The Justice League Snyder Cut has been referred to by many things during the long run to its official announcement: Nonexistent. A Pipe Dream. The collective fiction of unhappy and unrelenting fans. However, almost two and a half years since the original Justice League’s theatrical release, one thing is clear as day; it exists. Earlier this week, Zack Snyder himself announced that the Justice League Snyder Cut release will be in 2021 on the HBO Max streaming service.
The Original Zack Snyder Vision the DC Extended Universe
Image via Warner Bros.
Justice League was going to be the culmination of the unofficial DC Extended Universe of movies that launched a shared continuity for Warner Bros. superheroes. Following the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s model, albeit years later, Zack Snyder was the man to put together the DCEU. The filmmaker began his universe with a deeply moving and thoughtful take on the world’s most iconic superhero Superman, in the 2013 Man Of Steel. Receiving mixed response, WB still greenlit the DCEU with Snyder at the helm.
The sequel to Man Of Steel was the controversial Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice. The red flags began almost immediately. While there was riotous applause at Hall H of San Diego Comic-Con 2013, there was also a concern. Why was the Man Of Steel sequel also featuring the first appearance of the new iteration of Batman in this universe? Then, the Dawn Of Justice part of the title drew even bigger worries. Why wasn’t Batman, or the other heroes for that matter, given their own solo movies, before bringing them all together? But Snyder had a vision and most were willing to follow along.
The biggest course-correction came when Snyder’s epic two-part Justice League movie became just one movie. Especially considering this was after the mixed response to Batman v. Superman. Snyder’s vision was getting blurred.
The Mythical Journey Of The Justice League Snyder Cut
Image via Warner Bros.
Before Justice League released in November 2017, the film was already plagued with a worried studio, a family tragedy, and major last-minute overhauls. After the mild and struggling reception to Batman v. Superman, WB wanted just one Justice League movie. Not the epic two-part extravaganza that would bring resolution to Syder’s 5-year long game. And then tragedy struck. Snyder suffered the loss of his daughter. Snyder and wife Deborah, also his producing partner, stepped away from Justice League. The Avengers director himself, Joss Whedon came in to finish the movie. Snyder’s vision was no more.
Under Whedon’s direction a lot of Justice League change. Plot points modified, subplots dropped, scenes deleted, and the result was reportedly an entirely different movie. Keen-eyed audiences could even tell where Whedon stepped in and reworked Snyder’s darker, more serious story. Over the years many confirmed the vast differences between Snyder’s original movie and the theatrical Justice League. The movie released and underwhelmed critics and audiences. Almost immediately, the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut hashtag and movement appeared.
For the past two-and-a-half years, a movement of passionate fans have been clamoring for Warner Bros. to release The Justice League Snyder Cut. There was a change.org petition, #ReleaseTheSnyderCut billboards, banners flying over SDCC and money raised for charity; all in the hopes to draw enough attention from the powers that be at Warner Bros. Snyder himself even contributed to the movement by releasing behind the scenes images, not present in the theatrical cut. At times, he would even engage with fans on social media. By answering questions, confirming or denying theories, Snyder teased his Snyder Cut more and more. And it all worked.
The Snyder Cut of Justice League Lives!
In an unprecedented move, the Justice League Snyder Cut release will be happening on HBO Max in 2021. Snyder made the announcement during a Man Of Steel watch party he hosted recently. Along with the news came a THR exclusive, that outlines the entire Snyder Cut chronicles, and exactly how the mythical project became a reality. With almost the entire credit going to the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement.
— HBO Max (@hbomax) May 20, 2020
Apparently, the discussions to do just that began on Justice League’s 2-year anniversary in November 2019. The the WB chairman Toby Emmerich was willing to work with Snyder, with the goal of the release of a Snyder Cut of Justice League. After weeks of discussions, Snyder hosted a screening of his version of the unfinished movie at his home in February 2020. Those invited were more than a dozen WB, DC Comics as well as HBO Max executives including Emmerich and DC Comics’ Jim Lee. Other heads of department were also there, in order to assess the project; what’s completed, and what needed completing. The presentation ended with everyone excited to finally reveal to the world the Justice League Snyder Cut. However, things became more complicated with what became the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the setback, everyone involved pushed ahead. As Deborah Snyder recalls, they wanted to provide work for the visual effects and post-production houses that are not working due to the pandemic. Currently, both Snyders are right in the middle of assembling the movie’s original post-production crew, and possibly bringing back the actors for additional dialogue. They may also have to film some scenes, for example on Vero Zack Snyder said that he needed to film scenes with actor Harry Lennix to complete his transformation into an iconic DC hero.
What Form Of The Justice League Snyder Cut Will Fans (Finally) See?
Image via HBO Max.
The Snyder Cut release is obviously exciting news, which is an understatement, but we have to temper expectations. The THR report lists the cost of all the remaining work on the cut to be anywhere between $20 to $30 million dollars. While that may not seem like a lot in the Hollywood framework of things, it still means that the film isn’t as completed as we were expecting. Therefore, we may not get a fully finished—at last estimate—4-hour cut of the Snyder Cut movie that we’ve been wanting. At this point, we’re not even sure if it will be a movie.
Given the unprecedented scope of the situation, the Snyder Cut may even become episodic ‘chapters’. Which might be a smart move, given that that it speaks more to a streaming audience’s sensibilities, than a theatrical audience’s. It’s difficult to envision at this time what kind of Snyder Cut we’ll be getting. Snyder himself admitted that his hopes for the movie prior to HBO Max were a potential documentary, in the future. Something that even I theorized, because great minds think alike.
The Snyder Cut Could Be A Mini Series
— Zack Snyder (@ZackSnyder) May 20, 2020
The news of the original actors returning for additional dialogue also makes me theorize how much of the movie could be a voice-over narrative storytelling structure. I don’t think that the original actors will suit up for any physical production at this point. But dialogues and voice-overs can easily happen in a studio to provide cohesion between sequences. Or even between the chapters, in an episodic format. This would also better lend to comic book storytelling, which is something that the TV side of Warner Bros loves to do. Just look at the opening credits of the Arrowverse shows.
The Justice League Snyder Cut releases on HBO Max in 2021.
How do you feel about the Justice League Snyder Cut finally releasing? Let us know in the comments below.
Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.