Zack Snyder has revealed that another classic member of the Justice League is part of the film universe, although at this point we may never see Snyder’s plans come to fruition. The director of ‘Man of Steel’, ‘Batman V Superman’, and ‘Justice League’ reveals that J’Onn J’Onzz, the Martian Manhunter, has appeared in the films, although he was in disguise. The character General Calvin Swanwick, who appeared in ‘Man of Steel’, played by Harry Lennix was meant to be revealed to be J’Onn J’Onzz in ‘Justice League’.
Snyder shared storyboards on the social media network Vero (luckily supporters of “The Snyder Cut” shared them on Twitter, because I’m old and have no idea what Vero is). Snyder even revealed that he’d filmed the scene except for Lennix’s part, which he had planned to shoot in Los Angeles.
Zack Snyder shared these storyboards today. One of long suspected rumors has turned out to be true. General Swanwick from Man of Steel is confirmed to be The Martian Manhunter J’onn Jonzz! pic.twitter.com/h5Cpkv8diX
— ReleaseTheSnyderCut (@RTSnyderCut) October 5, 2019
Swanwick was a minor character in ‘Man of Steel’, but Warner Bros. tapped Lennix to appear onstage at San Diego Comic-Con 2013 to announce ‘Batman V Superman’, which would seem to indicate that he was an important player.
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I’m going to assume that Snyder planned to film Lennix’s parts during reshoots, but as we now know, Snyder was fired from ‘Justice League’ after principle photography and the reshoots were helmed by Joss Whedon, and he apparently didn’t get the memo. (Or didn’t care.)
The Martian Manhunter was one of the founders of the Justice League of America, but when DC relaunched its comics in 2011, during the “New 52” phase, he was replaced in the new Justice League’s origin by Cyborg, a move that was met with contempt from purists. Many felt the same way when Cyborg, played by Ray Fisher, was used to help found the cinematic version of the super team.
To be honest, it’s doubtful that a J’Onn J’Onzz cameo would have changed anyone’s opinion, as ‘Justice League’ was largely ignored or panned.
David Ogden Stiers portrayed the Martian Manhunter in the mid-90s ‘Justice League’ pilot that was never released, but has been widely bootlegged. Hugh Keays-Byrne was cast to play the character in George Miller’s ‘Justice League: Mortal’, which was scrapped just before filming was due to begin.
The first live-action J’Onn to actually see the light of day was Phil Morris’ depiction on ‘Smallville’. David Harewood currently plays the character on ‘Supergirl’, although that version uses the alias Hank Henshaw, who is a completely different character in the comics.
Would you have liked ‘Justice League’ more of the Martian Manhunter had been in it?