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There are many directors with stellar filmographies who could fill the programming of a three-day convention. But few filmmakers have the passionate fanbase that Zack Snyder has. It's the reason Justice Con exists. And this weekend, the second annual celebration of all things Zack Snyder will bring an all-star lineup of guests to the virtual weekend convention.
Ray Fisher, Joe Manganiello, Harry Lennix, Ray Porter, Samantha Win, Misha Bukowski, Zack Snyder's Justice League production designer Patrick Tatopoulos, and of course the Snyders, Zack and Deborah, will all be appearing at various points during the charity event, which begins Friday and is free. You can view all the panels and other events on the official Justice Con YouTube channel. All proceeds raised from merchandise sales, auctions, and donations will go directly to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
It's a "by the fans, for the fans" event, but it still requires an enormous amount of work. Because it takes more than a village to run a Justice Con — it takes a super trinity.
While Snyder is obviously the main draw, at the heart of the entire event are three fans who brought it to life and keep the trains running on time. Nana Queen, Cole Queen, and Wonder Meg are well-known streamers and dedicated fans who have somehow been able to put this virtual event together despite living hundreds of miles away from each other. Nana is even further, as she lives in the U.K. They say it takes a lot of emails, a lot of calls, and a lot of WhatsApp group chats to put it all together. They credit Vero, Snyder’s preferred social network, for helping to organizing the event and wrangle the impressive guest list.
The easiest part of the entire process? Getting the guest of honor to say yes.
"Zack was one of the first people we pitched when we came up with the event [last year]," Nana tells SYFY WIRE. "We weren't sure if it was even viable, if that was something that people would be interested in, if that was something that potential guests would be interested in."
Much like last year, the trio went directly to Snyder to pitch him on this year’s con. According to Nana, "We had a whole pitch and we went to Zack with it and he was on board right away."
"He was on board before we got the full pitch out," interjects Cole.
"He just said, 'Stop right there. I’m in,'" adds Meg.
Doing a Zoom conversation with three people often turns into an unwieldy mess, but this trio is so in sync that they almost finish each other's sentences. They are united by their fandom and affection for Snyder and his film projects. Given the strong reaction to Zack Snyder’s Justice League after its debut last month on HBO Max, they expect Justice Con to be a long-overdue victory lap following the culmination of the years-long #ReleasetheSnyderCut campaign. "I think the vibe for this year's convention is just celebrating," says Meg. "I mean, Saturday is just going to be celebrating Zack’s Justice League, and the cast and the crew that'll be there. It's just going to be a lot of fun."
She's not kidding. Saturday is an entire day dedicated to Snyder's four-hour opus. There will be panels featuring several stars of Zack Snyder's Justice League, including Ray Fisher in his first public appearance since he spoke in-depth about the alleged mistreatment he suffered during the Joss Whedon-led reshoots of Justice League in 2017. There is great interest to hear him discuss Cyborg's crucial (and much-expanded) role in Snyder's version. "I think that a lot of people connected with Cyborg a lot," Nana says. "I speak for the three of us because we found so many aspects of Cyborg that we could ... connect to. He was such a beautifully written and relatable character for a lot of us."
Harry Lennix, Mr. Martian Manhunter, will also be appearing on Saturday. Might we get more details on what the plans were for J'onn J'onzz in Snyder's vision for the DCU? Perhaps the most interesting panel may be Joe Manganiello's. The actor's appearance in Zack Snyder's Justice League was incredibly well received, so much so that fans have been clamoring for a Deathstroke HBO Max series. If there's one lesson we learned from the #SnyderCut movement, it's to never underestimate the power of an unshakeable fan base. Manganiello has also done everything but take out a billboard outside the Warner Bros. lot in L.A. to say, "Hey guys, let me keep playing Deathstroke!" And those details he shared about what his role in Ben Affleck's ill-fated Batman film would have been? They sound amazing.
Given how Warner Bros. seems to want to put the Snyderverse in its rearview, getting actors to take part in a convention celebrating it would seem to be quite the challenge. The Justice Con power trio say they have no idea what Saturday's guests plan to talk about, but they collectively would be surprised if the #RestoretheSnyderVerse momentum doesn't get a boost from this weekend. They point out that Manganiello agreed almost immediately to take part, thanks to some timely intervention by Snyder.
"We were on a Zoom call with Zack and he's like, 'Hang on, hang on. I'll go text him,'" Cole says. "And he starts texting him and he's sitting there texting for like a few minutes and we're sitting in silence and he looks up, he goes, 'Oh, hi. He's in.' So that one was actually pretty easy."
The organizers swear up and down they have no idea what footage or other goodies Snyder may reveal from his upcoming zombie-heist Netflix film Army of the Dead. That's part of the deal with working with the director on a convention dedicated to his work: Ultimately, he calls the shots. "With Zack, you never really know what to expect," Meg points out. "I mean, he says he's going to be there. So we're just like, all right, bring whatever, do whatever. We're ready."
The trio plan to continue to organize Justice Con as long as Snyder gives his blessing. But what about next year, when — fingers crossed — conventions should return. Would they want to program an in-person event? "There are some countries and communities that cannot afford or do not have the audience to have a convention," Cole says. "And for some people it costs like thousands of dollars to fly to a convention. That's part of what drove us to make Justice Con, was the fact that we could bring it to so many people."
Nana says that she would like to add an in-person component to the show in the future, but agrees that a virtual event gives many fans an opportunity they otherwise wouldn't have. "We [received] so many messages after last year where people were like, 'Thank you so much for doing this because I would have never been able to attend a convention if you guys didn't do it.' And that is kind of what drives us to do this."