whoever you decide to pit them against. The problem is: What’s the tone of that movie?” Lindelof (Lost, Star Trek Into Darkness) told The Hollywood Reporter. “They’ve been struggling with launching their own tone. The tone of Green Lantern is very different from the tone of The Dark Knight. They clearly inhabit two entirely different worlds. You want to feel like someone is establishing a world where the Justice League can exist, maybe Man of Steel is that movie.”

He added, “If Man of Steel works, and it’s great, I think it starts to make sense where Paradise Island is in that world. Because that’s an entirely different world than the one Christopher Nolan introduced.”

Man of Steel opens June 14. It’s been rumored Warner Bros. is looking at a 2015 release date for Justice League.


  • Shadowulf McCullough

    I am sorry but want a bit of advice look to Injustice: Gods Among Us as a way to get Justice League Right

  • Happily LS

    Lindelof giving advice about writing is like me giving advice about being an astronaut.

  • John

    Superman going crazy and killing Joker is not the kind of movie I want to see.

  • Robert Task Smith

    Thank god you dont make movies.

  • Gary Jones

    You watch Marvel’s films and they all have the same sort of tone and humour despite being completely different.

    DC movies though, much like their comics, all feel different. Like they exist separately from each other.

    So he’s right. They need to establish what sort of universe they want. GrimDark like Batman or more light-hearted as in Green Lantern. Being their biggest character, Superman is the right place to set that tone.

  • Perry Constantine

    Whatever you think of Lindelof, his advice is actually very sound. When you look at the Marvel Phase One movies, they all share the same tone. But when you compare Green Lantern to The Dark Knight trilogy, the tone is completely different. The world Nolan set up was designed on purpose to be one where Batman is the most fantastical thing in it.

    A proper tone does need to be established and Warner Bros needs to sit down and plan this out instead of just throwing stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks.

  • Zip

    As much as I like Alex Ross, the image posted makes them look smug.

  • David Gavril

    The problem DC has with most of their characters is that they miss the ‘Human Condition’. They had established it with Batman and Superman, but if you look to Marvel’s characters they all have several conflicts, internal and external that are believable. Superman as we all know was brought up believing he was human to begin with, so he had the ‘human condition’ established.

    Wonder Woman for example would be a hard character to establish from comic to film in a believable sense; as she is already a god who is pretending to be human and there is no connection to “us”. Green Lantern could have worked but it turned into a complete travesty.

    The best thing Marvel does is connect the reader with everyday problems; example Spider-Man for one – high school student, lives with his Aunt; Tony Stark struggled with alcohol; Captain America brought from the past (1940’s) as he had to learn to cope in a new world with new ideals conflicting to his own. Thor even though a god himself had family conflicts not that dissimilar to “our” own.

    Some of this was well established in Smallville and even more so now in Arrow. But I honestly don’t see what the problem is with DC compiling a solid story arc with their characters into a JLA movie similar to what Marvel achieved with the Avengers.

    If I were toying with ideas at DC, I would personally start with a movie of The Flash, since he exhibits a human condition quite well. The whole 12 Steps of the Heroes Journey always works when you start out with an “under dog” or someone you least expect to rise to a challenge, it’s a tried and true formula that wins every time.

    I would possibly look at tying in Superman and Batman together in a stand alone film and taking a leaf from Marvel’s book and have a connection at the end of the film to move the story on. A connection to Wonder Woman would work well leading on from Superman and Batman. I would scrap the Ryan Reynolds “Green Lantern” start out fresh, however I would start with the Flash, then tie in Green Lantern with him.

    So, my formula would be:

    Man of Steel + Batman & Superman (Wonder Woman) + The Flash (Green Lantern) = Justice League of America.

  • Mideon

    You said everyday problems but two of your examples were being frozen in a block of ice and being a God haha
    Nonetheless, I agree.

  • Leon Bright

    He’s correct to an extent. Comparing The Dark Knight Trilogy to anything else DCU related is a bit moot though due to the fact that the Trilogy was initially meant to act as entity outside of any other DCU film related continuity.

    For those saying: “They need to establish what sort of universe they want. GrimDark like Batman or more light-hearted as in Green Lantern.”

    That’s not the right approach either. A shared universe doesn’t mean that they all have to have the SAME tone (grim or light) throughout their movies. They should all stem from the same mechanics, the same implied rules though.

    Green Lantern could have easily fit in with Man of Steel, had it not
    failed to achieve what they had hoped. I don’t recall anyone leaving the
    theater going: “Man, that movie didn’t have the right tone.” They left
    saying it sucked because it did.

    Man of Steel feels like it stems from a world similar to The Dark Knight Trilogy yet it’s obviously not the same world (at this point in time).

    Man of Steel comes from the ‘What if this actually happened in the real world?’ tone. The same tone that all the Nolan-Batman films did. Man of Steel isn’t grim or dark because that’s not retaliative to Superman mythology. It is however the tone that DCU films have been adapting to great success. A tone of hyper-realism.

  • Henry Fong

    Green Lantern had very bad cgi, which let it down. The character should have been more serious. Humour can come into it later. Villian was very weak too.

  • Cameron Ballanfonte

    What about a movie where all hope is lost under the regime of an Evil version of the Justice League and the one savior left is…the real Superman from a world of a League that is not evil. The one who doesn’t kill and and is unbreakable in what he believes is right?

    Because that is the story of Injustice. It’s Mirror Mirror but with the Justice League.

  • Brian Thomas

    What really gets me is that the DCAU was able to get “tone” right. Why can DC do this with a cartoon but not with real live action?

  • Michael Fitz-Gibbon

    Superhero comics lend themselves better to animation than live-action to begin with.

  • Black Cesar

    Thor has problems with his Dad. Cap feels life has passed him by. (That happens when you’re frozen in a block of ice)

  • Zagreus

    Look, Man of Steel can exist in the same world as the Dark Knight…one of the points even the trailers of Man of Steel is at pains to address is “how would normal people react if someone with these abilities existed”. Hence people locking him up, etc, etc. Green Lantern, on the other hand was all giggles and laughs, his friend goes “You’re a superhero!” Cool! It was taken for granted that these abilities exist. No freak out. It was a comic book world. Even the aliens and everything were very comic-booky. Totally different feel. GL needs a reboot. But Man of Steel/and Dark Knight. Yeah, they can be in the same universe. And move forward from there. This isn’t hard.

  • chien_clean

    Geez are every filmakers gonna have their own lame opinion about this? Feige:”believe in the source material”. I guess that’s why Marvel changed The Mandarin so much? Lindeloff:”the films have too much a different tone, it can’t be done”. Sure they can.

  • Chris McFeely

    I want to post something more here about the core awfulness – the impenetrable black terribleness – of that idea, the but those six words really can’t be improved upon.

  • Chris McFeely

    Cartoons can get away with certain things much easier than live-action can. I mean, look at JL’s three-part pilot. Superman, Batman, Flash and (a) Green Lantern already existed, Martian Manhunter was introduced as part of the plot, and Hawkgirl came in without fanfare. But plopped into the middle of this sci-fi alien-invasion subterfuge-and-spectacle story… is the really, REALLY awkward introduction of Wonder Woman, which requires the plot to go “Oh, yeah, and in addition to all this there’s a magic island made by the gods where only women live that we will provide no setup or origin for at all. Just go with us, okay?” You can JUST about squeak by with that in animation. In live-action, it’d be laughable.

  • queentoqueenslevel3

    Even though I didn’t like the Dark Knight movies I still don’t understand why those films ruled out another DC superhero living within them. Just because other characters or locations aren’t mentioned is no reason to say Nolan’s Batman didn’t have room for Superman, Green Lantern etc. I guess its because “Nolan said so” and that’s it.

  • capitandelespacio

    Is Lindelof the guy who wrote Lost and Prometheus?

  • The Last Word

    You nailed it. Unfortunately for DC, their characters, with few exceptions, aren’t “people” in the same way Marvel characters are “people.” Marvel’s characters, for the most part, are “people” where things “happen” to them, while DC tends to look a lot like Olympus. The most notable exceptions to this circumstance are Green Lantern and Thor, but Green Lantern was a terrible misfire (from costume to story, the whole thing was a waste of time and money and a fantastic intellectual property) while Thor comes with a ready-made backstory (which they really avoided during the Avengers, for the most part, notwithstanding that Loki was the villain).

    And there’s not a character in the Justice League besides Superman and Batman (whose backstories are well-known)that doesn’t require an elaborate description. Aquaman? Green Lantern? Martian Manhunter? Wonder Woman? Hawkman? Firestorm? Mavel just threw Hawkeye and the Widow into the mix, with minimal reference to any origin, and it fit (as an aside, any Justice League movie should include Green Arrow and Black Canary because, like Hawkeye and the Widow, you don’t have to fill in any blanks).

    If Warner Bros is serious, it should look to the first two Bruce Timm episodes. Focus on WW or Manhunter, and use an invasion of Amazons or aliens as pretext to gather heroes equipped to combat the threat. Superman and Batman are easy choices, and you don’t need another Batman movie to set this up, although he likely will be included in an after-credits scene making a connection. Cyborg works, for the same reason Hawkeye and Iron Man works (a metal suit is “believable” and requires virtually no backstory, and Cyborg is the easy choice for an African-American character). Green Arrow and Black Canary are easy to include as government agents, for reasons already stated. Which means you need two (and maybe three) more characters, the candidates being WW, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter.

    Flash works spectacularly, for several reasons. First, and most importantly, you can hang an entire movie around him by himself. Second, it’s an easy premise to set up, i.e., police scientist gets exposed to something during accident and transforms, etc. Third, his power set is unique, and will translate well given today’s special effects technology. Fourth, the movie is easy to market, as he’s probably the best-known character after Superman, Batman and WW. WW is virtually a lock. Notwithstanding the fact that she’s probably the hardest character to include (6 foot, muscular, stunningly beautiful women in impossible costumes are hard to come by) WB will include her because she’s central to the JL, she can drive the movie (see above), she’s Superman’s physical counterpart, and she will move merchandise. Green Lantern maybe makes the cut (you have to cut the cast off somewhere) because of the investment Warner Bros has already made, and the fact that the movie should have worked (all they had to do was use the script from First Flight — how hard could it be to write a story about a dying alien who bequeaths the greatest weapon in the universe to a human?).

    Who doesn’t make it, under any circumstances? Yep, once more, Aquaman gets the shaft. I like Aquaman, and I think what DC has done with him in the last several years has been fantastic. But he has a really, really complicated backstory, and you’d have to pull a lot of levers to do it right. Moreover, films involving water are tremendously expensive. I know technology has changed, and there’s a lot of differences between today and Waterworld, but it’s just a hassle. Finally, to the extent the public knows of Aquaman, he’s not really well-liked in any specific regard. Who else doesn’t make the cut? Manhunter, most likely. I think Timm introduced Manhunter really well, and an alien invasion is an easy set-up. But an Amazon invasion is just as easy, and you can’t have too many characters. Plus, he’s not well-known, and his powerset is pretty poorly defined, at least for casual observers.

  • David Gavril

    The answers are right there in front of them… I don’t know why it is so hard for DC. They could be making a buttload of cash off their characters but no one is willing to step up to the plate and take a chance which is annoying. I would love to see their characters as large as life on the big screen but it seems like the heads of DC can’t get their shit together.

  • David Gavril

    My formula as stated earlier would work so well.

  • David Gavril

    You missed the point. Even though Cap was frozen in ice he still had a ‘human condition’ of having to deal with nearly 60 years of progress. Thor, although a God still had the human condition as well…Where as Wonder Woman being a God doesn’t have a solidity to her to connect her to “us”. DC’s characters are far too one dimensional.

  • David Gavril

    And that’s what I meant… they had internal ‘human’ struggles. Which makes them believable.

  • todd

    I think DC should go with the grim dark type universe. It was good in the dark knight movies, man of steel looks like it is going to be good, and some of the best superman stories are the dark and serious ones. I haven’t played Injustice yet since I am out of the country right now, but I have seen videos and read some of the comic and I like that dark and serious vibe. I think a DC needs to go that route and portrays these heroes who are basically gods among man, in this dark and gritty universe.

  • K(ate) Muse

    There’s an Alex Ross image where the heroes don’t look smug?

  • Dandru

    Damon Lindelof is giving writing advice? That’s like Michael Brown giving advice on how to respond to a disaster.

  • DirectorRick

    PAULA PATTON or AISHA TYLER for Wonder Woman!!!!!!!!!!!

  • dsc

    oh yes

  • mutantmagnet

    ” The tone of Green Lantern is very different from the tone of The Dark Knight.”
    Just don’t bother with Nolan-verse Batman. Pretend it never happened. But that would create some brand confusion. So push Earth 40-50 years in the future and give us Terry McGinnis and old Bruce Wayne instead.

    Making the new Batman movies about Batman Beyond would be the best way to cleanly break away from the Nolan-verse and would allow you to bring Batman’s base power level in the range of Hawkman let alone all the other heavy hitters.

    Just remember the futuristic batsuit is still an enhanced stealth suit and not a war ready power armor like Iron Man’s.

  • XmanConti

    I have to agree that the tone and the confidence in the characters has to match. Take the Dark Knight movies. They are entertaining for what they are, but you could never throw a hero that flies and carries a lasso into that world. Take the X-Men movies, they teeter on the edge of a realistic gritty tone to one more in tune with the Avengers. These heroes don’t need huge makeovers to come into the normal world. Look at Thor and Captain America, huge hits and enjoyable movies without a lot of real changes.

    Have faith in the characters but don’t over-think it either. People love these characters and as long as the movies keep getting better I don’t care how many they make.

  • XFan

    I don’t think anyone would go for bringing Batman Beyond to the Justice League. It’s going to be a miracle to get regular Batman in the same room with Wonder Woman on the big screen, much less future Batman. Sorry to say.

  • Xfan

    Are you smoking something? No way. Megan Fox would be better than both of them, and I can’t stand Megan Fox.

  • Xfan

    Don’t you think the movie should establish the team for the mass audience before we start getting into Evil versions of said team? Would the Avengers have been as good if it started with them taking on the Dark Avengers in their first film?

  • Alexis Hall

    Let’s get real. The fans really just want to see Batman and Superman together. Make that movie, see if it works, and then think about a Justice League. Don’t try to pull a Marvel. Do something different with probably the best superhero characters EVER!

  • brownbear34

    This is the first time I’ve ever heard anyone mention Paula Patton for WW, but it makes a crap ton of sense. Paula Patton is tall, and she doesn’t looks like one specific ethnicity, and she has shown that she is capable of being in action movies. Plus I’ve noticed that for the most part, her looks are far more subtle beautiful than in your face sex goddess(which I think makes sense for WW what with her being more of a warrior than pinup model). I say no on Aisha Taylor for the same reason that I say no to Megan Fox (actually there’s alot of problems with fox, not just the one that she shares with Aisha) in that they both look too much like one specific ethnicity. While having a certain ethnicity, or looking like one specific is certainly not a bad thing, it would feel wrong for WW(kind of like a blond-haired superman). What I mean by that is having WW portrayed by an actress who looks like no particular race/ethnicity means that when people across different cultures talk about the WW movie, they will just refer to it as a WW movie, instead of the black WW movie or white WW movie. Yeah I understand that in the comics WW is white/greek, but changing the movie mythology so that it never specifies a race for WW makes the character more accessible to different cultures which is a more important than catering to comic nerds’ (myself included) need to be close to the source material as possible. And unfortunately the casting of Aisha Taylor(though I love her work and think that she would work great as another Amazon character) or Megan Fox (never!) wouldn’t make that possible.

  • Vic

    Alright I feel compelled to say my piece, lol, I know everyone is whining about Nolans world not fitting with the GL film, but you know what WB, SCREW THEM, do it anyway, take Bale, Reynolds and Cavill and put them all in the JL movie, Nolan fans will get over it and the movie will be a massive success regardless of how many Nolan fanboys cry about Bale being with Reynolds, they still have their trilogy and they dont have to watch the JL film if they dont want to! I think if most comic fans are honest with themselves they will admit this is what they want, as for realism and the problem of the way Dark Knight Rises ended, all can be dealt with because in the comic book world, ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN! No hero stays retired or dead very long! Lol, have Joseph Gordon Levitt take the moniker of Nightrunner from Batman Inc, When Darkseid launches his invasion GL encounters Nightrunner and they begin to gather the other heroes and fight the Parademons together, Flash, Wonder Womans and Cyborgs Origins can all be explained in the film, the boom tubes cause an explosion by Barry Allens office that turns him into the Flash, Wonder Woman is from New Genesis! Take away the Greek origin, make her the chosen warrior of highfather to come help earth fight off Apokolips, Cyborg origin can be taken right from the new 52, eventually Darkseid comes to earth, kidnaps Superman and puts Nightrunner in serious peril, prompting Bruce to defy Selina, contact Lucius Fox and join the fray as Batman, he comes in the Bat, blasting Parademons to crap and the whole movie audience goes nut, Bats has an emotional final moment with John Blake as Blake dies and than goes off to Apokolips to save Supes, after the invasion is repelled, Wonder Woman takes Bruce to New Genesis and heals his broken down body with New Gen technology, converting him to the same level of physical fitness as he had in his twenties! BAM Bats is back in the game, recast Bale for later movies as neccesary due to him aging, their gonna have to do it with RDJ over at Marvel eventually to so no biggie, just get Bale back for the first JL film and maybe even the 2nd and than recast, easy, do this WB! If you truly wanna compete with Marvel in 2015! This opens the door for a Nightwing franchise as JGL will take the lesser known, expendable moniker of Nightrunner!

  • Saul Silver

    If you’ll recall in JL’s three-part pilot it was Martian Manhunter who actually telepathically got all the heroes together.

  • Terry Von

    I agree with what Damon Lindelof said about establishing the tone. Wonder Womans’ tone has to compliment Supermans’ in Man of Steel.

    And well…. even though it’s too early to tell, I think Man of Steel seems to compliment the tone of Nolans’ Batman flicks.

    Therefore: I think the WB needs to do what they can to retain Christopher Nolan in some way. He can stay busy doing his other projects while Snyder preps up the Justice League… but Nolan needs to be involved…

    One main reason? To secure Bale.

    Another reason: As I mentioned – “Man of Steel” seems to already compliment “The Dark Knight” trilogy in terms of tone… so how can a science-fiction based Justice League film be far from Nolans’ bat flims?

    I’d love to see a fantastical yet sobering Justice League flick. Something that is epic but more meditative than “The Avengers”.

    And by having Nolans’ bat films be the established blueprint that the other, more fantastical and super-powered properties branch out from… we could easily end up with something that can truly be epic. A watershed landmark in the superhero genre that goes a step further into legitimacy than “The Dark Knight” has.

  • BrashHulk

    Paula Patton tall? Dude, she’s 5’4″. A gorgeous 5’4″, to be sure… but that ain’t Amazon specs.