Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice director Zack Snyder and writer Chris Terrio reveal alternate titles for the Justice League precursor pitting the Dark Knight (Ben Affleck) against the Man of Steel (Henry Cavill), including titles that make no mention of "Batman" or "Superman." Terrio, who also scripted Zack Snyder's Justice League, disowned the Batman v Superman title when he told Vanity Fair that the studio-picked and marketing-driven name sounded "tone-deaf" and like a "Las Vegas, bust 'em up, WWE match." The superhero bout between Batman and Superman also introduces Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and future founding League members Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Flash (Ezra Miller), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher), who wouldn't unite until Justice League.
"I remember when there was a back-and-forth that I had with the studio, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was like the only title that [Warner Bros. liked]," Snyder said during the Justice Con virtual convention. "The whole 'v' instead of 'versus,' it was like this crazy negotiation ... I was like, 'Guys, can't we just do something like Son of Sun and Knight of Night, or something that's a little bit more poetic?' And they were like, 'Absolutely not' (laughs). I was like, 'Is it a court case?'"
A list of potential titles registered by the studio as online domain names included "Man of Steel: Battle the Knight," "Man of Steel: Black of Knight," and "Man of Steel: Knight Falls."
"I would have loved something really simple, like 'Batman and Superman.' Or something in the vein of Man of Steel that feels more like it's a progression from Man of Steel," Terrio said about Snyder's 2013 film that launched the DC Extended Universe. "For a while, we talked about actually titling it 'Justice League: [Subtitle],' to suggest that this movie was going to be the beginning of the Justice League, even though it didn't really look like it. Like 'Justice League: Foundations,' or 'Justice League: Rising.' I'm just extemporaneously trying to think of titles that we batted back-and-forth."
Snyder added the studio was "still sketchy" about Snyder and Terrio teaming on Justice League, its superhero ensemble launching characters like Aquaman and Flash into their spin-off standalone films. The filmmaker previously revealed feelings that the studio had "this hatred" for Batman v Superman and wanted Snyder to "divorce" Justice League from the middle chapter of his trilogy, itself part of a five-movie plan.
"People always ask me about BVS and I always go, 'Listen. The truth is, we kind of stole that movie from the studio in some ways.' It wasn't 100% the movie the studio they wanted to make," Snyder said. "If you look at sort of this arc of deconstruction, and construction, and deconstruction, and construction, that was kind of this rhythm that we were on. And certainly, BVS is a take-it-apart movie, and Justice League is a put-it-back-together movie."
Snyder added: "So for me, in retrospect, I do agree with Chris, I wish that we had fought them harder. But I felt like I was sneaking one by them with BVS, that I feel like when they said, 'Okay, but we just want to call it Batman v Superman.' I go, 'The movie that we're talking about making? Oh, okay, in that case, that's fine' (laughs). As long as it's not, 'We don't like the title and the movie.'"