After much speculation, tweeting, trolling, and gnashing of teeth, HBO Max’s version of Justice League, which may or may not have the title of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, got an official trailer. There’s plenty to deconstruct in it (see our analysis here), but one bright spot is the inclusion of Kiersey Clemons as Iris West.
In the trailer, Ezra Miller’s barefoot Barry Allen comes to the rescue Clemons’s Iris West as she lies in the street, presumably about to be hit by a car. Fans of the The Flash know the character Iris West as a reporter and Barry Allen’s love interest and eventual wife.
Clemons had previously been announced to play female lead Iris West in the DCEU’s The Flash solo movie, which has long been delayed but is finally(!) coming in June of 2022, now with two Batmen! Fans may know Clemons from Transparent, Neighbors 2, or indie gems Dope and Heart Beats Loud, the latter of which features her singing and playing keys.
Clemons’ appearance in the theatrical release of Justice League was reportedly meant to be a cameo. However in all the mishegoss of creative control going from director Zack Snyder to fill-in Joss Whedon, as well as subsequent re-shoots and edits that we’ve collectively never gone a week without hearing about since they’ve happened, the Iris West appearance wound up on the cutting room floor. Some of the scenes were later leaked, including what appears to be the scene from the Snyder Cut trailer.
Speaking with Coming Soon in 2017 after Snyder’s departure, Clemons shared that she only worked with Snyder, not Whedon, meaning she wasn’t involved in reshoots, and shared her enthusiasm for the project.
“Everyone’s asking me that. No, I finished all my stuff with Zack [Snyder], I wish him well and I have no idea what’s going on right now but I’m sure whatever they’re doing is necessary. I know the parts that I did introducing Iris are f—ing sick. I can’t wait to see the movie. I’m so happy that I’ve been introduced to this genre because I didn’t really have any type of desire to be a part of any superhero world. And then I stepped on the set of Justice League and I was like, ‘Holy s–t. Alright!'”
It’s worth noting that actor Ray Fisher has called out Joss Whedon’s behavior on the set of Justice League as “toxic and abusive” and called out producer Geoff Johns and Jon Berg for enabling him.
It’s also not the first time Joss Whedon’s on-set behavior has been called out. In the past he has been specifically accused of mistreating women, and here one of the few Black actors on set is speaking up about mistreatment. Coupled with the rumors that Clemons was going to be replaced, it’s enough to make a person wonder about his motivation for cutting the scene of a Black Iris West, particularly in light of how much harassment and poor treatment (from fans and unfortunately in the workplace as well) Candice Patton, another Black woman who plays Iris West, has received.
The Justice League: The Snyder Cut will be released on HBO Max in 2021.