The Justice League artbook is out, and it shows some interesting designs were originally planned for that film’s version of the Greek gods Zeus and Ares.
While the actual movie presented the pair about how you would expect—Zeus was a lightning throwing guy in a toga, Ares had the more intimidating armor that he wore in Wonder Woman—the artbook depicts them in decidedly more primitive clothing, wearing loincloths and capes made out of animal skins and leather, respectively. Zeus is also glowing, with golden segments on, or perhaps part of, his arms and forehead, while Ares’ hands glow red as though covered in blood.
It is notable that the Amazons, who worship the Greek gods, were depicted with similarly primitive outfits during the film’s flashback, which showed both groups teaming up with the Atlanteans and an ancient Green Lantern warrior to combat the villain Steppenwolf and his invading army of Parademons.
The aesthetic here is interesting when one considers the film’s director, Zack Snyder. While he is controversial for many reasons—the grimmer, more violent tone that he has chosen to use for these films, the gloomy aesthetic, his at times over-complicated plotting—no one can deny that he has an eye for striking images. Justice League is full of visually impressive scenes, and no doubt the shot of Zeus à la Conan the Barbarian would have made an impression.
It is not clear why these designs were not used in the final product. Were the artbook’s renditions of the characters simply deemed too strange, prompting a return to their more traditional looks? Did the battle scene go through reshoots like much of the movie? It is hard to say.
According to Wonder Woman, the Greek gods are all dead now, though we may find out more about them in Shazam, since Zeus is traditionally one of the hero’s magical patrons.