The SnyderVerse could have included an Atom movie with Zack Snyder’s Justice League actor Ryan Zheng reprising the role. In the original theatrical cut of Justice League, Zheng briefly appeared as Ryan Choi, the scientist who becomes the miniature superhero in DC comic book lore. His scene had been left on the cutting room floor of the 2017 version but was restored by Snyder for the four-hour Snyder Cut that premiered on Thursday.
If Snyder would have had his way, Zheng would have gotten his own Atom spinoff movie as well. Speaking about his original plans for the DCEU beyond Justice League, Zack Snyder recently told Entertainment Weekly how one of his pitches was to develop an Atom solo movie set in China, but the studio apparently wasn’t sold on the idea. From the interview:
“I had been pitching Warners to do an Atom movie with him in China, like a Chinese-cast superhero movie. That was my goal.”
The Snyder Cut’s opening ending is the result of the filmmaker’s original plans to launch a movie trilogy. While the sequels were canceled, Snyder still wanted to complete the Snyder Cut the way he had always envisioned. In the EW interview, Snyder also said we would have seen more of Martian Manhunter in the Justice League sequels, along with “some Green Lanterns” and the return of Darkseid. At the end of the day, these are all just what-ifs, as there are no plans at Warner Bros. to produce any Justice League follow movies at this time.
Maybe the studio will change their minds based on the success of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Demand for the Snyder Cut was so high that the premiere caused HBO Max to crash. A lot of fans were happy with the new footage of Jared Leto as the Joker, and a social media campaign to #RestoreTheSnyderVerse has been launched for Leto to star with Ben Affleck in a Batman vs. Joker movie. Given the success of the original campaign, it doesn’t hurt to try.
A superhero with the ability to shrink and grow his body, different versions of Atom have been appearing in DC comic books since 1940, though the Ryan Choi incarnation was introduced in 2006. The character would go on to join the Justice League of America in the DC Rebirth continuity. Animated versions of Ryan Choi’s Atom have appeared in various DC projects and he was played by Osric Chau in the Arrowverse’s TV crossover event Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Joe Manganiello also appears in Zack Snyder’s Justice League as Deathstroke, and it’s possible the Atom movie could have featured Manganiello in an antagonist role. In DC comics’ Brightest Day continuity, Deathstroke murders Ryan Choi with his new team of Titans, though he would be resurrected in later issues. Given their comic book history, Deathstroke would make a natural villain for Atom to face if the small superhero ever gets his own movie.