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Zack Snyder crowned Justice Con on Saturday by opening up to fans about all things related to the hugely hyped, long-awaited release of his fabled director’s cut of Justice League. And nothing he revealed about the upcoming expanded version got the internet buzzing like the super-brief video teaser of the Man of Steel sporting a sleek new look in black.
Snyder introduced the short teaser during his online panel chat at Justice Con, showing Superman (Henry Cavill, sans mustache of course) descending in his monochromatic duds to pay a visit to Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons). It’s over almost as soon as it begins, and Snyder qualified that the clip wasn’t TV-ready. But it lingered on Cavill just long enough to give us a good first peek at the newly-arisen Superman’s sense of style:
In a far-ranging chat about how the Snyder cut wended its way from a fan-based hashtag campaign to a full-blown project that’ll air at HBO Max, Snyder kept the tone upbeat and positive. Staying well away from Cyborg actor Ray Fisher's recent allegations that Joss Whedon (who directed the movie's theatrical release) was difficult to work with, Snyder did double down on his previous confession that he’s never seen that 2017 version of the film. And he was adamant that every second of his forthcoming version will be footage that he can call his own.
“There would be no chance on Earth,” he said, that he’d use any shot for the expanded Justice League that came from any creative vision “after I left the movie…I would set it on fire before I would use a single frame that I could not photograph.” Any footage in the new version that harkens back to the Whedon-directed film, he explained, is simply an artifact of his own input on the project before relinquishing the director’s chair to Whedon in the wake of a family tragedy.
While that might sound a little emphatic in print, it was clear from Snyder’s chat that his version of the film — “a labor of love,” as he described it — is all about having full control over his own creative vision, and not an effort to revise anyone else’s work. He’s been excited about the expanded version of Justice League for a long time; so long, in fact, that he even joked he’d fantasized about sneaking into last year’s San Diego Comic-Con and surprising fans with an unauthorized preview clip.
“I’d thought about trying to sneak into Hall H and bribing the AV guy, just to see what would happen,” Snyder joked, noting that a final name for the HBO Max version of the film still hasn’t been decided — for “legal reasons.”
With fan questions pouring in during his hour-long live chat, Snyder stayed coy about whether the Green Lantern could make a surprise appearance, and only briefly mentioned the appearance of Uxas — the young version of Darkseid (Ray Porter) whom he’s previously teased on social media. But he did linger on the new look he’s working on for Steppenwolf — the movie’s main antagonist, and a big source of grief for some fans when he first showed up onscreen in the theatrical release.
Creating the new Steppenwolf, in fact, has dominated a lot of his focus on the new film. But the results, he said, will be worth it: “He’s just — he’s scary and cool,” said Snyder. “He’s a spiky f***er, I’m telling ya…He just wants Darkseid to accept him and take him back.”
Snyder’s deep affection for the project led him into a discussion of why he’s embracing the more TV-friendly screen format that’ll bring the final product closer to the iMax aspect ratio he fell in love with after watching Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice on a 10-story-tall screen. “It really got me sort of obsessed with the ‘big square,’” he explained, noting that superheroes like Superman seem more imposing and, well, heroic when their vertical stature is played up onscreen. “[For the director’s cut], everything’s composed and shot that way — and a lot of the restoration…[is] putting those big squares back.”
“It’s a completely different version of an aesthetic — and that’s a lot of the work that we’re doing, is trying to restore the full frame. It’s literally a restoration project in that way,” he said.
The still-unnamed Snyder cut release of Justice League is slated to premiere at HBO Max sometime next year.