Zack Snyder's Justice League brought one of the founding members of the Justice League, the Martian Manhunter, into the DC Extended Universe. It turned out that General Calvin Swanwick, played by Harry Lennix, had been the last living Martian in disguise, via his shapeshifting powers, all along. But a new report from The Wrap suggests that may not have been the plan all along after all. Director Zack Snyder has said that it was always his plan for Swanwick to reveal himself as Martian Manhunter. Snyder has shown off storyboards featuring the Manhunter, a.k.a. J'onn J'onzz, and stated that he didn't have time to shoot Lennix's portions of Justice League before exiting the film's production. Zack Snyder's Justice League allowed him to restore his original intent for the character.
The Wrap's report raises some questions about this account. Phil Owen and Umberto Gonzalez wrote the piece and state that "multiple individuals with knowledge of the original production" dispute what Snyder has said. They say that Martian Manhunter was never part of the film's plans "in the script phase or otherwise." They believe that Snyder came up with Martian Manhunter's role sometime after leaving the original production.
Snyder's first hint at Manhunter's role in the movie came during the "Release the Snyder Cut" campaign. A fan left him a comment on Twitter explaining the fan theory that Swanwick was secretly J'onn J'onzz. Snyder replied by saying, "We love that idea." Could it be that Snyder added Martian Manhunter's relatively minor role in the movie as a way of bringing a fan theory to life?
That's not the only possible explanation. Snyder has expressed that he struggled to get much of his vision approved by Warner Bros. He could have been holding back his ideas for Martian Manhunter until such a time as he felt Warner Bros would be more receptive to bringing the character into the film.
However, we know from Snyder that he wrote one of Martian Manhunter's scenes with another character in mind. In a recent interview, Snyder stated that he wrote the final conversation between Bruce Wayne and J'onn with John Stewart, a member of the Green Lantern Corps, in J'onn's position. It was only during negotiations with Warner Bros. over new footage for the Snyder Cut that Snyder decided to insert J'onn into the scene, as the studio did not want to use a Green Lantern. Snyder stated that about 75% of the dialogue remained unchanged.
"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 said. "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?'"
What do you think of Martian Manhunter's role in Zack Snyder's Justice League? Let us know in the comments section. Zack Snyder's Justice League is now streaming on HBO Max.