JJ Abrams Reveals Why He Really Returned to Direct ‘Star Wars Episode IX’

While J.J. Abrams had no plans to be drawn back into the “Star Wars” franchise after 2015’s “The Force Awakens,” he ended up coming back to direct the upcoming “Episode IX” — for the simple reason that he wanted to top himself.

“I had no intention to return,” Abrams said in a new Rolling Stone interview. “But when the opportunity presented itself to finish a story that we had begun with these new characters, to tell the last chapter of their story, it felt like there was a chance to do it in a way where we could go beyond, and do better than we did in Seven.”

Abrams stepped into direct the final film in the new trilogy, which will follow this month’s “The Last Jedi” and is due out in 2019, after Colin Treverrow withdrew in September over creative differences with Lucasfilm. Treverrow had joined the project in 2015.

Also Read: JJ Abrams Plans to Take ‘Star Wars’ Franchise ‘Elsewhere’

Abrams said he didn’t want to pass up the chance to try to re-create the magic of “The Force Awakens.”

“I learned so much in that movie and I saw that this was a chance to sort of realize something that we hadn’t quite achieved — and part of that was it was simply the beginning of these new characters and their story,” he told Rolling Stone.

“The opportunity to sort of take what we had learned, to take the feeling of who these characters are and what they are and give them a final chapter that felt in the spirit of what we begun? It was too delicious of an opportunity to pass up.”

See Photo: Carrie Fisher’s Beloved Dog, Gary, Will Appear in ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’

Abrams directed and produced “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015. He is also serving as an executive producer on the upcoming film “The Last Jedi,” out next week, which Rian Johnson is directing. Abrams will co-write “Episode IX” with Chris Terrio.

In a recent interview with the BBC, Abrams said he planned to take the final installment of the franchise “elsewhere.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

9 Ways ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Could Fix ‘The Force Awakens’

Daisy Ridley Clarifies Comments That She’s Done With ‘Star Wars’ Franchise After Episode IX

Daisy Ridley Done With ‘Star Wars’ Franchise After Episode IX

While J.J. Abrams had no plans to be drawn back into the “Star Wars” franchise after 2015’s “The Force Awakens,” he ended up coming back to direct the upcoming “Episode IX” — for the simple reason that he wanted to top himself.

“I had no intention to return,” Abrams said in a new Rolling Stone interview. “But when the opportunity presented itself to finish a story that we had begun with these new characters, to tell the last chapter of their story, it felt like there was a chance to do it in a way where we could go beyond, and do better than we did in Seven.”

Abrams stepped into direct the final film in the new trilogy, which will follow this month’s “The Last Jedi” and is due out in 2019, after Colin Treverrow withdrew in September over creative differences with Lucasfilm. Treverrow had joined the project in 2015.

Abrams said he didn’t want to pass up the chance to try to re-create the magic of “The Force Awakens.”

“I learned so much in that movie and I saw that this was a chance to sort of realize something that we hadn’t quite achieved — and part of that was it was simply the beginning of these new characters and their story,” he told Rolling Stone.

“The opportunity to sort of take what we had learned, to take the feeling of who these characters are and what they are and give them a final chapter that felt in the spirit of what we begun? It was too delicious of an opportunity to pass up.”

Abrams directed and produced “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015. He is also serving as an executive producer on the upcoming film “The Last Jedi,” out next week, which Rian Johnson is directing. Abrams will co-write “Episode IX” with Chris Terrio.

In a recent interview with the BBC, Abrams said he planned to take the final installment of the franchise “elsewhere.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

9 Ways 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Could Fix 'The Force Awakens'

Daisy Ridley Clarifies Comments That She's Done With 'Star Wars' Franchise After Episode IX

Daisy Ridley Done With 'Star Wars' Franchise After Episode IX

DC Fans Launch Petition for Release of Zack Snyder’s ‘Justice League’ Director’s Cut

Hardcore DC movie fans have launched a change.org petition asking Warner Bros. to restore director Zack Snyder’s original “Justice League” cut, together with Tom Holkenborg’s (Junkie XL) score on home release.

As of this writing, the petition has collected over 19,000 signatures.

DC Movie fan Roberto Mata from San Juan, Puerto Rico launched the petition, condemning changes that were made to the film’s score and run-time following Snyder’s exit in May when his daughter died. Joss Whedon stepped in to finish the film, and composer Holkenborg was replaced with Danny Elfman.

READ MORE

See Zack Snyder’s latest POWER MOVE.

PowerRank:

479

“All in all, the score is generic, out of place, too whimsical and a rehash of many other scores,” Mata wrote.

The film’s run-time also concerned petitioners. “In early October cinemas confirmed that the runtime [sic] for Justice League will be 2hrs long, much to the shock of fans, who were asking themselves: ‘how will a film that has 6 main characters, their supporting players, a story that revolves around an alien invasion, the terraforming [sic] of earth and the return of a familiar face, would fit in a 2hr runtime [sic]?’” Mata asked.

The petition’s mission statement — which is over 2,400 words —  can be read in its entirety by clicking here.

“Justice League” is currently playing in theaters.

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Ben Affleck Steals a Batarang From ‘Justice League’; Warner Bros. Responds With a Bill

Trouble Alert: ‘Justice League’ Struggles Toward Weak $94 Million Opening

Hardcore DC movie fans have launched a change.org petition asking Warner Bros. to restore director Zack Snyder’s original “Justice League” cut, together with Tom Holkenborg’s (Junkie XL) score on home release.

As of this writing, the petition has collected over 19,000 signatures.

DC Movie fan Roberto Mata from San Juan, Puerto Rico launched the petition, condemning changes that were made to the film’s score and run-time following Snyder’s exit in May when his daughter died. Joss Whedon stepped in to finish the film, and composer Holkenborg was replaced with Danny Elfman.

READ MORE

See Zack Snyder's latest POWER MOVE.

PowerRank:

479

“All in all, the score is generic, out of place, too whimsical and a rehash of many other scores,” Mata wrote.

The film’s run-time also concerned petitioners. “In early October cinemas confirmed that the runtime [sic] for Justice League will be 2hrs long, much to the shock of fans, who were asking themselves: ‘how will a film that has 6 main characters, their supporting players, a story that revolves around an alien invasion, the terraforming [sic] of earth and the return of a familiar face, would fit in a 2hr runtime [sic]?'” Mata asked.

The petition’s mission statement — which is over 2,400 words —  can be read in its entirety by clicking here.

“Justice League” is currently playing in theaters.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Justice League' Fans React to Henry Cavill's Mustache Removal: 'This Is F–king Real?!'

Ben Affleck Steals a Batarang From 'Justice League'; Warner Bros. Responds With a Bill

Trouble Alert: 'Justice League' Struggles Toward Weak $94 Million Opening

‘Justice League’ Powers to $13 Million at Thursday Box Office

Warner Bros.’ “Justice League” powered to $13 million at the Thursday previews, on it’s way to an impressive $110 million opening weekend.

The Thursday preshow number for “Justice League” topped the preview ticket sales for “Wonder Woman,” which earlier this year grossed $11 million on Thursday night.

The Patty Jenkins-directed film went on to gross $103.3 million its opening weekend. 2016’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” also starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot, grossed a whopping $27.7 million in previews and had an $166 million opening.

“Justice League” is expected to earn somewhere in the $110 million to $115 million range this weekend. The latest DC film was produced for an estimated $300 million.

Also Read: Here’s Why Superman’s Mouth Looks Weird in ‘Justice League’

“Justice League” stars Affleck, Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, J.K. Simmons, Ciaran Hinds, and Cavill. Zack Snyder directed the film from a script by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, the latter of whom stepped in to complete the film after Snyder stepped down following the death of his daughter.

Currently, the film holds a score of 38 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 122 “rotten” and 74 “fresh” reviews.

Also opening this weekend is “Wonder,” which features “Room” star Jacob Tremblay as a boy with a facial deformity who tries to fit in at a new school with the help of his parents (Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson).

Also Read: ‘Justice League’ Rotten Tomatoes Score Is in and It’s Not Good

The film is projected to make $8 million to $9 million this weekend against a $20 million budget co-financed by Participant Media, Walden Media and TIK Films. Steven Chbosky directed the film from a script he co-wrote with Jack Thorne and Steven Conrad, and is based on the novel of the same name by R.J. Palacio. It has a 84 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.

Sony Pictures’ “The Star,” an animated Christmas film about the animals involved in the Nativity story, is also expected to open in the $8 million to $9 million range.

It was produced for $20 million. Its voice cast includes Steven Yeun, Gina Rodriguez, Zachary Levi, Keegan-Michael Key, Kelly Clarkson, Kristin Chenoweth, Tracy Morgan and Oprah Winfrey. It was directed by Timothy Reckart and currently holds a Rotten Tomatoes score of 68 percent.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Justice League’: Joss Whedon Enrages DC Fans by Liking Tweet Blasting Steppenwolf

Does ‘Justice League’ Have a Post-Credits Scene?

‘Justice League’ Is a ‘Chaotic, Baffling Mess’ and 8 Other Harsh Reviews

Warner Bros.’ “Justice League” powered to $13 million at the Thursday previews, on it’s way to an impressive $110 million opening weekend.

The Thursday preshow number for “Justice League” topped the preview ticket sales for “Wonder Woman,” which earlier this year grossed $11 million on Thursday night.

The Patty Jenkins-directed film went on to gross $103.3 million its opening weekend. 2016’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” also starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot, grossed a whopping $27.7 million in previews and had an $166 million opening.

“Justice League” is expected to earn somewhere in the $110 million to $115 million range this weekend. The latest DC film was produced for an estimated $300 million.

“Justice League” stars Affleck, Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, J.K. Simmons, Ciaran Hinds, and Cavill. Zack Snyder directed the film from a script by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, the latter of whom stepped in to complete the film after Snyder stepped down following the death of his daughter.

Currently, the film holds a score of 38 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 122 “rotten” and 74 “fresh” reviews.

Also opening this weekend is “Wonder,” which features “Room” star Jacob Tremblay as a boy with a facial deformity who tries to fit in at a new school with the help of his parents (Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson).

The film is projected to make $8 million to $9 million this weekend against a $20 million budget co-financed by Participant Media, Walden Media and TIK Films. Steven Chbosky directed the film from a script he co-wrote with Jack Thorne and Steven Conrad, and is based on the novel of the same name by R.J. Palacio. It has a 84 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.

Sony Pictures’ “The Star,” an animated Christmas film about the animals involved in the Nativity story, is also expected to open in the $8 million to $9 million range.

It was produced for $20 million. Its voice cast includes Steven Yeun, Gina Rodriguez, Zachary Levi, Keegan-Michael Key, Kelly Clarkson, Kristin Chenoweth, Tracy Morgan and Oprah Winfrey. It was directed by Timothy Reckart and currently holds a Rotten Tomatoes score of 68 percent.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Justice League': Joss Whedon Enrages DC Fans by Liking Tweet Blasting Steppenwolf

Does 'Justice League' Have a Post-Credits Scene?

'Justice League' Is a 'Chaotic, Baffling Mess' and 8 Other Harsh Reviews

‘Justice League’: Joss Whedon Enrages DC Fans by Liking Tweet Blasting Steppenwolf

“Justice League” reshoot director Joss Whedon is causing some confusion — and a whole lot of anger — among fans for appearing to agree with some pointed criticism of the very film he finished helming after Zack Snyder stepped down.

Whedon set off a firestorm on Twitter for liking a tweet criticizing “Justice League” villain Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciarán Hinds in the tentpole film which lands in theaters this weekend).

Whedon liked Vanity Fair’s Joanna Robinson Twitter message, which went: “#JusticeLeague‘s Steppenwolf is the worst comic book movie villain of all time and not even Malekith the Accursed comes close.”

An odd reaction coming from the movie’s own filmmaker, who is also credited for co-writing the screenplay, to say the least.

The response from DC fans has been brutal. “You are absolutely repulsive. How dare you even like this tweet?” one fan wrote.

“Your fingerprints are all over this film & you have yet to voice out any kind of support for it. You are despicable & you have singlehandedly ruined @ZackSnyder’s #JusticeLeague,” she added.

Also Read: Does ‘Justice League’ Have a Post-Credits Scene?

.@joss You are absolutely repulsive. How dare you even like this tweet?

Your fingerprints are all over this film & you have yet to voice out any kind of support for it. You are despicable & you have singlehandedly ruined @ZackSnyder’s #JusticeLeague. pic.twitter.com/M5oPWp6N8y

— Jesabel (@JesabelRaay) November 16, 2017

“Justice League” producer Charles Roven recently said Whedon was responsible for 15 to 20 percent of the finished film. Zack Synder is credited as the film’s sole director. The film’s credits do recognize Whedon for his contributions to the screenplay, along with writer Chris Terrio, who previously co-wrote “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

“F–k you @joss. I wish Gal Gadot would’ve drop-kicked your ass during the reshoots, you backstabber.” tweeted another angry fan.

Here are other tweets.

Some thoughts: Justice League is a great movie, but all the “bad” things in it are clearly the work and direction of @joss.
Also, his “like” to the tweet trashing Steppenwolf is disgusting.@wbpictures do not make that Batgirl movie.
We don’t need uninspired, badly made movies.

— •●BatMax●• is ALL IN – Saw JL x1 (@SupesBatsy) November 16, 2017

Hey @joss. It’s one thing to not promote a film you completed. But to have the lack of decency & the unmitigated gall to like tweets trashing a film that YOU took over for Zack in his time of mourning is disgusting. If you don’t like it, then we all rather have you simply shut up

— Sheraz Farooqi (@SherazFarooqi_) November 16, 2017

@joss can you at least have the decency to respect the work of a director who trusted you enough to help him complete his project in difficult times? ???? pic.twitter.com/gDSRcwISUD

— Claire saw JL ☇ (@CalireBlackInk) November 16, 2017

Warner Bros. and reps for Whedon did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

“Justice League” opens in theaters Nov. 17.

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‘Justice League’ Is a ‘Chaotic, Baffling Mess’ and 8 Other Harsh Reviews

“Justice League” reshoot director Joss Whedon is causing some confusion — and a whole lot of anger — among fans for appearing to agree with some pointed criticism of the very film he finished helming after Zack Snyder stepped down.

Whedon set off a firestorm on Twitter for liking a tweet criticizing “Justice League” villain Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciarán Hinds in the tentpole film which lands in theaters this weekend).

Whedon liked Vanity Fair’s Joanna Robinson Twitter message, which went: “‘s Steppenwolf is the worst comic book movie villain of all time and not even Malekith the Accursed comes close.”

An odd reaction coming from the movie’s own filmmaker, who is also credited for co-writing the screenplay, to say the least.

The response from DC fans has been brutal. “You are absolutely repulsive. How dare you even like this tweet?” one fan wrote.

“Your fingerprints are all over this film & you have yet to voice out any kind of support for it. You are despicable & you have singlehandedly ruined @ZackSnyder’s #JusticeLeague,” she added.

“Justice League” producer Charles Roven recently said Whedon was responsible for 15 to 20 percent of the finished film. Zack Synder is credited as the film’s sole director. The film’s credits do recognize Whedon for his contributions to the screenplay, along with writer Chris Terrio, who previously co-wrote “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

“F–k you @joss. I wish Gal Gadot would’ve drop-kicked your ass during the reshoots, you backstabber.” tweeted another angry fan.

Here are other tweets.

Warner Bros. and reps for Whedon did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

“Justice League” opens in theaters Nov. 17.

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Every Batman Movie Ranked, Including 'Justice League'

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‘Justice League’ Reaction: Here’s What We Think of DC’s Latest Installment (Video)

The embargo on reviews for “Justice League” has lifted, and TheWrap’s Umberto Gonzalez and Beatrice Verhoeven are here to give you their thoughts on DC’s latest. Watch the review video above.

All in all, the consensus is that the film is good, but not great, is fun but is flawed, and the villain isn’t a show stealer, but the main characters —  namely Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg and The Flash — make up for it.

According to Gonzalez and Verhoeven, the film is indeed filled with good performances by the main Justice League members, however the bad CGI of the film handicaps its third act. However, the characterizations make up for the lack of action so the film is a palette cleanser and a step in the right direction for DC Entertainment.

Also Read: Will ‘Justice League’ Perform Like ‘Wonder Woman’ or ‘Suicide Squad’ at the Box Office?

“Justice League” stars Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, J.K. Simmons, Ciaran Hinds and Henry Cavill. Zack Snyder directed from a script by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, the latter of whom stepped in to complete the film after Snyder stepped down following the death of his daughter.

The movie opens Nov. 17.

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Will ‘Justice League’ Perform Like ‘Wonder Woman’ or ‘Suicide Squad’ at the Box Office?

Rotten Tomatoes to Withhold ‘Justice League’ Score Until Day Before Release

‘Justice League’ Amazonian Bikinis Have Twitter in Uproar: ‘Men Ruin Everything’

The embargo on reviews for “Justice League” has lifted, and TheWrap’s Umberto Gonzalez and Beatrice Verhoeven are here to give you their thoughts on DC’s latest. Watch the review video above.

All in all, the consensus is that the film is good, but not great, is fun but is flawed, and the villain isn’t a show stealer, but the main characters —  namely Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg and The Flash — make up for it.

According to Gonzalez and Verhoeven, the film is indeed filled with good performances by the main Justice League members, however the bad CGI of the film handicaps its third act. However, the characterizations make up for the lack of action so the film is a palette cleanser and a step in the right direction for DC Entertainment.

“Justice League” stars Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, J.K. Simmons, Ciaran Hinds and Henry Cavill. Zack Snyder directed from a script by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, the latter of whom stepped in to complete the film after Snyder stepped down following the death of his daughter.

The movie opens Nov. 17.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Will 'Justice League' Perform Like 'Wonder Woman' or 'Suicide Squad' at the Box Office?

Rotten Tomatoes to Withhold 'Justice League' Score Until Day Before Release

'Justice League' Amazonian Bikinis Have Twitter in Uproar: 'Men Ruin Everything'

‘Justice League’ Film Review: DC Superheroes Battle in Vain Against the Power of Zack Snyder

If “Wonder Woman” provided a glimmer of hope that DC Comics movies might start looking, moving and sounding differently than before, “Justice League” plops us right back into “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” territory, albeit with a little more wit and humanity. But if you like your superhero battles in deep dark tunnels or under skies purple with alien soot, director Zack Snyder is back with yet another installment that looks the way Axe body spray smells.

Not that there isn’t a little more levity, and a touch more interest in character this time around — and whether or not those attributes can be credited to Joss Whedon’s additional photography can be interpreted by those who will read this sequel like it’s the Dead Sea Scrolls — but much too much of this team-up adventure is given over to ridiculous posing and posturing as our heroes battle a not-very-interesting villain over, you guessed it, the fate of the world itself.

In the script credited to Chris Terrio (“Argo”) and Whedon, based on a story by Snyder and Terrio, the world is still reeling from the death of Superman at the end of “BvS,” and with new threats on the horizon, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) feels called upon to assemble individuals who can pick up the Kryptonian’s mantle. He’s already in touch with Princess Diana of Themyscira, a.k.a. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), of course. Then there’s troubled teen Barry Allen (Ezra Miller), who mainly uses his super-speed powers to work several jobs in the hopes of getting a lawyer for his wrongly imprisoned dad (Billy Crudup).

Watch Video: Watch ‘Justice League’ Take On Villainous Steppenwolf in New Spoiler

Bruce also tracks down troubled young adult Victor Stone (Ray Fisher), a former college football player who was in a car accident and can now barely control the robot body (featuring Kryptonian tech) created for him by his widowed scientist father Silas (Joe Morton). There’s also Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa), the king of the seas; Bruce tracks him to an Icelandic village but the Aquaman, at first, has no interest in meddling with land-locked affairs.

That all changes when Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciarán Hinds) shows up; the alien has some nefarious plans that call for three Mother Boxes, devices so powerful that putting them together would destroy all life on the planet. Ages ago they were divided up: one went to Themyscira, one to Aquaman’s domain of Atlantis, and one was hidden by humanity. Steppenwolf’s shopping spree is over before you know it, and it’s soon evident that even this team of heroes isn’t going to be enough to stop him. But hey, would one of those Mother Boxes have the power to bring Superman back to life?

On the pages of DC Comics, the Justice League has seen countless permutations, from heroic to gritty to the self-aware and jokey. (The latter, exemplified by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis’ run from 1986-1992, might be my favorite version of the team, but I’ve enjoyed the print Justice League in a variety of flavors.) What the movie version of this cohort of superheroes will eventually become is anyone’s guess, but Snyder gives us far more set-up than payoff. And when he does finally get everyone together for the big battle, he once again drowns the proceedings in murk. Neither cinematographer Fabian Wagner (“Victor Frankenstein”) nor the army of digital post-production artists lets enough light into these proceedings.

Also Read: Henry Cavill Knocks DC Film ‘Style’ Up Until ‘Wonder Woman’: ‘Hasn’t Necessarily Worked’

The one note Snyder seems to have taken from “Man of Steel” was “maybe don’t have superheroes destroy densely-populated areas,” so the climax takes place in a mostly abandoned, Chernobyl-like area of Russia. That gets bystanders out of the way, yes, but it also plops the action into a featureless arena.

When “Justice League” comes to life the most is in the interaction of its players, more often than not when they’re out of costume. (Although any fan of the comics will be forgiven for feeling a little giddy at seeing these titans share the screen.) Affleck and Gadot give genuine performances, and their scenes together have real weight, particularly when he grills her about why she spent the century after the events of “Wonder Woman” in hiding. (Gadot also wins the film’s ass-kickery sweepstakes early on, as Diana literally defuses a hostage situation involving a gaggle of uniformed schoolgirls straight out of “Madeline.”)

Diane Lane and Amy Adams, as the two most important people in Superman’s life, also manage to carve out some moments of heartfelt humanity. We’ll soon find out whether or not Momoa’s undersea-bro strutting can be endured for the length of a stand-alone “Aquaman” movie, and if Miller wants to be the comedy relief of this franchise, he might consider bringing the mugging and the double-takes down from a nine to a six.

Also Read: Rotten Tomatoes to Withhold ‘Justice League’ Score Until Day Before Release

Meanwhile: Who is Steppenwolf? And why should we care? And who is Victor Stone — who will eventually become known as Cyborg — as a human being, let alone as a half-robot superhero? The screenplay breezes along as though these questions had been addressed, let alone answered. And giving Joe Morton the line, “I’ll never tell you!” in response to Steppenwolf’s demand for the location of the Mother Box plays like a scene from a film about a great actor who gets stuck playing a thankless role in a ridiculous movie.

Warner Bros. doesn’t seem to have settled on a consistent tone — or even a range of tones — for their superhero epics in the way that their distinguished competition at Marvel has, but what works here comes very close to overpowering all the things that don’t. (Believe the rumors about Henry Cavill’s badly-digitally-hidden mustache, though.) “Justice League” may not represent the alchemic assemblage that “The Avengers” was, but now that these super not-quite-friends have saved their universe, they might eventually rescue their cinematic one as well.

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If “Wonder Woman” provided a glimmer of hope that DC Comics movies might start looking, moving and sounding differently than before, “Justice League” plops us right back into “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” territory, albeit with a little more wit and humanity. But if you like your superhero battles in deep dark tunnels or under skies purple with alien soot, director Zack Snyder is back with yet another installment that looks the way Axe body spray smells.

Not that there isn’t a little more levity, and a touch more interest in character this time around — and whether or not those attributes can be credited to Joss Whedon’s additional photography can be interpreted by those who will read this sequel like it’s the Dead Sea Scrolls — but much too much of this team-up adventure is given over to ridiculous posing and posturing as our heroes battle a not-very-interesting villain over, you guessed it, the fate of the world itself.

In the script credited to Chris Terrio (“Argo”) and Whedon, based on a story by Snyder and Terrio, the world is still reeling from the death of Superman at the end of “BvS,” and with new threats on the horizon, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) feels called upon to assemble individuals who can pick up the Kryptonian’s mantle. He’s already in touch with Princess Diana of Themyscira, a.k.a. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), of course. Then there’s troubled teen Barry Allen (Ezra Miller), who mainly uses his super-speed powers to work several jobs in the hopes of getting a lawyer for his wrongly imprisoned dad (Billy Crudup).

Bruce also tracks down troubled young adult Victor Stone (Ray Fisher), a former college football player who was in a car accident and can now barely control the robot body (featuring Kryptonian tech) created for him by his widowed scientist father Silas (Joe Morton). There’s also Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa), the king of the seas; Bruce tracks him to an Icelandic village but the Aquaman, at first, has no interest in meddling with land-locked affairs.

That all changes when Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciarán Hinds) shows up; the alien has some nefarious plans that call for three Mother Boxes, devices so powerful that putting them together would destroy all life on the planet. Ages ago they were divided up: one went to Themyscira, one to Aquaman’s domain of Atlantis, and one was hidden by humanity. Steppenwolf’s shopping spree is over before you know it, and it’s soon evident that even this team of heroes isn’t going to be enough to stop him. But hey, would one of those Mother Boxes have the power to bring Superman back to life?

On the pages of DC Comics, the Justice League has seen countless permutations, from heroic to gritty to the self-aware and jokey. (The latter, exemplified by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis’ run from 1986-1992, might be my favorite version of the team, but I’ve enjoyed the print Justice League in a variety of flavors.) What the movie version of this cohort of superheroes will eventually become is anyone’s guess, but Snyder gives us far more set-up than payoff. And when he does finally get everyone together for the big battle, he once again drowns the proceedings in murk. Neither cinematographer Fabian Wagner (“Victor Frankenstein”) nor the army of digital post-production artists lets enough light into these proceedings.

The one note Snyder seems to have taken from “Man of Steel” was “maybe don’t have superheroes destroy densely-populated areas,” so the climax takes place in a mostly abandoned, Chernobyl-like area of Russia. That gets bystanders out of the way, yes, but it also plops the action into a featureless arena.

When “Justice League” comes to life the most is in the interaction of its players, more often than not when they’re out of costume. (Although any fan of the comics will be forgiven for feeling a little giddy at seeing these titans share the screen.) Affleck and Gadot give genuine performances, and their scenes together have real weight, particularly when he grills her about why she spent the century after the events of “Wonder Woman” in hiding. (Gadot also wins the film’s ass-kickery sweepstakes early on, as Diana literally defuses a hostage situation involving a gaggle of uniformed schoolgirls straight out of “Madeline.”)

Diane Lane and Amy Adams, as the two most important people in Superman’s life, also manage to carve out some moments of heartfelt humanity. We’ll soon find out whether or not Momoa’s undersea-bro strutting can be endured for the length of a stand-alone “Aquaman” movie, and if Miller wants to be the comedy relief of this franchise, he might consider bringing the mugging and the double-takes down from a nine to a six.

Meanwhile: Who is Steppenwolf? And why should we care? And who is Victor Stone — who will eventually become known as Cyborg — as a human being, let alone as a half-robot superhero? The screenplay breezes along as though these questions had been addressed, let alone answered. And giving Joe Morton the line, “I’ll never tell you!” in response to Steppenwolf’s demand for the location of the Mother Box plays like a scene from a film about a great actor who gets stuck playing a thankless role in a ridiculous movie.

Warner Bros. doesn’t seem to have settled on a consistent tone — or even a range of tones — for their superhero epics in the way that their distinguished competition at Marvel has, but what works here comes very close to overpowering all the things that don’t. (Believe the rumors about Henry Cavill’s badly-digitally-hidden mustache, though.) “Justice League” may not represent the alchemic assemblage that “The Avengers” was, but now that these super not-quite-friends have saved their universe, they might eventually rescue their cinematic one as well.

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JJ Abrams Plans to Take ‘Star Wars’ Franchise ‘Elsewhere’

With JJ Abrams back in the director’s chair to close out the sequel trilogy on “Star Wars: Episode IX,” the writer-director plans to take the final installment in the franchise “elsewhere.”

In a recent interview with the BBC, alongside composer Michael Giacchino, Abrams said, “Well, it’s certainly something that I’m aware of now working on ‘Episode IX’ — coming back into this world after having done ‘Episode VII.’ I feel like we need to approach this with the same excitement that we had when we were kids, loving what these movies were.”

Abrams added, “At the same time, we have to take them places that they haven’t gone, and that’s sort of our responsibility. It’s a strange thing – Michael’s worked on things like ‘Planet of the Apes’ and ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Wars,’ and these are the things of dreams. Yet we can’t just revel in that; we have to go elsewhere.”

Also Read: JJ Abrams to Replace Colin Trevorrow on ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’

Abrams directed and produced “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015. He is also serving as an executive producer on the upcoming film “The Last Jedi,” out this December, which Rian Johnson directed. Abrams will co-write “Episode IX” with Chris Terrio.

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With JJ Abrams back in the director’s chair to close out the sequel trilogy on “Star Wars: Episode IX,” the writer-director plans to take the final installment in the franchise “elsewhere.”

In a recent interview with the BBC, alongside composer Michael Giacchino, Abrams said, “Well, it’s certainly something that I’m aware of now working on ‘Episode IX’ — coming back into this world after having done ‘Episode VII.’ I feel like we need to approach this with the same excitement that we had when we were kids, loving what these movies were.”

Abrams added, “At the same time, we have to take them places that they haven’t gone, and that’s sort of our responsibility. It’s a strange thing – Michael’s worked on things like ‘Planet of the Apes’ and ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Wars,’ and these are the things of dreams. Yet we can’t just revel in that; we have to go elsewhere.”

Abrams directed and produced “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015. He is also serving as an executive producer on the upcoming film “The Last Jedi,” out this December, which Rian Johnson directed. Abrams will co-write “Episode IX” with Chris Terrio.

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‘The Batman’ Director Matt Reeves: ‘It’s a Standalone, It’s Not Part of the Extended Universe’

Matt Reeves, director of the upcoming “The Batman,” says the film won’t be a part of the DC Extended Universe that includes the Justice League and Wonder Woman, but rather a standalone Bat-story.

In an interview with Los Angeles’ KCRW, the filmmaker said: “Well, I have a vision for a way to do something with that character that feels like it resonates with me personally, and a perspective that can grow out into other things. When they [Warner Bros.] approached me, what they said was ‘look, it’s a standalone, it’s not part of the extended universe.’”

The filmmaker has previously said he set aside an original script written by Ben Affleck and DC entertainment president Geoff Johns, and is “starting again” on a completely new take. “No. It’s a new story. It’s just starting again. I’m excited about it. I think it’s going to be really cool,” Reeves told MTV’s Happy Sad Confused podcast last month.

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Affleck and Johns wrote their script while the “Argo” Oscar-winner was still set to direct as well as star in “The Batman.”

The concept envisioned by Affleck and Johns featured Deathstroke the Terminator as the main villain, and Joe Manganiello was hired to play the supervillain. Whether that’s still the case remains to be seen, and Manganiello himself recently said he isn’t sure if he’s still in “The Batman.”

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‘The Batman:’ Matt Reeves Has Shelved Ben Affleck’s Script

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Matt Reeves to Direct and Produce ‘The Batman’ for Warner Bros

Matt Reeves, director of the upcoming “The Batman,” says the film won’t be a part of the DC Extended Universe that includes the Justice League and Wonder Woman, but rather a standalone Bat-story.

In an interview with Los Angeles’ KCRW, the filmmaker said: “Well, I have a vision for a way to do something with that character that feels like it resonates with me personally, and a perspective that can grow out into other things. When they [Warner Bros.] approached me, what they said was ‘look, it’s a standalone, it’s not part of the extended universe.'”

The filmmaker has previously said he set aside an original script written by Ben Affleck and DC entertainment president Geoff Johns, and is “starting again” on a completely new take. “No. It’s a new story. It’s just starting again. I’m excited about it. I think it’s going to be really cool,” Reeves told MTV’s Happy Sad Confused podcast last month.

Affleck and Johns wrote their script while the “Argo” Oscar-winner was still set to direct as well as star in “The Batman.”

The concept envisioned by Affleck and Johns featured Deathstroke the Terminator as the main villain, and Joe Manganiello was hired to play the supervillain. Whether that’s still the case remains to be seen, and Manganiello himself recently said he isn’t sure if he’s still in “The Batman.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

'The Batman:' Matt Reeves Has Shelved Ben Affleck's Script

Why Matt Reeves Is a Better Fit to Direct 'The Batman' Than Affleck (Commentary)

Matt Reeves to Direct and Produce 'The Batman' for Warner Bros

‘The Batman:’ Matt Reeves Has Shelved Ben Affleck’s Script

Five months into the job of directing the upcoming DC film “The Batman,” Matt Reeves has set aside the original script written by Ben Affleck and Geoff Johns, and is “starting again” on a completely new take.

Speaking to Josh Horowitz on MTV’s Happy Sad Confused podcast, Reeves was asked whether or not he was going to be working from Affleck and John’s script when he confirmed development is just now starting again, “No. It’s a new story. It’s just starting again. I’m excited about it. I think it’s going to be really cool.”

Reeves also reiterated earlier comments that he intends to make a film that lines up with his vision for the character.

READ MORE

See Matt Reeves’s latest POWER MOVE.

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Affleck and Johns wrote their script while the “Argo” Oscar-winner was still set to direct as well as star in “The Batman.” After Affleck stepped down as director in late January to focus on acting in the film, it was reported that Chris Terrio had turned in a rewrite based on Affleck’s and John’s original draft.

The concept envisioned by Affleck and Johns featured Deathstroke the Terminator as the main villain, and Joe Manganiello was hired to play the supervillain. Whether that’s still the case remains t be seen, and Manganiello himself recently said he isn’t sure if he’s still in “The Batman.”

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Five months into the job of directing the upcoming DC film “The Batman,” Matt Reeves has set aside the original script written by Ben Affleck and Geoff Johns, and is “starting again” on a completely new take.

Speaking to Josh Horowitz on MTV’s Happy Sad Confused podcast, Reeves was asked whether or not he was going to be working from Affleck and John’s script when he confirmed development is just now starting again, “No. It’s a new story. It’s just starting again. I’m excited about it. I think it’s going to be really cool.”

Reeves also reiterated earlier comments that he intends to make a film that lines up with his vision for the character.

Affleck and Johns wrote their script while the “Argo” Oscar-winner was still set to direct as well as star in “The Batman.” After Affleck stepped down as director in late January to focus on acting in the film, it was reported that Chris Terrio had turned in a rewrite based on Affleck’s and John’s original draft.

The concept envisioned by Affleck and Johns featured Deathstroke the Terminator as the main villain, and Joe Manganiello was hired to play the supervillain. Whether that’s still the case remains t be seen, and Manganiello himself recently said he isn’t sure if he’s still in “The Batman.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Wonder Woman' Eclipses 'Batman v Superman' at the Box Office

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No, ‘Justice League’ Is Not 170 Minutes Long

Zack Snyder’s “Justice League” is not 170 minutes long, an individual with close knowledge of the project told TheWrap, despite several reports that got CinemaCon and fanboys buzzing.

The film isn’t done yet, the insider said. Filmmakers aren’t close to knowing the precise runtime as of now, they added. “Justice League” is not slated to hit theaters until November.

On Wednesday, multiple individuals on social media claimed that “Justice League” will be 20 minutes longer than “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which clocked in at 2 hours and 31 minutes, excluding the extended cut.

Also Read: Ben Affleck Joins Other ‘Justice League’ Stars in Vegas But Zack Snyder Does All the Talking

On IMDb, “Justice League” is also listed as having a runtime of 2 hours and 50 minutes.

That would make it longer than the runtimes for “The Dark Knight Rises,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “Superman Returns” and “The Dark Knight,” all of which clocked in at over 2 hours and 30 minutes.

See Video: ‘Justice League’ First Trailer Shows DC Heroes ‘Come Together’

“Justice League” unites some of DC’s biggest superheroes, including Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher). Zack Snyder directed the film, which is produced by Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder. Chris Terrio, who wrote Affleck’s 2012 Best Picture winner “Argo,” handled the script.

The DC film hits theaters on Nov. 17.

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New ‘Justice League’ Footage, Posters Drop Ahead of Trailer Release

‘Justice League:’ J.K. Simmons says his role as Commissioner Gordon is ‘Very Small’

Zack Snyder’s “Justice League” is not 170 minutes long, an individual with close knowledge of the project told TheWrap, despite several reports that got CinemaCon and fanboys buzzing.

The film isn’t done yet, the insider said. Filmmakers aren’t close to knowing the precise runtime as of now, they added. “Justice League” is not slated to hit theaters until November.

On Wednesday, multiple individuals on social media claimed that “Justice League” will be 20 minutes longer than “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which clocked in at 2 hours and 31 minutes, excluding the extended cut.

On IMDb, “Justice League” is also listed as having a runtime of 2 hours and 50 minutes.

That would make it longer than the runtimes for “The Dark Knight Rises,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “Superman Returns” and “The Dark Knight,” all of which clocked in at over 2 hours and 30 minutes.

“Justice League” unites some of DC’s biggest superheroes, including Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher). Zack Snyder directed the film, which is produced by Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder. Chris Terrio, who wrote Affleck’s 2012 Best Picture winner “Argo,” handled the script.

The DC film hits theaters on Nov. 17.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Justice League': The Flash, Wonder Woman Teasers Drop Ahead of New Trailer (Videos)

New 'Justice League' Footage, Posters Drop Ahead of Trailer Release

'Justice League:' J.K. Simmons says his role as Commissioner Gordon is 'Very Small'

‘Justice League’: The Flash, Wonder Woman Teasers Drop Ahead of New Trailer (Videos)

Ahead of the trailer release for “Justice League,” Warner Bros. has released two new teasers featuring Wonder Woman and The Flash.

“Wiser United,” reads Gal Gadot‘s Wonder Woman character teaser, while the caption accompanying the one for The Flash reads “Faster United.”

On Thursday, the studio released new footage, including a new team banner, a Batman teaser and an Aquaman teaser and poster ahead of the second trailer release, which is set to debut on Saturday.

Also Read: New ‘Justice League’ Footage, Posters Drop Ahead of Trailer Release

The date of trailer No. 2 — March 25, 2017 — is significant as it’s the one-year anniversary of the release of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

Zack Snyder is directing “Justice League,” which unites superheroes Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher).

Also Read: ‘Justice League:’ J.K. Simmons says his role as Commissioner Gordon is ‘Very Small’

Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder are producing the film, which was written by Chris Terrio, who wrote Affleck’s 2012 film “Argo,” winner of the Oscar for Best Picture.

“Justice League” hits theaters Nov. 17 of this year.

Check out the new teasers below, and get excited for the trailer tomorrow.

Wiser United #JusticeLeague #WonderWoman #UniteTheLeague pic.twitter.com/fPOgXGKbov

— Justice League Movie (@justiceleaguewb) March 24, 2017

Faster United #JusticeLeague #TheFlash #UniteTheLeague pic.twitter.com/hTygiPYa5o

— Justice League Movie (@justiceleaguewb) March 23, 2017

Faster United #JusticeLeague #TheFlash #UniteTheLeague pic.twitter.com/mqBeXSElu2

— Justice League Movie (@justiceleaguewb) March 23, 2017

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‘Justice League’ Star Jason Momoa Hurls Axes With Jimmy Kimmel (Video)

‘Justice League’: Ben Affleck on Film’s Tone Shift from ‘Batman v Superman’

‘Justice League’ Assembles for Battle in New Image (Photo)

Ahead of the trailer release for “Justice League,” Warner Bros. has released two new teasers featuring Wonder Woman and The Flash.

“Wiser United,” reads Gal Gadot‘s Wonder Woman character teaser, while the caption accompanying the one for The Flash reads “Faster United.”

On Thursday, the studio released new footage, including a new team banner, a Batman teaser and an Aquaman teaser and poster ahead of the second trailer release, which is set to debut on Saturday.

The date of trailer No. 2 — March 25, 2017 — is significant as it’s the one-year anniversary of the release of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

Zack Snyder is directing “Justice League,” which unites superheroes Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher).

Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder are producing the film, which was written by Chris Terrio, who wrote Affleck’s 2012 film “Argo,” winner of the Oscar for Best Picture.

“Justice League” hits theaters Nov. 17 of this year.

Check out the new teasers below, and get excited for the trailer tomorrow.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Justice League' Star Jason Momoa Hurls Axes With Jimmy Kimmel (Video)

'Justice League': Ben Affleck on Film's Tone Shift from 'Batman v Superman'

'Justice League' Assembles for Battle in New Image (Photo)

‘Justice League:’ Jesse Eisenberg, Connie Nielsen to Appear in DC Movie

Connie Nielsen’s Queen Hippolyta and Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor will make appearances in “Justice League,” TheWrap has learned.

According to Warner Bros.’ 2017 movie press kit, the studio has confirmed that Nielsen and Eisenberg will be in the upcoming DC Comics movie.

The kit states that Eisenberg will have a featured role in “Justice League,” which means that Lex Luthor will make another appearance. The kit also announced that Queen Hippolyta will be in the film, with Connie Nielson reprising the role from the upcoming “Wonder Woman” stand-alone film.

Also Read: ‘Game of Thrones’ Star Ciaran Hinds Cast as ‘Justice League’ Villain Steppenwolf (Exclusive)

Last seen in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” Eisenberg had previously teased Lex Luthor’s return in “Justice League.”

While Queen Hippolyta hasn’t been seen in a DC film yet, audiences will get their first taste in next June’s “Wonder Woman.” Queen Hippolyta is the mother of Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince/Wonder Woman and is the ruler of the land of Themyscira.

Earlier set visit reports suggest that one of the three motherboxes — the macguffins of “Justice League” — sought by the villain Steppenwolf, is possessed by the Amazons on Themyscira.

Also Read: ‘Justice League’ Assembles for Battle in New Image (Photo)

Zack Snyder is directing “Justice League,” which unites superheroes Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman, Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher).

Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder are producing the film, which was written by Chris Terrio, who wrote Affleck’s 2012 film “Argo,” winner of the Oscar for Best Picture.

“Justice League” hits theaters Nov. 17 of next year.

Related stories from TheWrap:

DC Films ‘Justice League’: What We Know So Far (Photos)

‘Game of Thrones’ Star Ciaran Hinds Cast as ‘Justice League’ Villain Steppenwolf (Exclusive)

‘Justice League’ First Look: Zack Snyder Reveals Tactical Batsuit

Connie Nielsen’s Queen Hippolyta and Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor will make appearances in “Justice League,” TheWrap has learned.

According to Warner Bros.’ 2017 movie press kit, the studio has confirmed that Nielsen and Eisenberg will be in the upcoming DC Comics movie.

The kit states that Eisenberg will have a featured role in “Justice League,” which means that Lex Luthor will make another appearance. The kit also announced that Queen Hippolyta will be in the film, with Connie Nielson reprising the role from the upcoming “Wonder Woman” stand-alone film.

Last seen in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” Eisenberg had previously teased Lex Luthor’s return in “Justice League.”

While Queen Hippolyta hasn’t been seen in a DC film yet, audiences will get their first taste in next June’s “Wonder Woman.” Queen Hippolyta is the mother of Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince/Wonder Woman and is the ruler of the land of Themyscira.

Earlier set visit reports suggest that one of the three motherboxes — the macguffins of “Justice League” — sought by the villain Steppenwolf, is possessed by the Amazons on Themyscira.

Zack Snyder is directing “Justice League,” which unites superheroes Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman, Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher).

Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder are producing the film, which was written by Chris Terrio, who wrote Affleck’s 2012 film “Argo,” winner of the Oscar for Best Picture.

“Justice League” hits theaters Nov. 17 of next year.

Related stories from TheWrap:

DC Films 'Justice League': What We Know So Far (Photos)

'Game of Thrones' Star Ciaran Hinds Cast as 'Justice League' Villain Steppenwolf (Exclusive)

'Justice League' First Look: Zack Snyder Reveals Tactical Batsuit