Why Did “Justice League” Change That Line?

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“It’s good to see you playing well with others again,” Commissioner Gordon (J.K. Simmons) said, as he met Batman and the rest of the newly-formed Justice League on a Gotham rooftop.

At least, according to the trailers. In the theatrical cut of the DC Extended Universe’s Justice League, however, the “again” in his line is cut. And fans want to know why.

It’s a minor thing, but that’s part of why it is so confusing. Why cut only one word? We do know that the movie made large cuts in order to fit into a two-hour runtime mandated by Warner Bros., but that “again” only takes away one second, if that; it would not be suspicious if the whole line (funny and character-building, but unnecessary) or the whole scene got removed. So what’s the story?

The line obviously alludes to the various Robins, plus their older incarnations, the Batgirls, and so on. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad have established that Batman used to have a Robin (whom the creators confirm to be Jason Todd) who died, which is strongly implied to have launched Batman into the anger and cynicism that characterize him throughout the former film.

Is the changed line trying to retcon this history, perhaps to set up Batman getting his first sidekick(s) in a future film? The DCEU has been willing to retcon things before, such as Wonder Woman walking away from helping mankind (an idea which Wonder Woman more or less ignores) or Superman’s personality (Justice League insists that he has ALWAYS been this cheery, honest). But then, the franchise is supposedly planning Batgirl and Nightwing movies, and current rumor says that the latter may be getting fast-tracked; trying to retcon these characters away would essentially orphan these properties.

Was somebody worried that the line was confusing? The Bat Family is not explained in the film…but does anyone really need it? Aside from establishing Robin already, Batman’s sidekicks are already familiar to most people.

Who was responsible for this change? The trailer was made by Zack Snyder; Joss Whedon took over directing, but probably did not have control of the final cut, and he is supposed to direct that Batgirl film. Perhaps an ADR department did it by mistake. For now, it’s a mystery.

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