The theatrical version of Justice League was a mess. Director Joss Whedon snipped vital parts of the story to meet a horrible two-hour mandate. The chopped-up version ruined its cast, including the main villain Steppenwolf. When it came to Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel thankfully took the complete opposite direction, giving fans what could essentially be described as a Thanos origin movie.
However, that initial reaction to Justice League's theatrical release has not been forgotten. Not only did it result in fans clamouring for the real Snyder Cut to release, but it also affected Thanos creator Jim Starlin. With an adaptation of his most iconic story on the way from Marvel, could his story end up as bad as Justice League?
Thanos creator Jim Starlin on Justice League
In an interview with ComicBook, Starlin revealed that watching Justice League made him terrified of Avengers: Infinity War. After a meeting that explained an entire half-hour of Thanos backstory was cut from the movie, Starlin thought the movie would end up just like the DC film. He said:
“I had been down to the set for the cameo shoot... [I] talked with the two screen writers, Markus and McFeely and quite a bit with Joe Russo. In the Infinity War, they had had a half hour that they had to cut which was going to be Thanos's back story. There was going to be a half hour without the Avengers, apparently. So, I thought, ‘That's pretty cool.’"
“Then I was on a plane and I watched the Justice League movie, and they just sort of threw Steppenwolf in there at the end, and he does his thing. All in all, it was kind of a bad movie. So about a month or so before the Infinity War came out Russo said... Let me know that they had to cut the half hour of Thanos. All I could think of was, "Oh my god, that's going to make it into the Justice League movie."
Practicing pretending to love Infinity War
After watching Justice League, Starlin prepared himself to hate Infinity War. After seeing how Steppenwolf was treated, the writer was ready to see the same happen to Thanos. In fact, the situation reminded him of the Batman adaptations of the 60s.
“At the time, it was the best Batman that had been out there... it was the only Batman. It was very campy. It was the antithesis of what Bob had created. But he was getting a piece of it, with his residualswith all the Batman stuff. He had made a pretty good deal that others hadn't, so I imagined him having to go on interviews and saying, ‘I love it.’ I thought, ‘I'm going to be in the same damn position. I'm going to have to go the interviews and go, ‘Oh yeah, I love it. It's great. That's terrific.’ Then the heart going, ‘Oh, it's a piece of sh-t!’”
As it turns out, Starlin ended up loving Infinity War for real. After the film's shocking introduction, the Thanos creator was certain his characters were being treated right. Then again, you can't really get worse than Whedon's treatment of Justice League's villains. (Especially after watching the recently released Snyder Cut.) The writer continued:
“I'm in line for the premiere and going in there and practicing, "I love it. I love it. I love it." Three minutes into the movie, even before the Hulk shows up, I'm going, "Hey, I'm not going to have any trouble with this at all. This is going to be one that I'm going to easily say, 'I love it,' and mean it." It has held true. I have been the luckiest cartoonist out there. Three, four times up to bat, if you include the Infinity Gauntlet, and they've hit it out of the park with my characters every time.”
Everything is better now
Nowadays, fans have both a fantastic adaptation of Thanos in the MCU and a good Justice League with the Snyder Cut. It was touch-and-go for a while, but fans of DC and Marvel alike both have fantastic films to enjoy.