What if Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was released in its original, full-length as scripted version? Audiences would have been in for the Ben Hur of action-movies! How much are we missing from the final story, and how much will be appearing in the upcoming “Ultimate” Director’s Cut, the film’s editor David Brenner fills in some blanks.
Imagine a version of the recent big-screen blockbuster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that effectively would run about 4-hours long? That’s what the editor of the Zack Snyder helmed action film recently reported recently to the industry leading blog site Pro Video Coalition. Going into the editing room David Brenner admits that the script was much more textured, and that Snyder was very much devoted to character development of the three lead characters appearing in BvS, but only so much can make it into the final film.
Brenner revealed to PVC :“In the script there were more story lines than you see in the movie today. That was probably our biggest editorial issue in trying to get the cut down to a reasonable length.” Brenner insists the beginning arc of the feature was the toughest to craft. Reintroducing Bruce Wayne into the Man of Steel continuity to promote the establishment of the DC Comics Cinematic Universe, presented the filmmakers with some narrative hurdles.
“Until the point where Bruce Wayne tells Alfred the truth about what is on the ship ‘White Portuguese’ …the truth about his plan. This moment set into motion everything until the end of the film really.” Brenner illustrates how in the original script, up until that reveal much of the story lines were running solo — some interesting, some not — but nonetheless, running parallel rather than congruent to one another. “It was a lot to juggle. So the plot lines of a couple characters had to go.”
With the current feature film coming in at a little over 2 hours and a half, and many critics citing that still more could have been shaven off to bring to the screen the epic and long-awaited confrontation between the two pop-culture icons, many fans wonder what was compromised in the final film print. “Zack Snyder’s a super visual guy,” Brenner commented. “He was a painter before he was a director, and more than anyone I’ve ever worked with he thinks in terms of pictures — he storyboards his movies himself. The whole movie from start to finish. He keeps books. BvS had maybe three books of his drawings.”
Plans are already circulating about the upcoming “Ultimate Version” to be released on Blu-ray this fall; an extended director’s cut of the film that hopefully will fill in the blanks of some dangling participles left unanswered, namely Lex Luthor’s (Jesse Eisenberg in the film) motivations behind pitting the heroes against one another, and the mysterious vision the villain experiences while inside the Kryptonion Scout Ship from Man of Steel. There’s also the extent to which Jena Malone’s “mystery character” plays into the story. The rumor is that Malone (of recent Hunger Games fame) plays Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl, and her scene will be reintegrated into the new cut.
Brenner insists that the release in theaters now is a worthy experience for fans, and that the longer version presented its share of complications. “The way Zack likes to work, three and a half hours — that’s fine for a movie of this size, but we cut down Man of Steel from about 3 and half hours, I knew we’d get this done.” However fans feel about it, knowing that the filmmakers are already hard at work on Justice League, and that an “ultimate version” is on the way Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is just the beginning of a bigger story already firing the imagination.