Regardless of how audiences felt about the final product, one well-known fact about Justice League is that director Zack Snyder left the film before production was complete, resulting in the filmmaker distancing himself from the theatrically-released film. Earlier this year, the director inquired about the plot's inclusion of a Russian family that was in harm's way, leading many fans to wonder if he was merely being facetious. One of the film's storyboard artists, Jay Oliva, confirmed that these characters weren't present in the original script.
During a lengthy discussion between fans about the characters, Oliva interjected, "Russian family was never in the original script. In fact they made it an abandoned town because of the backlash from [Man of Steel]. So a Russian family doesn't make sense when it was supposed to be abandoned from the start."
In the finished film, a Russian family lives near the area where Steppenwolf is collecting the mother boxes to unleash his catastrophic plan. In addition to fighting the villain, the members of the Justice League must also make sure these potential victims make it to safety.
The backlash Oliva mentions from Man of Steel is the immense collateral damage caused by Superman battling Zod and the presumed number of innocent victims.
"Zack meticulously storyboards out every shot in all of his films. It's all planned out," Oliva replied when asked if Snyder potentially conjured the family later in the film's development. "If he intended for a family to be in there he would have integrated them a lot deeper into the overall character arcs and plot. To me, it felt like it was an exec note after the fact."
Snyder left the production due to a family tragedy, leaving Joss Whedon to step in and bring the film to its completion. Rather than merely shooting the scenes that were originally planned, Oliva's comments imply Whedon added a lot to the finished product, either on his own accord or as a response to pressure from the studio.
Oliva added, "Or it could be that's Whedon's idea of addressing an exec note. But I highly doubt it was Zack's plan all along. When he finishes principle photography he's pretty much done. There might be a few pickups but if he did the film 100%, those would be minimal."
These discrepancies have caused some fans to call for a "Snyder Cut" of the film, which sticks more closely with the filmmaker's intended vision. Multiple sources have regularly confirmed that this cut is nonexistent, due to how early Snyder left the project, though the finished film disappointed both devout and casual fans alike, explaining the desires for all viewers to hope for a more successful version of that film.
Justice League is out now on home video.
What do you think about the Russian family? Let us know in the comments below!
[H/T Twitter, jayoliva1]