After two long years of fans campaigning and, at times, complaining about the opportunity of witnessing Zack Snyder’s directorial take on DC’s Justice League, we have finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel. This is a groundbreaking moment for the business of cinema as it is uncommon to see so much footage resurrected from the cutting room floor. There is no doubt that this wonderful anomaly within the history of film making offers so many possibilities for fans of movies and comics, but one opportunity is worthy of an honorable mention. Two of our favorite black superheroes may now be unveiled in a manner which is worthy of their individual legacies. On that note, let us place our focus on two of the theatrical cut’s most underplayed superheroes, The Martian Manhunter and Cyborg!
J’onn J’onzz better known as the Martian Manhunter premiered in Detective Comics # 225 in November of 1955. He is one of the most powerful characters within the DC cannon while often displaying abilities that rival those of even Superman. He is also one of the founding members of the Justice League of America. Being of Martian descent, the Manhunter is actually green, but since the 1960s, the character has been known to take the form of a black man in many of his comic appearances. In the popular Cartoon Network Justice League series, the character was voiced by the African American actor, Phil Morris. J’onn is also portrayed by black actor, David Harewood, on the CW series, Supergirl.
The character’s most notable appearance to date has however been shrouded within mystery. In October of 2019, Zack Snyder surprised fans when he revealed that black actor, Harry Lennix, who has portrayed General Swanwick in both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was the shapeshifting Martian all along. During this time, he also revealed to the delight of many fans that the Martian was due to premiere his alien form in Snyder’s original cut of the Justice League.
Snyder revealed his plans for using the Martian Manhunter through storyboard art posted to his Vero account. In the movie’s planned visuals, Martha Kent and Lois Lane are seen having a conversation. In later frames, Martha Kent is shown to shapeshift, making it clear that the Martian had been posing as her the entire time. Snyder has also revealed that he plans to film more scenes and complete more CGI before the final film is complete. This gives us hope that we will be seeing more of Harry Lennix as our favorite Martian next year in the Snyder Cut.
For many fans of the Titans Comics and the popular Cartoon Network animated Teen Titans series, the news of Cyborg making his cinematic premiere in Justice League was a cause for celebration. Through trailers, cast interviews, and media coverage, we learned that Cyborg’s story was to be the heart of the film. The tremendous anticipation was unfortunately diminished when the theatrical cut premiered without any of Cyborg’s promised origin story or heartfelt story arc.
Victor Stone better known as Cyborg was introduced in DC Comics presents # 26 in October of 1980. After a nearly fatal accident in his father’s research laboratory, Victor’s mutilated form is enhanced with cybernetic parts and capabilities. In a time dominated by internet and technology, Cyborg’s abilities also make him one of DC Comic’s most powerful characters. His origin and story represented an evolution in the portrayal of black characters in comics. Victor was both a genius and an athlete with broadly layered characteristics and heart. His accurate portrayal is one that is beyond necessary to advance the often-stigmatized image of the black man in media.
Ray Fisher was the first actor from the Justice League cast to receive the call from Zack Snyder that the original cut was officially greenlit. As the heart of the original vision who unfortunately had the most story line cut from the film, Cyborg’s fully developed story will engage and empower his fanbase giving him the popularity this character has long deserved since its inception almost 40 years ago.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is scheduled to premiere on Warner Media’s new streaming service, HBO Max, in 2021. How many of you are planning to tune in? Comment below, and as always, keep it Konkret!
J.E. Tyler is a five time published fiction author and poet. He has also served as a contributing author for His Favor Magazine. Tyler's creative muscle has no bounds as he has written several different genres including adult drama, children's literature, romance, comedy and science fiction. For more on Tyler's published work, visit the links below.