The ‘Justice League’ That Might Have Been: We’ve Seen the Script (Exclusive)

No Aquaman, Batman and Wonder Woman's child, and Superman enslaved by Darkseid -- here's the early "Justice League" script that never made it to the screen

“Justice League” could have turned out very differently: In a 2011 draft of the film obtained by TheWrap, Batman and Wonder Woman have a son, Aquaman is nowhere in sight, Darkseid enslaves Superman, and Hawkman and Green Lantern team up in space.

The script, by “Gangster Squad” screenwriter Will Beall, nails the art of fan service. After a quick introduction on Darkseid’s hellish planet, Apokolips, we’re plunged into a stunning set piece between Batman, Superman, KGBeast, Killer Croc and Lex Luthor that includes a shark tank shattering on the upper floors of Lexcorp Tower in Metropolis. And it just gets more packed with heroes and villains from there.

Many fans have expressed disappointed in the version of “Justice League” that Joss Whedon had to rush into theaters last month after original director Zack Snyder had to bow out amidst family tragedy. (Here is the inside account of how it happened.)

Beall’s draft predated the current DC cinematic universe, which began with 2013’s “Man of Steel.” In fact, Beall wrote it a year before Christopher Nolan completed his Batman trilogy with “The Dark Knight Rises,” and before Disney’s Marvel released “The Avengers.” Its many Easter eggs, and world-spanning scope, feel in line with both “The Avengers” and Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Here are a few highlights from the script:

Warners has been accused of reacting to Marvel in the past, but had Beall’s script gone forward, Darkseid would have made his theatrical debut before Marvel’s somewhat similar Thanos, the villain of next year’s “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Beall’s script earned him a two-picture deal, and Variety reported that Ben Affleck considered directing it even before he signed on to play Batman for Zack Snyder.

In 2013, Bad Ass Digest cited sources who called the script “terrible,” an assessment with which we disagree. Nevertheless, Warner Bros. preferred Zack and Deborah Snyder’s version of the DC Universe, which led to the Justice League we have today.