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Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice's Disturbing Original Ending We Never Got To See

Hardly five years have passed since Zack Snyder began plotting the broad strokes of the DC Extended Universe with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (BvS). Those years have seen some dramatic ups and downs for the franchise, including the disastrous 2017 release of Justice League and the miraculous 2021 redemption that came with Zack Snyder's Justice League. Warner Bros. has essentially pulled the plug on the DCEU and endured serious criticism for their reported mishandling of Justice League behind the scenes.

Still, many continue to point to BvS for dooming the DCEU, with Snyder taking the criticism for delivering an unnecessarily bleak slice of superhero cinema. Perhaps the most dogged of the BvS and Justice League creatives is Oscar-winning screenwriter Chris Terrio (Argo), whose script many believe set too heavy a tone for comic book fare. In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Terrio has defended his screenplays for both Justice League and BvS, citing studio interference for undermining both films.

He also claims the BvS script he rewrote was even darker than the one he first delivered, citing the original's violent ending as proof. The finale contained a morally questionable Batman (Ben Affleck) continuing the highly questionable behavior we see at the film's opening. This time, he stands alongside one of DCEU's most infamous villains, Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg).

Batman kept on "brand" in the original BvS ending

Batman v Superman opens with the Dark Knight depicted as an almost unrecognizable, cold-hearted vigilante brutally beating minor offenders senseless before branding their flesh with a Bat symbol. Per the Vanity Fair interview, Terrio claims Batman originally ended the film the same way: "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."

Although Terrio acknowledged that Batman's brutality inspired his a new take on the Batman v Superman narrative, he had to convince his Warner Bros. that concluding the film with this behavior would undercut one of its central plot points. "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 behavior, which amounted to torture, because then the movie was endorsing what he did. [...] It's one thing if Batman begins the movie as a dark version of himself whom we don't recognize, but he has to see the error of his ways and remember his better self in the course of the movie."

Luckily, Terrio managed to get his point across to Warner Bros. — though some might argue the BvS ending we got was equally confounding in its own right.