The Joker Scene In Zack Snyder's Justice League Almost Didn't Happen

The much-talked-about Knightmare scene featuring Ben Affleck's Batman and Jared Leto's Joker in Zack Snyder's Justice League almost didn't come together. According to Snyder, Warner Bros. didn't want Snyder to film any new footage for the movie's HBO Max release. Given that this version of the movie bears his name and is meant to be his director's cut, Snyder thought it odd that the studio would try to impose such rules on him and went ahead and filmed the shots he needed anyway. That's how the Batman and Joker scene came to be, though there were some further negotiations.

"The studio didn't want me to shoot anything," Snyder says on an episode of Cinemablend's Reel Blend video show. "One of the rules of making the Snyder cut was that the studio said no shooting of any kind. And then I, of course, shot stuff anyway because suddenly, 'Wait, there's rules now on the Snyder cut? That seems unfair. Snyder cut, but some caveats?' And frankly, there are those caveats because there was a lot of things, and I won't list them here, that the studio did not want me to have in my version of the movie.

"And I think, frankly, that was all just because they have their own cinematic universe and that's great and they were afraid what I did might -- they didn't want it to -- because they consider the theatrical cut as canon and my cut as the Elseworld, kind of cul-de-sac, we know the terms. So they were like, 'Please don't do anything, like no Darkseid coda.' And I was like, 'Sure. Okay. Great. Do it.' And I didn't mean to be subversive or rude, it's just that the thing that fans wanted, the deal I had made with the world was that they were going to get the unencumbered Zack Snyder version of Justice League. I don't think anybody in the same position that I was would feel like -- I wasn't cheating…. They've got a whole bunch of movies. I have one. I'm not getting paid. I'm doing this for free. I don't understand."

Snyder also spoke about how he had an actor cast as the Green Lantern John Stewart and filmed a scene of him speaking to Batman. Ultimately, through negotiations with the Studio, Snyder got his Knightmare scene and agreed to remove the Green Lantern from the film, but replaced him with the Martian Manhunter.

"When the studio saw the movie and they saw that I had done every single thing they had asked me not to do, we had come to a bit of a loggerhead," Snyder recalls. "So in the negotiation, we got this Batman versus Joker scene out of it and then I was like, 'Look, I'm not going to take a person of color out of the movie. Can I at least put Martian Manhunter now at the end of the movie?'"

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