While Kyle Higgins initially had an idea for a comedic story involving the "superhero labor union" several years ago, it was not until the fall of 2006 that he really began developing the concept. Higgins spent that fall as an intern for The Donners' Company, working for director Richard Donner (Superman, Lethal Weapon, The Goonies) and producer Lauren Shuler Donner (X-MEN, Constantine, Any Given Sunday). The environment was quite conducive to superhero projects while Higgins was at the company, with Richard Donner releasing his cut of Superman II and co-writing Action Comics with Geoff Johns; X-MEN III was released just months earlier, and the company was working to develop Wolverine and Magneto spin off films. With the help of Donners' assistants/producers Derek Hoffman and Jack Dubnicek, Higgins began developing a script for The League along with co-writer Alec Siegel. Higgins planned to make the film as a thesis project at Chapman University.
Higgins and Siegel started by giving the story a more serious tone from Higgins' initial concept. The two writers also decided that, although it would be more logistically challenging, 1960's Chicago would be the ideal setting for the story. This gave the filmmakers a better chance of "grounding" the idea of a superhero labor union, and also helped them to combine a darker noir style with superhero designs reminiscent of silver age comic book characters.
As Higgins continued to intern, writer/director Tom Mankiewicz (Superman, Diamonds are Forever, Dragnet) began teaching at Chapman University. Through Chapman and the Donners, Higgins got to know Mankiewicz well. When he was finished interning, Mankiewicz hired Higgins to be his teaching assistant. During the summer of 2007, as Higgins and Siegel worked from Chicago to get ready for a November 2nd start date back in Los Angeles, Mankiewicz spent numerous hours on the phone with the two young filmmakers, talking through the story and helping them to develop the world of The League.
As Higgins prepared with Michael Campbell (producer), Adzio Czerski (producer), and Robin Phillips (producer) for what turned out to be the largest production ever at Chapman University (twelve days of shooting, filming in Chicago, hand made costumes, special effects, stunt doubles, wire rigs, fight choreography, large sets, forty foot green screens, and elaborate visual effects), Higgins and Siegel began working with Stanley Von Medvey (Concept Artist), Eric Wight (Character Design), Andrew Davis (Cinematographer), Dorothy Street (Production Design) and Mike Grier (Visual Effects) to develop a unique visual style for the look of The League.