It's been five years since Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was released and even though the film was met with a critical lashing upon release, fans still talk about it with frequency. As development on the Man of Steel follow-up continued way back in 2013, Oscar winning screenwriter Chris Terrio was brought in to work on the script. He would continue to collaborate with director Zack Snyder on Justice League as well, and even through the backlash to both theatrical versions of those movies and the departure of Snyder from the 2017 film Terrio has stayed silent about it all, until now.
Speaking with Vanity Fair and a very candid interview about his time working with Warner Bros. on the movie, Terrio opened up about a lot of different aspects of work on the 2016 feature film. When asked how he felt about Batman v Superman after it was first released, with Terrio noting his pride in the script that he turned in but criticizing Warner Bros. demand for a shorter theatrical cut of the film.
"I was proud of the script when I completed it, but it turns out that when you remove the 30 minutes that give the characters motivation for the climax, the film just doesn’t work," Terrio said. "As we learned from the two versions of Justice League, you can’t skip on the character and think the audience will give a shit about the VFX. That stuff was later restored in the extended version."
Referencing the "Ultimate Edition," he continued: "So this house of cards that had been built in order to motivate this clash between America’s two favorite heroes made no sense at all. That was what happened with Batman/Superman. The movie was always was going to be dark. There were always going to be people who just didn’t want to see that version of a comic book world, and I get that. But what hurt was the criticism that the script was not coherent, because when I turned in the script to the studio—which they, by all accounts, were happy with—it made sense."
Terrio went on to say that the cuts made to the theatrical version, along with the title itself which he says wasn't written by him, were probably what lead to audiences not falling in love with the movie right away.
"The audience has to know that they’re in good hands," he added. "The minute that you lose them from a story point of view, they lose the desire to look at it generously."
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Ultimate Edition and Zack Snyder's Justice League are both now streaming on HBO Max.