Zack Snyder’s Justice League reconstructs most of the great set pieces the director had previously envisioned for his four-hour superhero epic in 2017 – but there are a few new additions as well. And the inclusion of Martian Manhunter in two key sequences could be the most labor-intensive cameo ever dedicated to film.
In the comics, Martian Manhunter, known to the hunted men as J’onn J’onzz, is a telepath, shapeshifter, and the last survivor of an alien apocalypse. While J’onn never integrates into human culture like Superman does, he is often on earth playing with humans in disguise or with superman as he battles galaxy-threatening evildoers.
Fans of the Justice League Animated series and the CWs Super girl know him as a powerful team member and ally. People who just kept up with the movies would … have no point of reference. When Martha Lois three-quarters out of Lane’s apartment Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Zack Snyder didn’t intend for the Martian Manhunter to appear in the film – according to the director, he was hoping to include him a cameo from a green lantern, specifically John Stewart, but Warner Bros. ‘plans to use the character in a separate film, put the Kibosh on fan service. So Snyder came up with the idea of using Martian Manhunter and casting Harry Lennix, who played Defense Secretary Calvin Swanwick man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice in the role. With a few short scenes in Zack Snyder’s Justice LeagueA character that fans thought they knew had become something completely different from two previous films.
The VFX outfit Scanline brought the character to life on a very tight schedule. Work on Martian Manhunter only began in autumn 2020. Scanline made over 1,000 recordings in 22 sequences of the film, from the redesign of Steppenwolf to tunnel, park and underwater battle sequences. In addition to reworking many of their original assets from the 2017 theatrical version, the company also had to adjust each completed effect to Snyder’s preferred aspect ratio of 1.33.
Creating the Martian Manhunter was a multi-step task, mixing Snyder’s notes with internal designs to land on something that could stay true to the comics and Lennix’s performance. It was important to get the actor under the sensor reading cameras to be able to pull him off.
“Facial performance, especially when it comes to dialogues, has many subtleties that are difficult to achieve without reference, especially for a photo-realistic character,” Julius Lechner, VFX supervisor at Scanline, told Polygon. “In order to incorporate Harry’s personality and acting style into our CG character, it is incredibly beneficial to actually capture his performance. It’s still a labor-intensive process that requires creative manipulation to create a nuanced digital character. “
Snyder’s big remark was to detach himself from any look at the Martian Manhunter who might appear as an actor with a prosthesis. “One important topic was the shape of his skull, for example,” says Lechner. “Overall, we wanted to keep a good balance between alien and human aspects and Harry’s unique features. If we stray too far from what an audience is used to seeing like human faces, the brain immediately questions that and pulls you out of the movie. “
Once captured, hundreds of hours are devoted to sculpting the final appearance, creating a 3D model of the character, texturing, shading, adjusting face tracking, additional animation, and fabric simulations. If that sounds like a lot of work for a character who only appears for a minute or two, Lechner insists that this is the norm and that it takes just as long to execute “a lot less screen time than Martian Manhunter”.
Could we see more of Martian Manhunter in the future? The assets are there – but so far there are no immediate requirements for using them. At least from Warner Bros …