**Major spoilers ahead** “Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice” is not wanting for characters from the DC Comics universe. Of course, Batman and Superman throw down, plus there’s Lex Luthor, Alfred, Martha and Thomas Wayne, and Perry White. Beyond that, Wonder Woman has a supporting role, while Justice League team members Cyborg, Aquaman, and The Flash get brief glimpses, and there’s a pretty major of tease of Darkseid too. But it seems Zack Snyder found room to cram in one more character… only to get rid of him for little reason other than he could.
At the beginning of the film, a sequence finds Lois Lane traveling to Africa to conduct an interview with a terrorist. The man she’s come to see doesn’t trust anybody, and a quick search of the gear belonging to the photographer Lois has brought with her uncovers a tracking device hidden in his camera. It turns out that the cameraman is actually an undercover CIA agent, and he is summarily executed with a gunshot to the head, while Lois is taken hostage. Superman soon arrives to rescue her, but everything has gone horribly wrong. And oh, that cameraperson? It’s Jimmy Olsen.
Vulture has noted that while Jimmy Olsen isn’t mentioned by name in the film, he’s unveiled in the credits, played by Michael Cassidy (“The O.C.“). Intriguingly, EW adds that Jesse Eisenberg had originally auditioned for the barely there role, one that will get expanded in the upcoming R-rated “Ultimate Cut,” with the initial idea of killing Jimmy Olsen serving as an audience misdirect.
But the bigger question is why bother bringing in Jimmy Olsen if you’re just going to kill him off? According to Snyder, because he can.
“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?” he said.
That Snyder’s version of “fun” involves randomly shooting a DC character in the head certainly does make one quite concerned about the future of this DC Films enterprise, of which he is one of the key members of the braintrust at Warner Bros. It also unveils a basic lack of thoughtfulness that Christopher Nolan‘s pictures had. Whatever you might think of “The Dark Knight” series, every character had clear motivation, every decision about where the plot turned had narrative and emotional logic. ‘Dawn Of Justice’ often feels like the characters are flailing about to find a purpose in a movie that puts spectacle ahead of a clear vision.
And while it’s usually a bit unfair to make comparisons to Marvel, this is something they would never do. Kevin Feige and co. are also deeply thoughtful about how, when, and where characters are brought in and out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For example, Feige nixed the idea of Captain Marvel popping up at the end of “Avengers: Age Of Ultron” because he felt “it would have done that character a disservice.” It has since been announced the hero is getting her own movie in 2019, and now the groundwork can be properly laid out for that film.
Snyder’s short term thinking — that he’ll never wind up using Jimmy Olsen, so hey let’s just kill him off — now hamstrings him creatively. It’s one less DC Comics universe character that is part of the fabric of Clark Kent and Lois Lane that he can utilize, and for fans, his disposal of Jimmy Olsen feels less like “fun” and more like “disrespect.”