Zack Snyder and Weta visual effects supervisors Kevin Smith and Anders Langlands are featured in a new episode of The Hollywood Reporter‘s Behind the Screen, during which they discuss the making of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, including a detailed look at the VFX, shooting the newly-lensed closing scene and working amid the pandemic.
Snyder says only a small number of the VFX shots from the 2017 Justice League were used in his new cut, meaning that nearly 2,700 VFX shots were completed on a tight schedule for the new four-hour release, available on HBO Max. “In theory, we kept [the look] consistent because we remade all of the shots,” Snyder admits. “I think there’s a few [from 2017] that made it through.”
Peter Jackson-owned Weta–the New Zealand VFX house behind The Lord of the Rings–was one of the key VFX houses that worked on the Snyder Cut. Other VFX vendors included DNEG and Scanline.
In this episode of Behind the Screen, Snyder, Smith and Landlands detail the new designs for Steppenwolf and Darkseid, as well as bringing them to the screen. (Snyder also shares his favorite scenes with Steppenwolf.)
Darkseid was conceived for the original theatrical version but never appeared in the finished movie. “We didn’t have a lot of time to build him from scratch, so it was a case of bringing him back to life and just polishing him off,” Smith relates, adding that they effectively animated two versions of the villain. “[In the flashbacks] we played him more animalistic and younger, more aggressive.” Smith describes Darkseid in the final scenes as more regal, reserved and imperious.
Snyder also discusses getting the team back together to shoot the new sequence. “When Ben [Affleck] returned to do the reshoots, he was probably in the best shape I’ve had him in … I was like, ‘What are we doing? Good Will Hunting?'”