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Through the long and winding road that saw Zack Snyder’s Justice League become a reality, several aspects of the original vision had to be resurrected from where they lay dead and buried. Among the most integral pieces that was revived in the process of completing the HBO Max title was Ezra Miller’s Flash and a lot of the backstory he carried with him. But one especially important thing that found its way back into the finished product was The Flash’s big part to play in the Russian finale.
if you liked the look of the new and improved finale, you can thank Zack Snyder for lighting a fire underneath his VFX team, thanks to what’s been dubbed as the “Hallelujah” trailer that kicked off the last leg in Zack Snyder’s Justice League’s road to existence. I learned this firsthand as I spoke with the film’s VFX supervisor, Bryan Hirota, a member of Scanline VFX. While that first trailer was a blessing for the fans, it cause a slight bit of concern for the team at Scanline, as Hirota revealed in the following story:
[Zack] did us a favor, or did us ‘not a favor,’ by including three of those shots in the ‘Hallelujah’ trailer. So from when we got the go ahead to go, I don’t remember when he let us know that he was gonna release this trailer with these shots. But at some point in time, early on in the production, it’s like ‘Oh, by the way, these three shots are in this trailer that I want to release.’ So it really forced us to accelerate our look development on it. By the time that trailer came out … it was much sooner than would be ideal under normal circumstances. But because that existed, by the time that ‘Hallelujah’ trailer came out, we had a look that DJ liked and Zack really liked, and that gave us a blueprint for doing the rest of that little bit of the sequence around that. It sort of anchored us in these shots that were in that trailer.
When work began on realizing the Snyder Cut out of what was once merely known as Justice League, not a lot of work was done on The Flash’s full role in the film. While it was Zack Snyder and his Justice League crew were always concerned about archiving everything so it could easily be picked up again, no one really knew when that was going to happen. In fact, some thought it’d be a decade or so before the subject would even be revived.
It only took a few years of fans demanding that Warner Bros “release the Snyder Cut” before Zack Snyder’s Justice League was officially greenlit, which gave the Scanline VFX team a seven-month window to get their job done. Among revising the Russian finale, as well as creating Harry Lennix’s Martian Manhunter scenes from whole cloth, completing Barry Allen’s heroic arc was a huge priority.
Luckily, another moment of accelerated Justice League crunch time led to one of the many advantages that Bryan Hirota and the folks at Scanline VFX used to bring The Flash to life in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. With the iconic Speed Force being put into even greater use in the Snyder Cut, the dynamics of that legendary DC Comics plot device needed some extra fleshing out. This wasn’t that much of a problem thanks to The Flash’s special Suicide Squad cameo spurning Hirota and his team to develop something at a much earlier phase:
All that Speed Force stuff was stuff we developed during Justice League. But again, that got an accelerated kick start when we were shooting Justice League, because they had decided they wanted to put the Ezra Miller cameo in Suicide Squad. So while we were shooting Justice League, they shot Ezra off to the side, the ‘no honor amongst thieves’ thing in capturing Boomerang. That also had a short development schedule, because again this was years ago, so I don’t remember the time frame 100%, but I’m relatively, reasonably accurate. That idea came in close-ish to the end of that movie’s production, so once again we didn’t have a huge amount of time to dev out the idea that you would normally want when you’re just sort of doing it on a movie. Because we had planned to do these things, but suddenly like, ‘Hey, there’s six weeks, and this schedule ends. We want this Flash thing for it.’ We had to accelerate all of our look development. So we got some of the really talented look dev guys at Scanline sort of isolated on that. We had the benefit of having something way back then, that we developed further throughout Justice League, and then got to revisit it again when we got to do Justice League for Zack. It’s a long time to sit with these ideas, and explore stuff, and push stuff around. And every time we kind of looked into it, we’d try to, if we could, find new things to put into it, or push some of the ideas here or there.
Through two very big and very quick asks on the production of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the look of Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen was perfected. While Scanline VFX’s wizards congratulated each other and swore to never do it again, who knows what the future will hold for Bryan Hirota and his colleagues?