It has been reported that Joss Whedon has cut Lex Luthor from the Justice League movie as part of the sweeping changes he has made since taking over the project.
If any of you can bring yourselves to remember Batman vs Superman without having traumatic flashbacks of blindingly obvious symbolism, low saturation and the scene where Batman refuses to kill Superman because of mummy issues, you will recall that the major villain Lex Luthor was left alive. He was imprisoned by Batman, sure, but that kind of stuff happens to every one of the Caped Crusader’s rogues gallery, and they escape the US prison system so much one wonders why they don’t hand out loyalty cards.
It seems especially strange, given that Lex’s whole (barely shown) motivation during that film was that he wanted to see Superman die. He completely succeeded in this goal by the end of the movie. As we all already know, Superman will be returning from the dead in Justice League, so it seems odd that we may not be seeing his reaction when he hears that his archnemesis has mimicked Jesus even further. Jesse Eisenberg had already confirmed his return in Justice League earlier this year, so it seems that it was planned for Lex Luthor to return in some capacity.
This comes as at the end of a huge mass of changes Joss Whedon has made to this film after taking over from Zack Snyder over six months ago. Among other rumoured changes are the reduction of the role DC villain Darkseid will have in the movie.
So what should we make of these change? Well, we already know that the Justice League is in the hands of an experienced superhero director. Joss Whedon has proven himself with his handling of both the Avengers films for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which were not only huge financial successes but also well received critically. The latter is something that the DC film universe has been lacking, as nearly every movie receives mixed or negative reviews. This includes Snyder’s previous outings, so perhaps Whedon is simply trying to clean up whatever mess Snyder had left him with. Additionally, both Snyder and Whedon are completely different in tone and style, so maybe Whedon is trying to alter the movie to feel more like his own project.
So, will the film be as huge as the Avengers or as big a mess as Suicide Squad? We will just have to wait and see how Justice League turns out when it arrives on November 17.