Zack Snyder says Justice League's original Steppenwolf design was changed for being too scary

Steppenwolf in Zack Snyder's Justice League
(Image credit: Zack Snyder (via Vero))

It’s no secret that Justice League went through loads of changes on its way to the big screen. One alteration actually came before the infamous reshoots – director Zack Snyder has shared that big bad Steppenwolf had a design change because the original look, glimpsed in the Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, was thought to be too scary.

After the re-release of the trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League, this time with a few bits of additional footage added, the director broke down each shot of the teaser on Vero. As reported by Screen Rant, Snyder explained over a shot of Steppenwolf arriving to the Amazon’s home of Themyscira: “This was the original design of Steppenwolf as you’ve seen in [Dawn of Justice]. There were discussions and a lot of back and forth about the new design and the creation of this new design. I think the initial thought was that he was a little too scary, and a little too alien, and a little too intense.”

He added: “I personally thought he was awesome, and that he… does represent a real threat, not just to the Justice League but to the entire planet… I think he looks amazing and the team has done a really great job.”

Snyder also gave us a few more details about Steppenwolf as a villain: “His conquest of Earth we learn is… he’s done this so many times that this is like nothing to him.” 

As for going up against the titular superhero team, the director said: “The fights he has like with Wonder Woman and with Jason [Momoa, who plays Aquaman] and then the team at the end of the movie, really fun to do.” He also shared that there are “some great moments with him battling the team.”

The version of Steppenwolf in the Snyder Cut is less humanoid looking than the theatrical depiction and considerably spikier. He definitely looks like a credible threat, even to a superhero team as powerful as one that includes Superman and Wonder Woman.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League arrives as a four-part miniseries to HBO Max in 2021. Until then, check out our guide to watching DC movies in order to get all caught up.

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.