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Zack Snyder's Justice League: Explaining the 'Snyder Cut'

by Andrew Siddall. Published Thu 21 May 2020 18:27, last updated: 23/08/20
Zack Snyder's Justice League
Zack Snyder's Justice League

If you follow Warner Bros. on social media, chances are you’ve come across a large amount of comments saying #ReleaseTheSnyderCut. This has been going on for almost three years, at the time of writing. But it appears as though those pleas have been heard, with the official release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League planned for 2021.

Justice League was released in 2017 and saw the likes of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman teaming up to save the world from an intergalactic threat known as Steppenwolf. It was the fifth movie in DC’s Extended Universe (DCEU) and was set to be the first of a two part Justice League story.

Under the direction of Zack Snyder (Watchmen, 300), the DCEU was a much darker and grittier journey into the world of DC Comics than previously seen on the big screen.

The movies were highly successful, but unsurprisingly garnered controversy through characterisation, colour desaturation, and a general moody tone that didn’t suit certain characters.

In recent years, it appears as though Warner Bros. have rectified these issues with the likes of Aquaman (2018) and Shazam! (2019).

In March 2017, personal tragedy forced Zack Snyder to step down from directing duties, leaving before reshoots and alternate scenes could enter production. Joss Whedon, most famous for his work on ensemble movies such as Marvel’s The Avengers and Serenity, was brought in to polish new script pages, and ultimately ended up directing those scenes too.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. production chief Toby Emmerich stated that the additional directing was “minimal” and it had to “adhere to the same tone and template that Zack set”.

This didn’t quite go to plan, with Joss adding more humour and a lighter tone. This certainly made it more entertaining and fun with some great comic book moments, such as the Flash racing Superman, but in other scenes the reshoots stood out far too much, such as Henry Cavill’s now infamous CGI chin.

Even certain individual scenes had moments where it was very obvious one part was shot by Joss, and the other was shot by Zack, such as Barry Allen’s first scene with Bruce Wayne.

The theatrical movie didn’t reach the expectations that fans had, and the critic response was once again mixed. The movie made $657 million worldwide, which isn’t anywhere near what was anticipated.

Not long after the release, fans began to rally together, demanding that Warner Bros. release Snyder’s version of the film. This campaign included relentless social media comments and posts, a banner flown over large events and Warner Bros. HQ, ads in magazines and even a small protest.

Officially, Snyder never properly finished his version of the film, with it being more of a rough cut that was shown to friends and colleagues before reshoots were developed, which is said to be almost 4 hours long.

Reports and Snyder himself have revealed details about what was included to make this version different, including more from the Green Lantern Corps, a small sequence with Darkseid, and an answer to the mystery of Martian Manhunter.

Few believed this version of the movie would ever be released, since it was never finished. But during a watch party of Man of Steel on Twitter, Zack revealed the movie is officially on the way, via Warner Bros. streaming service, HBO Max in 2021.

Since the movie was never officially finished, Snyder is said to be re-assembling members of the post-production team who worked on his version to finish and add more effects, along with new score. It is unclear if any of the actors will be returning to record new dialogue, with many of them no longer available. This is said to cost between $20-30 million to complete.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, it will either be released as one long director’s cut or possibly as a mini-series.

At this point in time, the only details are that it is releasing next year on HBO Max, which will be a problem for residents of the UK as HBO Max is not available, and no release date has been confirmed.

It is unlikely this will answer all of the questions that fans have had since Batman V Superman, so it might not be a satisfying experience as many believe it will be. After a very long wait, we can only hope the finished product will be worth it.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be released in 2021.


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