November 17th marks the two year anniversary for DC/WB’s Justice League. While the film that released was decent. Fans around the World continue to demand the release of the Zack Snyder version. A cut of the film that was all but thrown out during post production.
Insert the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement.
Before we get into why this movement should not die let us take a stroll down memory lane and see how we even got to this point.
UPDATE! WE WON!
On May 20, 2020 at the end of a Man of Steel watch party, Zack Snyder announced along side Henry Cavill and a handful of fans that in 2021 Zack Snyder’s Justice League would be released on HBO Max. Since then we have heard rumors that he was given a budget of anywhere between $40-$100 million to complete the VFX and additional photography desired.
On top of this news it appears that Warner Media, Warner Bros., AT&T and HBO Max are full steam ahead in developing a plethora of DC properties for all their services. It’s believed that a DC Multiverse is on the horizon. Something that was hinted at in the Crisis on Infinite Earths event on CW earlier in 2020.
Now because of the success of the #ReleasetheSnyderCut movement a new Movement has taken hold. #ReleasetheAyerCut. Just like Snyder’s Justice League David Ayers Suicide Squad was tampered with by executives within WB. A movie that was going to enhance the build up to Justice League became a colorful mess of a movie that never quite lived up to its box office take.
While buckets full of information have dropped about the behind the scenes meddling on Justice League and Suicide Squad has been spilled. Make sure to take a gander at the article below as it lays out a lot of the back drop for what transpired.
What most people don’t fully realize is Warner Bros. was looking to get some of that superhero money after seeing the success their “rival” Marvel was having. With Man of Steel just released and doing moderately well critically and financially. WB/DC talked to Snyder about a follow up movie to expand what he had started.
Rumor has it that it was requested by WB to insert Batman to help bolster their financial gain, but that has not been substantiated.
At San Diego Comic Con in July 2013 during the DC panel Zack Snyder called out Harry Lennix, who played General Swanwick in Man of Steel, to help announce the follow up. He read an excerpt from Frank Miller’s beloved Batman series, The Dark Knight Returns.
The Superman Logo within the Batman Logo appeared on screen and the fans went wild.
Justice League part 1 and part 2 is announced.
Unbeknownst to fans at the time, Snyder was given a multi picture deal which would have included BvS, Justice League part 1 and part 2 as well as an additional unannounced film. Unfortunately there is no official announcement of what the deal was exactly with Snyder, but through many conversations over the years Snyder has revealed that his plans for these characters went beyond the films he was involved with.
DC Presents: Dawn of the Justice League
January 19th 2016 was a big day for Warner Bros. and DC films. Geoff Johns appeared on a show called DC Presents: Dawn of the Justice League which was hosted by Kevin Smith to announce the DC film slate for the upcoming 5 years. What started off simply as a Snyderverse of sorts began to expand and branch off to a larger Cinematic Universe.
It’s no surprise this was the route WB wanted to take here. Marvel was having massive success with their comic book film universe and they wanted a piece of the pie.
Regardless of that Fans around were ecstatic!
The following is what was announced
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice on March 25, 2016
Suicide Squad on August 5, 2016
Wonder Woman on June 23, 2017
Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017
The Flash on March 23, 2018
Aquaman on July 27, 2018
Shazam on April 5, 2019
Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019
Cyborg on April 3, 2020
Green Lantern on June 19, 2020
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
The reception of BvS was not great. A film that should have broken a Billion Dollars in the box office was barely able pass $800 Million. Many blame the convoluted story, dark tone, and poor editing on the films lack of success. But to some it was the viewers lack of understanding that hurt the movie.
This worried WB. They looked at this as the fans wanting movies more lighthearted and similar to Marvel. Despite all of this Zack Snyder was still going full steam ahead with his follow up Justice League. Something that surprised many critics and fans around the world.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition
Prior to the release of BvS. WB/DC announced that they would release and extended version of the movie which added back 30 minutes of film they had Zack Snyder cut out. (well they didn’t say it like that) But this Ultimate Edition as it is called helped the film exponentially by rearranging scenes and adding more depth to the story. This release gave the movie new life and fans began to realize that Snyder’s vision was tampered with by WB execs.
Justice League Set Visit
To ease the minds of fans and critics Snyder invited multiple outlets to the set and even allowed them to report on what they saw.
The biggest take away from the visit was the tone of the film and how there was much more levity and hope as opposed to Batman v Superman. Cause, that is what everyone wanted….right?
Then, during San Diego Comic Con WB/DC drops a surprise first trailer of the film. Showing off the lighter tone that everyone so desperately wanted. And…. it didn’t disappoint.
Late 2016 or Early 2017
Re-Writes and Re-Shoots
Sometime after Principal photography was completed and Snyder had a rough edit of the film put together he realized it needed some tweaks. Just like every film some re-shoots were necessary and the studio wanted to add some more levity to the story. Hot after the announcement of a Joss Whedon’s Batgirl movie, WB turned to the famed Avengers writer/director and asked him to work with Zack on the re-writes and re-shoots.
First FULL Trailer
With eight months to go until the release of the film Warner Bros. drops the first full length trailer for Justice League. Unsurprisingly fans excitement continued to build and with the slightly lighter tone compared to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice things seemed….Hopeful for an Epic film.
Zack “steps” down
In May 2017 Zack releases a statement about stepping down as Director of the Justice League film to focus more on his family. Just a few months prior the Snyder’s suffered a great loss in the death of one of their daughters.
It was at this time Joss Whedon was asked by Geoff Johns to step in to helm the project. The belief was he would simply see it through the scheduled re-shoots and post production. Which was still aiming for the Nov 17th release date.
Wonder Woman releases to thunderous applause. The Patty Jenkins film was so well received that fans and critics touted it the best DC film since Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight (08). This movie set the bar on all future DC films and with Justice League five months away the pressure was on.
New Justice League Composer
With Whedon now in place as the replacement Director of the film the first noticeable change made was in removing Junkie XL as composer for the experienced Danny Elfman.
This was the first true sign that something more sinister was going on behind the scenes than a simple hand off from Snyder to Whedon. To this point Junkie XL had completed his score for the upcoming film. He had covered the song Come Together with Gary Clark Jr. for the trailer. And his work on the previous film, Batman v Superman, was well received.
The fact that he was replaced just a few months prior to the film coming out showed the lack of trust WB had with Snyder’s vision. Thus starting to show what the true nature was of Zack’s departure.
In July 2017 Variety reported that Warner Bros. was spending big money (rumored to be $25 MILLION) on extensive re-shoots to build on the success of Wonder Woman.
It has since been revealed that roughly 20 minutes of the movie is was Zack Snyder intended. It seems that Whedon and WB even manipulated previously shot footage to fit their new script.
Unfortunately, Henry Cavil was in the middle of shooting his next film, Mission: Impossible. A movie which required him to have a mustache. Unfortunately, WB’s attempts to make a deal with Paramount to allow Cavil to shave his mustache failed. So, they had to find a way to digitally remove it themselves. Giving us this horrendous opening shot of the movie.
Once again at San Diego Comic Con a Trailer is released where we see a bit more of the film and some additional story beats. Much like the first trailer fans were excited to see the lighter tone. This was also a trailer that Joss Whedon had some input with.
Maybe I read too much into this but that final scene and line in the trailer by Alfred feels like it was a nod to Whedon who came onto the project just a few months prior.
“They said you’d come now let’s hope it’s not too late.”
Speculation ran rampant with this trailer though. Who was Alfred talking to? Was it Green Lantern, Supergirl or Superman? Fans were beyond excited for this movie and everything seemed to be moving smoothly.
Going FULL Whedon
With only about a month to go until release WB/DC released yet another trailer. However, this one had a tonal shift and it became VERY noticeable that Whedon now had a major influence on the direction of this movie. Contrary to what was reported back in March.
It was understood we would see a slight shift in tone with Joss taking over but what we got in this trailer was rather jarring.
Pretty sure each character gets a moment to look in the camera and smile. The color scheme has shifted to brighter and more hopeful despite the dreary circumstances of the film. Worst of all things just felt off. There was less of a connection to what Snyder had begun and more of a finalization of a story we didn’t realize we were getting.
Justice League is Released
November 17th Justice League releases. A movie that would have undoubtedly made more than a billion dollars had there been no controversy was only able to squeak out $657 million at the box office.
Critically the movie did decent. After the red carpet premier there was a lot of hope floating around about the film. No one exactly touted it as being anything overly special, but there wasn’t much negativity surrounding it.
What went Wrong?
One of the biggest issues with the film happens in the first moment of the movie. We immediately see Superman with a digitally altered face due to the mustache removal. The job done was pathetic. A 12 year old kid with Microsoft paint can do a better job than they did with this mess.
From that point forward the entire film feels disconnected from what came before it. A hodge podge of scenes strung together from two different visions. Much like the final trailer the film as a whole felt out of sorts.
Steppenwolf’s dialogue was confusing and begged to question who was he calling Mother?
Backstory and moments in the trailers for characters like Cyborg, Lois and the Flash were sadly missing from the final film.
A side story of a (Russian?) family was added that had no real place. And in a way distracted from the events going on around them.
Many announced actors were absent from the film.
Superman’s black suit which was teased by Henry Cavil while the movie was in production was noticeably missing.
And that is just touching the surface.
When fans began to realize all of the pieces Snyder was putting together were missing……. Well something magical happened.
Birth of #ReleasetheSnyderCut
Fans comparing trailers to the finished film began picking out missing moments and sharing them online. As this practice became more popular the #ReleasetheSnydercut movement became a staple on social media.
Many tech savvy people started editing their own version of the film together using Junkie XL’s BvS score and footage from all the different pre Whedon trailers that were released.
The fan outcry for Snyder’s vision was only getting started.
Since the Movement Began
Films In Development
Since the release of Justice League Warner Bros. and DC have been adjusting their slate of films that they announced in January of 2016. Films such as Cyborg and Green Lantern Corps. have been delayed indefinitely. Where movies like Flash and Justice League part 2 may never see the light of day.
At this time it is anyone’s guess where WB/DC goes from here. We do have a Batman Trilogy by Matt Reeves with Robert Pattinson in the titular role due to release in 2021. Birds of Prey and Wonder Woman 84 releasing in 2020. And a follow up to Aquaman in development.
With all that it’s unlikely we ever see a any follow up off of what Zack Snyder built starting with Man of Steel in 2012. We can just hope that those developing the upcoming stories honor what came before.
SDCC 2019 (Passion of the Snyder Cut)
The fans have been passionate about getting this film released since the movement began. So much so that in July 2019 money was spent on billboards around San Diego during Comic Con like the one below.
Zack himself even took notice by snapping photos and sharing them on is Vero account showing how humbled and appreciative he is of all the support he has.
Confirmation of the Snyder Cut
Zack Snyder Himself
After the movie’s release and the subsequent movement began more and more information has found its way online giving hints of what we would have gotten had Snyder’s version of the movie actually seen the light of day.
Zack Snyder has been relatively vocal about what his vision was. On his Vero Social media page he has posted photos, storyboards and concept art featuring many aspects of the film that were left out.
(see more at the end of the article)
He even hilariously questioned a fan asking him about the Russian family that popped up in the final product.
However, the most interesting and exciting part of Snyder being vocal about it was his confirmation that there is a cut of the film that he had completed in some form or fashion.
Cyborg actor Ray Fisher has even jumped in and started sharing photos from the highly demanded Snyder Cut.
Not one to shy away from being asked about his time on Justice League was asked about the Snyder Cut of the film by MTV.
MTV: So is that partially why when we spoke about a year ago and I brought up the Snyder Cut, you were like 'Fuck yeah, I need to see it'? Jason Momoa: Yeah, absolutely. But I have seen it, so. I have seen the Snyder Cut, so... MTV: So what does that mean? Because the effects aren't done. Like, you've seen his assemblage of footage and alternate takes, etc.? Jason Momoa: Oh, you you think Zack couldn't finish it? MTV: I don't know, you tell me. Jason Momoa: I mean, listen, man. Next question. MTV: Do you think we'll ever see it, do you think the public will ever see it? It seems like the groundswell has grown. Jason Momoa: I think the public needs to see it. I'm obviously indebted to Warners and DC, and I don't know how they feel about it. As a fan, I'm very very happy that I got to see it. MTV: Does it feel like a totally different movie than the Justice League that was released? Jason Momoa: Yeah.
He was also shared a photo recently of his character, Aquaman, impaling Steppenwolf, the villain of the movie. Obviously this was not in the 2017 Theatrical release.
Peter Guinness might be an unknown to fans but recently it was revealed that he was cast as DeSaad, Darkseid’s master torturer, in Zack Snyder’s original cut of Justice League. The British actor is yet another to join a long list of actors whose characters got the axe during Joss Whedon’s infamous rewrites and reshoots of Zack Synder’s Justice League movie. (source)
Junkie XL (Tom Holkenborg)
The original composer of Justice League was unceremoniously removed from the project just months prior to it’s release. He too confirms that there is a Snyder Cut to which his score was completed and attached to in some capacity.
Famed podcast, writer and director Kevin Smith has even weighed in on the validity of whether the Snyder Cut exists.
Thanks to the Playlist.net we got some more information from Kevin Smith regarding the Snyder Cut
“There is a Snyder Cut. For sure. That’s not a mythical beast. It exists,” revealed Smith. “Now, it’s not a finished movie by any stretch of the imagination. ‘The ‘Snyder Cut’ that, again I haven’t seen, but the one I’ve heard everyone speak of was never a finished film. It was a movie that people in production could watch and fill in the blanks. It was certainly not meant for mass consumption.”
“No studio has said this to me, but I would assume that they’re like, ‘We can’t show people this. Yes, there is a Snyder Cut, but no audience would be able to look at this and see what the director’s intent was.’ But I think the audience now, particularly the audience that would consume the Snyder Cut and discuss it at great length, can watch a work print. They can watch a work-in-progress and fill in the blanks in their heads.”
Not Only Does the Snyder Cut Exist But…
There Was A Plan
Regardless of what you want to believe. Zack Snyder had a plan… or a thought out story arc for his characters. Revealed on Screenrant.com an in-depth article covering what the potential plan was for his overarching story.
I highly recommend everyone checking this out. It came out in conjunction with his t-shirt campaign to prevent suicide. (see image below)
What is most surprising about these developments is realizing that Snyder and WB never intended, at least at first, to create a HUGE universe like their competitors at the house of mouse. Rather they gave Snyder the keys to building his own secluded story which he was going to flesh out between four or five films.
While the Marvel strategy was one so many were clamoring for from DC. Warner Bros. caved and thus started the collapse of everything Zack was building towards.
Why the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement Should Never Die
So why should the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement not die?
Because fans deserve to get what they want. Let’s face it, the Justice League film that was released wasn’t what we deserved. It wasn’t horrible by any stretch of the imagination but it could have been so much more.
Would Snyder’s fully realized film been as divisive as Batman v Superman? It’s possible, but the fans, the LOYAL fans, of Zack’s work thus far deserve better than what they got.
It’s time for production companies to listen to the fans and believe that they know what they want. Most recently we have seen a company for an upcoming film listen to fan outcry and make a course correction to which they are now being applauded for. That movie being Sonic the Hedgehog.
At this point WB/DC has nothing to lose. But they do have something the gain…
Now is the Time to #ReleaseTheSnyderCut
With WB recently being bought by AT&T a change in the way all their DC film properties are viewed would go a long way in their future success.
Aquaman and Shazam! have already started that. But now is the time to show the fans and the world that they are listening to us.
Their new streaming service HBO Max would be an excellent outlet in which to drop this movie. It would draw subscribers and get many excited. On-top of that they could give everyone a sneak peak at what was going on behind scenes. Give us a short documentary of the Making of Justice League to go along side the Snyder Cut of the film.
The film doesn’t have to be completed. It’s already understood and accepted that VFX are not 100% done. We know that there are areas that Snyder wanted to fix with his own re-shoots. All of which could be further explained in a documentary or even docu-series leading up to its release.
Undoubtedly there are people out there who want this movement to end who didn’t enjoy what Snyder created. But what is the harm in releasing it now?
At one point there was a petition signed by nearly 200,000 people in support of releasing the cut. So if even half of those people signed up for 1 month of HBO Max that would be roughly $1.5 million in revenue for WB/DC. If you ask me it’s not about whether they should release it? It’s, when should they?
Let us know in the comments what you think. Should the Snyder Cut ever be released? Would it hurt anything if it is released?
Additional Behind the Scenes Photos
So Many deleted scenes. Below you will find many more photos shared by Zack Snyder and others prior to and after the film’s release.
Author: Robert Slavinsky
Robert is not only a Senior Editor for Spoilerverse.com but he also hosts both Bridging the Geekdoms and the Spoilerverse's premier Star Wars podcast, Shootin' the Sith. He is a passionate fan of movies, video games, comics and pretty much all things within the pop-culture world. He can be found on Twitter or over on his Bridging the Geekdoms YouTube channel where he talks about any rumors he is hearing as well as news that has dropped and more.