At New York Comic-Con, we had the opportunity to sit down with director Jay Oliva to talk about the next DC Animated project, Justice League: War.
Having helmed such projects as Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, parts 1 & 2, and Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, Oliva is no stranger to the DCU.
We talked about Justice League: War, which is based upon the first arc of the Justice League comic book after the New 52 relaunch. We discussed the adaptation from page to screen, Jay’s unique approach to animated action, and much more.
Tell us a little about Justice League: War. Where does this take place in the DC Universe?
Justice League: Waris a loose adaptation of the Geoff Johns and Jim Lee comic book run from issues 1-6 of the New 52. We kind of loosely based upon the events in that book. We didn’t adhere to it as I usually did with The Dark Knight Returns, but that is what we ended up doing with translating that first graphic novel. This is our first true New 52 DCU story that we’ve done; Flashpoint was still the old, but at the end of Flashpoint, we hinted that we’re in the New 52 Universe.
So Flashpoint was the setup?
Kind of. I’m hoping that somewhere down the line we can do some other films that will hopefully connect the events from Flashpoint into Justice League: War and any other films we do in the New 52 universe, which would be pretty cool. I’m hoping that we do that eventually. I’m trying to put in little Easter eggs throughout all the films. If you watch carefully, you’ll see it there.
You said you took this as a looser adaptation. In that case, did it make it easier to compress the first Justice League arc of the New 52 into a 2-hour movie?
When you do an adaptation, it’s never easy. Sometimes, if you’re doing it too close to the source material, then you feel like you’re kind of stifled, but sometimes, in this case, the material that was there wasn’t as deep as say The Dark Knight Returns, where it was four graphic novels trying to fit into two 70-minute pieces. With this one, because it’s only six issues, and it’s really one long fight versus Darkseid, it gave us a little bit more flexibility in how to interpret that. On the other hand, one of the challenges was to try to create set pieces. Whenever I try to do my films, I try to think of it like Raiders of the Lost Ark – there’s the rolling ball sequence, the fight with the Nazis, the ending with the Ark – so whenever I do my films, I always try to figure out what would be a good set piece because you want to keep the momentum going. In the comic books, there were certain set pieces, but how does that translate into the pace of a film? So I had to figure out, “Ok, this is a pretty good set piece, let’s elaborate” or “This sequence went on for too long in the comic and maybe we should scale back” or maybe elaborate on some things that the comic might have glossed over.
Hit the jump for the full discussion with Jay Oliva!