Based on DC’s iconic comic book limited series ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, join DC superheroes from across the multiverse in the first of three parts of DC’s new animated film Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part One, which marks the beginning of the end to the Tomorrowverse story arc.
We spoke to producer and writer Jim Krieg, executive producer Butch Lukic and director Jeff Wamester about why they decided to adapt the iconic storyline and what we can expect from parts two and three…
Why decide to adapt Crisis on Infinite Earths?
Jim Krieg: Can I tell you the real, honest truth? It’s basically a title that kept coming up when they would have these test screenings. People would fill out forms and say, what other DC comic book stories do you want to see? And this one always came up, as did Long Halloween, which became part of the Tomorrow verse.
People were loath to do it. Our super talented creators have been loathed to do it because it has so many characters. It is such a giant story to try and adapt. It is so beloved that there’s a certain portion of the audience that is only going to be disappointed because it will not match up to the comic book that they read when they were 11.
But then on the other hand, I suspected that they would say yes, and that we would have to make seven other movies at least building up to it so that we would have guaranteed employment for at least that long!
What do you think it is about this story that has made it so iconic?
Jeff Wamester: I think part of it is consequences. There are a lot of characters who had pretty heavy endings with heavy scenes to set them up. I think when you look back through that, they hit you over and over and over with big characters dying.
At the time, too, there was such a wide universe for DC and they were trying to pare it down a little bit to see a lot of these beloved characters or characters you can relate to dying in really almost pointless but tragic ways. I think that affected a lot of people when they read it, including me!
Why make this adaptation into three parts?
Butch Lukic: I didn’t want to. I was trying to push against doing it because it’s going to take five movies at least. Then they came back with ‘nah, we want three’.
It was thirteen comics at the time. There’s no way we could do this in less than five movies, which would have been right but I think we got it good right here with the three movies because they’re a little longer than usual. So it all kind of works out.
Jim Krieg: Yeah, there are things that we had to cut that are tragic. Then there are things that we had to cut that are not that big… like I don’t miss Anthro and I don’t miss Orion. I missed the new Wildcat, that would have been fun. There are some other classic characters we would have loved to spend time with. But it’s so weird to think that you have three movies and there were still characters that we ended up cutting out because it would have been too rushed.
Butch Lukic: And sticking to the main characters that had relevance today still. A lot of those characters that we had to dump are not relevant to today’s DC Comics anyway. So it wouldn’t have even registered with a lot of fans.
Jeff Wamester: We also didn’t want to kill the director or the storyboard artists in the process of trying to make this happen…
Butch Lukic: It’s something you can’t avoid. Also with the animators overseas, it was really based on our budgets. So there are a lot of storytelling points in the writing, just so we could get away with it with what we have.
Can you give us any insights on what will be in the next two movies?
Jim Krieg: Essentially we didn’t want to have the anti-matter just attacking the Earth for three movies because it became super monotonous. So it had to be sort of a prelude and the anti-matter wave and then the arrival, and then escalation.
For those who haven’t read it, I don’t want to spoil it. But it escalates a in a very natural way.
Butch Lukic: Also most films today [are trilogies]. Back to the 1960s, the first trilogy was Clint Eastwood, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. They’re all trilogies. Star Wars was originally a trilogy. Lord of the Rings is a trilogy. Even, sadly, The Godfather is a trilogy.
What are you most looking forward to audiences seeing from the first movie?
Jim Krieg: This first movie is very challenging as it hopscotches through time. Spoiler alert for the other two – the other two aren’t structured like this].
[Part one] follows several different stories and different points in Barry Allen’s life. It’s not the easiest movie in the world. It’s treating you like a grown up, but you can follow this. The hope was that each of those stories is interesting, but especially dovetails into a surprise at the end.
I’m disappointed in some way that we can’t see this with an audience because there are some reveals at the end that I would want to hear the audial reaction of the crowd.
Butch Lukic: In part two there’s a character that I’m particularly fond of and worked on years and years ago that we bring back so that’s in part two…
Jeff Wamester: I like how we attack both this movie, the structure of this one and the next one are really fun and not expected. So I really look forward to people seeing where we go from this…
Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part One is available now on Digital Download, 4K UHD and Blu-ray limited edition steelbook.
Parts Two & Three of the Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths Trilogy to debut later in 2024