Zack Snyder Explains The Shocking Thing He Did To A Beloved DC Character

Spoilers ahead.

What follows is maybe a spoiler? The events in question happen in the first fifteen minutes of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the person to whom they happen is only named in the credits - ie, I had to go home and look up the actor to make sure it was the right guy. 

Here's the spoiler:

In BvS Jimmy Olsen is executed by terrorists/freedom fighters in Africa. He is shot in the head. He is also a secret CIA agent. 

I want that to sink in. The character known as Superman's Pal, a character whose delightfully bizarre Silver Age comic covers are among some of the weirdest to ever be printed, the character who is usually portrayed as a bumbling but well-meaning kid sidekick to Superman, is ruthlessly executed. 

But maybe there's a reason. Sometimes fans get upset at changes to canon or to characters despite there being a strong storytelling reason behind it. Clearly Zack Snyder wouldn't have Jimmy Olsen's brains blown out of the back of his head just for a laugh, right?

“We just did it as this little aside because we had been tracking where we thought the movies were gonna go, and we don’t have room for Jimmy Olsen in our big pantheon of characters, but we can have fun with him, right?”

Remind me to never have fun with Zack Snyder. 

The weird part is that this brazen display of disrespect for the DC Comics characters is actually half-brazen. Olsen never identifies himself. His name only appears in the credits. In the longer R-rated director's cut he apparently comes out and says his name, but it's like Snyder hedged his bets here by hiding the war atrocity he committed upon the guy who, in the comics, wears a special watch that can emit a frequency only Superman can hear.

Originally Snyder wanted Jesse Eisenberg for this role. He wanted to do a Psycho fake out, killing off a well-known actor so that the audience would be off their guard. But that meeting made a change in the movie. 

“I said, ‘I want to do this misdirect and you’d be great. You’d be a great Jimmy Olsen,’” the director says. “And he’s like, ‘Yeah, that’s cool,’ and he was being very Jesse in the meeting. Introverted but constantly going, ‘Okay, I see, uh-huh. So it’s sort of a pop-culture redirect, you’re gonna do, because of the certain status of an actor…”

 “I was like, ‘Wow, that guy is crazy… Debbie, what about Jesse as Lex?”

And out of that meeting Snyder, who had previously been meeting with Bryan Cranston, decided to make Lex Luthor younger. The rest is history. Says Snyder: 

 “Bryan Cranston would have been great, right? And by the way, he’s an amazing actor. Can you imagine how different the movie would be?”

Yeah, it might have been good.