Monday, March 26, 2018

Justice League: Mortal Leaked Cast Costume Test Photo

Half a decade ago, I pulled together a Martian Manhunter-specific look at what would have been the first JLA movie, featuring 6'2", sixty year old Australian Hugh Keays-Byrne as J'Onn J'Onzz. A couple of years later, when a picture of a latex mask produced for the film was finally released, I did an awkward, halting podcast adaptation of my earlier piece. That photo was part of a wealth of new information offered about the film in anticipation of the production of a documentary on it, George Miller’s Justice League: Mortal. They were even canny enough to create character posters for the doc, including the one seen in the header image above.

Unfortunately, it appears that Warner Brothers did not sign off on allowing any of this material to be used ahead of their actually completing a Justice League flick that wasn't as bad as you heard, but still landed with a thud on screens last year. I haven't heard of any movement on the project for a couple of years now and its official Twitter account went cold in September of 2016.

Don't ask me how toy photographer James Garcia got a very low definition picture of a full cast costume test (possibly here or here?), but such a thing apparently got tweeted out with the condemnation Yeah, can’t say I’m disappointed JUSTICE LEAGUE: MORTAL didn’t happen, then continues later in the thread with "I honestly thought it was from that old failed 1997 Justice League TV show when I first saw it. These look like cheap Halloween costumes". Also, the since-Golden-Globe-winning actor Armie Hammer, who would have played the Dark Knight, noted Not quite.... The bat suit isn’t right and also The Green Lantern was black. (@common was going to nail that role). The consensus of the thread was that the suits were bad, but Martian Manhunter looked the best, and the suits on the Justice League porn parody were better. (Note to self: why haven't you seen the Justice League porno yet?)

For my own taste, with the exceptions of Wonder Woman and Superman, I definitely prefer the looks and character selection of Mortal over the Snyder/Whedon jam. The Alien Atlas is clearly based on his short-lived Brightest Day costume, and is obviously made of rubber muscles in the old school 1990s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Corman Fantastic Four Thing mold that I'm iffy on. It's a very classic look for J'Onn that I'm not confident would have been well received by general audiences, who may have dubbed him a cheapjack Hulk. I'm a defender of the New 52 redesign, which I think would look fantastic and distinctive on the silver screen, and we now have a proof of concept via the television show Supergirl's excellent but too little seen One Year Later rendition. I've never been wild about the comics used as source material for the screenplay (save "Tower of Babel," which is a sequel story, not a launching pad) or the word that it would have played like an excessively violent Injustice: Gods Among Us grimdark interpretation of children's heroes. All that having been said though, I still kinda wish Mortal had come out. I feel it would have been lambasted and underperformed in a manner not dissimilar from the 2017 attempt, but could have taught Warner Brothers lessons that may have provided positive guidance on Man of Steel and averted Dawn of Justice entirely.

All in all, J'Onn J'Onzz making his "cinematic debut" eleven years after the fact in a sketchy behind the scenes photo from an aborted film featuring the entire "true" Justice League of America in an untold proto-formation story is just about the most Martian Manhunter way this could have played out. Mortal is like a real life "The Origin of the Justice League-- Minus One!"

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