Chris Terrio Breaks His Silence on “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”

Screenwriter Chris Terrio has spoken to Vanity Fair about his feelings over the changes made to his script for “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and how much he dislikes the title.

“I wrote drafts of the Batman/Superman movie, which wasn’t called Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice by me,” Terrio explained. “I did not name the script. In fact, I found out what the movie was called along with the rest of the world on the internet. I was not consulted on the title of the film, and I was as surprised as anyone. I would not have named it Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

“I don’t know exactly who named it, but I suspect it was the studio and I suspect it was marketing, to be honest with you,” said Terrio. “It might have been the first step toward creating ill will for the film. I suspect that putting the words “Batman” and “Superman” into the title had some marketing component to it.”

Even though movie studios are known to name films, Terrio says the name felt more like a Wrestling promotion.

“I heard it and I thought, it just sounds self-important and clueless in a way. Tone-deaf,” Terrio said. “The intention of the film was to do something interesting and dark and complex, not quite as Las Vegas, bust ’em up, WWE match as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

You can read the full interview, including Terrio’s thoughts on “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” at VanityFair.com.

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afriend
April 8, 2021 6:44 pm

I find BvS a mixed bag, but I wouldn’t call the title its worst fault…

LarGand
April 9, 2021 7:56 am
Reply to  afriend

I’d recommend reading the entire article. The title of ‘BvS’ is one of the more trivial things he talks about. Not sure why Steve only picked that out for the summary here, when he could’ve quoted Terrio calling the theatrical cut of ‘Justice League’ “an act of vandalism”, for instance …

afriend
April 9, 2021 11:01 am
Reply to  LarGand

First, I was being tongue in cheek. Second, having read the article, well… You know what they say about opinions and holes that start with A. In no particular order: -As broad part of filmmaking, unless it’s some self-produced passion project, or some bigly-huge name is doing it, very few films turn out exactly how the writer/director/producer envisioned. It’s part of the collaborative process. If Ben Affleck had insisted the only way to do Batman justice was a Quebecois accent, even if everything else was the same, it would have drastically changed the film. -Call me cynical, but yeah, the… Read more »

NeoRanger
April 9, 2021 2:14 pm
Reply to  afriend

“-For comparison’s sake (and because I’m paying for HBOMax anyway, seriously, they got me!!) I rewatched the theatrical version of Justice League, and seeing them “side by side”; if the Whedon version cut too much, it’s equally fair to say that the Snyder version didn’t cut enough. Is trimming any fat “vandalism” in his eyes?” They didn’t just trim fat, they reframed the entire movie, drastically altered the dialogue, edited scenes so quickly they mucked up the pacing, cut out entire story arcs and themes, replaced character scenes with worse character scenes, maxed out saturation to the point the film… Read more »

afriend
April 10, 2021 10:29 am
Reply to  NeoRanger

-“They didn’t just trim fat, they reframed the entire movie…” I presume by “they”, you mean the people behind the theatrical version. I agree, see where I say they “cut too much”. However, my point was, is, and likely always shall be that the Snyder Cut goes too far in the opposite direction. We can argue aesthetic choices (over saturation vs desaturation of color, and I DO like the revamped Steppenwolf), but if the pacing of the theatrical version is “mucked up” by being edited down, it’s downright plodding in the Snyder Cut. There’s letting the film have a moment… Read more »

NeoRanger
April 13, 2021 3:58 am
Reply to  afriend

“We can argue aesthetic choices (over saturation vs desaturation of color, and I DO like the revamped Steppenwolf), but if the pacing of the theatrical version is “mucked up” by being edited down, it’s downright plodding in the Snyder Cut. There’s letting the film have a moment to breath, and then there’s making me want to check my twitter because I know I’m not going to miss anything.” Ah, is though? You wanted to check your Twitter, I didn’t even realize how those four hours passed. On the other hand, I’ve seen 90 minute movies that my phone didn’t leave… Read more »

victor4782
April 8, 2021 9:00 pm

I would have simply called it Dawn of Justice or better World’s Finest.

NeoRanger
April 9, 2021 3:48 am

The interview confirms some suspicions I already had. Good of Terrio to speak up for himself finally, he got a LOT of crap after BvS and Justice League (the 2017 release) and it never felt deserved to me. This guy went from “academy award winner” to “pariah” over the course of a single film and it never felt deserved to me, considering what he was working with.

redcape
April 9, 2021 1:28 pm

I for one never thought BvS deserved the pounding it got. Yes….the story was not as expected but I thought it was made well. Still think Batman was represented as the best version yet ! A sequel to MoS might have set things up better.

RikkiRoxx
April 10, 2021 12:30 am

Before I begin, I feel it bears mentioning that the Ultimate Edition of BvS is legit one of my favorite movies of all time. I get why it’s a mixed bag for some, and we can have that conversation, but I always feel like I have to get that out of the way before I talk about anything having to do with the film. Anyways. What’s been killing me for years since the movie came out has been how much Zack Snyder – and Chris Terrio, to a lesser degree – have taken 100% of the heat for a lot… Read more »

redcape
April 10, 2021 1:12 pm
Reply to  RikkiRoxx

Yea,…you’re right. They could have turned out worse. Especially if they went after similar story line(s) the likes of what Joel Schumaker did with Batman. SR appeared to be too “retro”, so they hired ZS to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. I thought he did that well. A lot of people, including myself at first, still stuck in the Reeve era, had a mind set that insisted on character comparisons that polluted the exact atmosphere that Zack was hired to over come. That’s why I thought a sequel to MoS would have been a far better choice before… Read more »

afriend
April 10, 2021 2:35 pm
Reply to  redcape

On a lot of points, I agree with you. But stylistically, Superman Returns was only “retro” on the surface. Our friend Superman2878 will defend Routh’s performance (and I’ve come around), but the film still missed the mark. I wish I could find it (I’m pretty sure I didn’t imagine it), but Richard Donner once said that as Superman has become such an icon, for any film of the character to really succeed, it “has to feel like we’re being reintroduced to an old friend”. And frankly, that’s where both Superman Returns and the Snyder helmed films have fallen short. That… Read more »

Superman2878
April 11, 2021 10:54 pm
Reply to  afriend

Speaking of Brandon’s Superman, how about a Routh Superman movie trilogy or HBOmax series? I’d even be happy with him in the role for the annual CW crossovers every year. 🙂

MOS
MOS
April 10, 2021 10:52 pm

I loved this movie!!

sundevil82
April 11, 2021 2:29 pm

So was the draft that they submitted initially just Goyers work? Because he was always the real liability in my opinion and I don’t know how he’s gone through all of this relatively unscathed. I would have loved to see what a Batman/superman movie would have looked like if Terrio started from scratch instead of having to conform to what was already written and executive mandates. I don’t blame anyone but the execs and Goyer for the shortcomings of the universe thus far. I don’t understand how after MOS was received (as being controversial) that they doubled down and wanted… Read more »

Last edited 2 days ago by sundevil82
NeoRanger
April 13, 2021 4:16 am
Reply to  sundevil82

The whole saga is fascinating to me. The way Terrio describes the opening Africa scene makes me wonder exactly what the original draft was like. The way I understand it is that it would only serve as an opening action/rescue sequence for Superman, with no consequences. Perhaps the Lex implications were still there, but not the bigger questions that arise from Superman’s actions. The reason I find it interesting is that I think it would have actually played better to a wider audience. Most general audiences don’t care much for uncomfortable implications (unless they’re in their faces), they just consume… Read more »

Kal-Ed
April 12, 2021 7:43 am

This whole shenanigan reminds me when David Fincher’s Alien 3 had to be drastically altered according to the studio’s wishes which lead him to disavow the film as a whole. And Tony Kaye’s American History X was mostly directed and altered by Edward Norton, he wished also that his name be taken out of the credits and replaced with Humpty Dumpty. If I had been in Chris Terrio’s shoes, I would have unapologetically and relentlessly bashed WB for their incompetent handling of their potential tent pole franchise. I also agree for the kinda OK BvS title. It did sound like… Read more »

RikkiRoxx
April 12, 2021 9:20 pm
Reply to  Kal-Ed

I gotta be honest… I sincerely don’t understand where the whole “Snyder isn’t a good storyteller” sentiment comes from. I hear it a lot, but I simply don’t agree with or understand it, personally. I mean, obviously his strength is in Visuals, but he’s terrific at using said Visuals in order to help tell the story. Like no, none of his movies have tons of exposition where characters stand around explaining to the audience what they’ve already seen, or how they’re “supposed” to feel/react… but the cinematography, framing, musical score, and the actors’ body language and facials do all of… Read more »

Kal-Ed
April 13, 2021 2:53 am
Reply to  RikkiRoxx

Hehehee your two cents on the matter is truly appreciated and well placed. However when I mentioned that storytelling isn’t his strongest Fort, I didn’t mean he is a bad storyteller and doesn’t know how to craft a story. He has his collaborators who help him out so it takes a load off his back to help him translate the stories he has in mind onto the screen. He is no Kubrick, Hitchcock, Demille or Welles by all means but he is a master sof his craft. And like you I simply don’t understand the bash he gets from his… Read more »

NeoRanger
April 13, 2021 3:30 am
Reply to  RikkiRoxx

Hot take here, but I believe that there are too many people that view films as visual novels and tend to focus too much on dialogue and exposition. I used to be this way as well when I was younger. I think, especially for people in my generation, it’s a significant problem, because we were raised on television and television (especially before the ’00s) was fairly limited in time and budget and couldn’t afford to heavily utilize the visual aspect of film-making. Whedon is, fittingly, a pretty big culprit here; I love Buffy and I love Angel and they’re well-shot… Read more »

RikkiRoxx
April 13, 2021 7:15 pm
Reply to  NeoRanger

Some good posts here. I probably should have prefaced mine by saying that I didn’t think that you specifically, Kal-Ed, were saying that Zack was a “bad storyteller”, but that is indeed an opinion I’ve seen repeated loudly and often. And I very much agree with NeoRanger’s assessment that for many people, people mix up “storytelling” with “exposition”. And I do think that’s one thing that people who don’t like Snyder’s movies use as ammo. I’ve heard so much spoken, many times. For example, I’ve had people express to me their sincere desire for that scene at the Capitol building… Read more »

redcape
April 12, 2021 12:53 pm

Right around the time BvS was coming out, I remember reading an interview with Henry. He said that BvS was less of a Superman sequel and more so the introduction of Batman. Although BvS was well made, I wasn’t exactly in a party frame of mind leaving the theater. And that was ONLY because of what happened to Superman. I thought some of the pounding the movie got was consistent with the negative Snyder crowd. I suppose one can go through every movie, pick out a few scenes and make a big deal over them. They certainly did with BvS.

sundevil82
April 12, 2021 2:24 pm
Reply to  redcape

I think if he released the 3 hour cut, it would have been better received. Not sure if you read Terrio’s takedown of Wb, but he brings up an excellent point that of course it will be hard to follow and not make sense if important parts are cut out.

For me, I would still have the same problems with it that I did before, but i would have been more satisfied with the ultimate cut.