Before Black Panther stormed theaters in 2018 and forever changed the way the world viewed the potential of Black superheroes, the DCEU was gearing up to introduce their first major Black superhero as well. That superhero was Cyborg, to be played by newcomer actor Ray Fisher, in 2017's Justice League. In an interview with VanityFair, Oscar-winning screenwriter Chris Terrio, who wrote the original script for Justice League, explained how deeply conscious he was of the need to represent Cyborg properly on the big screen.
"I got to know Ray Fisher. We developed Cyborg together. Ray came to my apartment in the East Village, and he and I just would take long walks and talk about Cyborg and the responsibility of putting the first Black DC superhero in a movie on screen. That was a big responsibility that we both understood and took very seriously. Remember, this was before Black Panther. There obviously have been some Black superheroes over the years, but none depicted with such a budget and such scale and in such a mainstream way."
Unfortunately, Terrio and Fisher's plans came undone after Zack Snyder exited Justice League as a director in 2017 following a personal tragedy. Joss Whedon was hired in his stead, and under his direction, the role of Cyborg in Justice League became smaller and smaller, stripping away valuable moments from the character's backstory and removing key characters from his personal narrative.
Now, after three years of campaigning, fans have finally succeeded in making Warner Bros. bring Snyder back to complete Justice League according to his personal vision. In Zack Snyder's Justice League, Cyborg is in many ways the central character. His personal journey as a man whose body was ripped apart and then put back together using alien technology powers much of the movie's narrative. According to Terrio, he and Fisher were very conscious of how Cyborg's evolution would find some reflection in the real-world experiences of Black Americans.
"Cyborg is the one character who can't disguise himself. He lives in his skin. His otherness is a constant fact of his life. And that to me-and Ray and I discussed this-speaks about being a Black man in America. You cannot remove the otherness that people force upon you. And therefore Cyborg-when he becomes the hero that he always should have been and was meant to be, that felt like something really strong that we wanted the world to see."
Zack Snyder's Justice League stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Ray Porter as Darkseid, Ciarán Hinds as Steppenwolf, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon. The film is now streaming on HBO Max. This news originated at Vanity Fair.