Imagine if Justice League included more cosmic heroes like Green Lantern and Hawkman, a bit of time travel, a dystopian future for half the story, and included genuinely “good” version of the Suicide Squad. Are you intrigued yet? Well, it almost happened.
The Wrap revealed details Monday about a 2011 script for Justice League written by “Gangster Squad” screenwriter Will Beall. The totally insane and brilliant script would have combined all the best parts from the animated films Justice League: War and Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox while still focusing on a familiar invasion from Parademons that united the League.
Rather than limiting the scope to a handful of heroes and one villain, this version instead brought in characters from across the entirety of DC Comics to fight for Earth in the present day — and again in a dystopian future. If that sounds overwhelming, then trust us when we assure you it’s overwhelming in the best way possible. And we’ve seen plots like this work extremely well in animated features and comic book storylines before.
In this version of Justice League, Darkseid is the real big bad rather than his lieutenant Steppenwolf, and he even manages to enslave Superman for a time. A Green Lantern also joins up. These things also happen in Justice League: War with some limited variation.
But halfway through Beall’s Justice League, Superman gets right in the head again and is sent 11 years into the future via Boom Tube. Here, in a war-torn dystopia that looks a heck of a lot like the one presented in The Flashpoint Paradox, what remains of the world’s heroes and villains unite in a Resistance. Even the likes of Lex Luthor, Deathstroke, Huntress, and other villains battle alongside Wonder Woman and a grey-haired Batman. Oh, and Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince have a son: Clark Wayne.
In this version of Justice League, they’re all fighting Darkseid and his armies, but in Flashpoint, it’s a World War that started between Atlantis and Themyscira. But this difference hardly matters when the team-ups get that crazy badass.
Ultimately, the Flash has to go back in time to rewrite history, and only the united powers of the Justice League can stop Darkseid in the present day, essentially making this story remarkably similar to both Flashpoint Paradox and War.
Beall’s draft came before even Man of Steel, which kicked off the DC Cinematic Universe as we know it in 2013. And though The Flashpoint Paradox and Justice League: War animated movies came out in 2013 and 2014, respectively, they were both based on 2011 comics by Geoff Johns and others that re-launched DC Comics into the New 52 era. It’s almost certain that Beall wrote the script after the New 52 re-launch, because many of the plot points bear an uncanny resemblance to the comics storylines. Which is totally fine, because all these movies borrow from comics anyway.
Watching The Flashpoint Paradox and Justice League: War would give you a good approximation of what you could’ve expected from Beall’s script, which would have been vastly different from the one that actually came to theaters, written by Chris Terrio and adjusted by Joss Whedon.