Batman v Superman writer Chris Terrio reveals Batman branded Lex Luthor in original script

screenmixApril 9, 2021

Chris Terrio, who won an Oscar for his script of Argo, has revealed that before he came to work on Batman v Superman, he had to remove an important element regarding the development of Ben Affleck’s Batman in the movie.

The film, directed by Zack Snyder, was criticised for overly dark takes on the two titular DC superheroes, and Terrio reveals the blame largely lies with Warner Bros, the studio. Controversial aspects included Batman not hesitating to kill, and branding criminals with the bat symbol, ensuring they will always be pariahs, even if they reformed themselves.

Terrio made a series of bombshell revelations in a Vanity Fair profile, saying, among other things, the original script of the movie had Batman branding Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) and the film even ended that way, showing no character development of the superhero.

He said, “The studio seemed to take this position after BvS that my writing was too dark and that this was their problem. But what they didn’t mention was that, for example, in the draft of the Batman/Superman script that W.B. had developed—[which was] the draft I was handed when I joined the project—Batman was not only branding criminals with a bat brand, he also ended the movie by branding Lex Luthor. ”

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Terrio added, “That ending was a point over which I explicitly went to the mat with the studio again and again. I argued that Batman cannot end the movie continuing this behaviour, which amounted to torture, because then the movie was endorsing what he did.”

Batman v Superman opened to poor reviews and was a commercial disappointment despite grossing more than 850 million dollars. Its extended edition, which included footage that was cut from the original movie, was received better.

Terrio went on to work with Zack Snyder on Justice League as well. He explains his decision to write the movie by saying, “I wanted the chance to write these characters with love and hope after getting through the darkness of Batman v Superman. The end of my version of Batman v Superman includes Bruce seeing the error of his ways and promising to change. It’s the return of conscience after an ethical nightmare. And in Justice League, Bruce does do better.”

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Many Justice League scenes that Terrio wrote were rewritten and reshot by Whedon, who assumed the director’s duties in the wake of Snyder’s departure due to a family tragedy. An original, four-hour long cut of the movie, with screenwriting credits solely to Terrio, was released earlier this year on HBO Max in the US and BookMyShow Stream and other platforms in India, and was received better.