Even with the Snyder Cut clocking in at just over four-hours-long, there's more to the filmmaker's Justice League saga... a lot more.
Before he left production in 2017, Zack Snyder originally planned to make an entire trilogy about the DC team. While the group is successful in defeating Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), they were to find that his boss, Darkseid (Ray Porter), is a more formidable opponent. In the second installment, Lois Lane (Amy Adams) was going to die, effectively pushing Superman (Henry Cavill) over the edge and allowing him to fall prey to Darkseid's influence by way of the Anti-Life Equation.
With the Man of Steel now at his side, the New God easily conquers the Earth, murdering Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Aquaman (Jason Momoa) in the process. Batman (Ben Affleck) leads a band of post-apocalyptic rebels (Cyborg, Flash, Mera, Deathstroke, and Joker) as they launch a daring mission to steal a Mother Box and use it to power the cosmic treadmill. Barry (Ezra Miller) is then sent back in time and warns Bruce about Lois being "the key" (the dream in BvS).
Ultimately, however, the Caped Crusader sacrifices his own life to save Clark's soul.
"I had just assumed that the final movie was going to be very much a Superman movie," Snyder recently explained to Esquire. "Like, the final chapter was going to be a large percentage of Superman to just bookend the whole thing. Because if Batman died, it would have very much fallen on Superman to be the de facto leader."
Despite the ominous visions had by Bruce and Cyborg (Ray Fisher), Wonder Woman and Aquaman would have lived to see the third entry. How? Time travel...we think. Snyder didn't break down some of the finer points. Anyway, Diana is now queen of Themyscira, while Arthur assumes control of all Atlantean forces in a direct parallel to the original "Age of Heroes" when the planet's various defenders thwarted Darkseid the first time around.
"Superman, basically, is going to be the head of the Justice League and the Armies of Men. And so, Superman would have gone from this kind of berserker Superman to a benevolent Superman," Snyder continued. "Superman has the hugest arc of everybody because he goes from like the main villain to like the main hero. And that struck me as just really cool and fun and like a really interesting trajectory for him. Because I think traditionally, Superman is one of those characters that people don't see as changing a lot. You know what I mean? He's kind of a rock that everyone props against and I just thought, how cool would it be to make our Superman the character that goes on the most incredible journey."
Right now, Snyder is pretty far removed from the DCEU, which has marched on without him these past few years (unless you count his work as a producer on films like Wonder Woman 1984). He's now at Netflix, building out an Army of the Dead universe, but who knows? The reactions to the director's four-hour cut of Justice League have actually defied all expectations, appeasing both die-hard fans and veteran naysayers. It's not out of the realm of possibility that the studio would allow Snyder to finish out his trilogy, even if the completed story stands apart as its own Elseworlds-type beast. The Mother Box is now open — for better or worse.
"I would love it, man," Snyder's longtime sound designer/editor Scott Hecker tells SYFY WIRE when asked about a potential sequel. "I think it’d be great and I know Zack has got a lot more of this stuff ready to go. His mind never stops, just to hear him talking about other projects too that he’s thinking about. It’s just amazing what a creative mind he is."
"In my first meeting with Zack — before I even had the job — he was telling me all about the second movie," recalls Justice League cinematographer Fabian Wagner. "He’s got the whole story in his head, he’s got it all planned out. It was incredible to hear all about what was going to come after ... I don’t think there’s anyone who loves this universe more than Zack and he’s so detailed. The love for detail and these characters that he has is amazing. The one thing that I can say is that whatever Zack will come up with in the future, if it’s related to this universe, it’s gonna be pretty awesome."
Zack Snyder's Justice League is now streaming on HBO Max. A black and white version entitled "Justice is Gray" (the director's preferred way to view the film) is also coming to the WarnerMedia-owned platform.