The black and white version of Zack Snyder's Justice League — subtitled "Justice is Gray" — will play on big screens for a one-time limited event this summer. A trio of IMAX screenings in New York City, Los Angeles, and Austin are scheduled for Monday July 19 at 6 p.m. local time. Snyder himself confirmed the news at a Justice Con panel Saturday evening and went on to state that he hopes to secure a wide theatrical release sometime in the fall (although there are no official plans as of right now). All proceeds for the exclusive July event (only 75 pairs of tickets are being raffled off) will benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
"I'm excited for you guys to get a chance to see this crazy movie on the big screen. And by 'big screen,' I mean absolutely, ridiculously big screen," Snyder said. "I've seen the movie at Universal CityWalk, and it is ridiculously insane."
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Snyder also dished on his preferred cut of the DC blockbuster, shedding some more light on the extra content he shot for the four-and-a-half hour epic. In particular, he discussed the short conversation between Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) and Martian Manhunter (Harry Lennix), which takes place at the tail end of the film. It turns out that Bruce was originally supposed to meet two members of the Green Lantern Corps: John Stewart (Wayne T. Carr) and Kilowog.
Carr's performance as Stewart was filmed in Snyder's driveway against Warner Bros.' wishes. The studio requested that the character be removed and apparently made it clear that there were no current plans for a new standalone Green Lantern film project. In all likelihood, WB probably didn't want to prematurely introduce a pair of Lanterns ahead of its HBO Max series about the ring-wearing protectors of the galaxy (lest audiences get confused). As a result, Martian Manhunter was brought in as a cosmic pinch hitter.
"I was like, 'I don't want to take a person of color out of this movie. I'm not going to do it,'" Snyder admitted to Esquire in March. "But I felt like having Harry Lennix's Martian Manhunter at the end was, that was okay."
Snyder's driveway was also used for the small scene in which Martha Kent (Diane Lane) transforms into Calvin Swanwick, but due to pandemic restrictions, Lennix had to film his lines to Batman at a sound stage on the East Coast.
"I thought we were gonna do much the same, using natural light, which is great in California. I was all set to go, but the COVID thing was really weird. There had to be all these assurances, insurance-wise. It was something they were determined to do and figured out the mechanics of how to shoot that with me in New York," Lennix said during a Justice Con panel that spotlighted his acting career. "Zack was on a tele-machine on the other end of a Zoom call, basically, and giving me directions. It took an hour at most. [The application of CGI/motion capture dots] took some time and then we did various takes of it. I must have done 12 or 13 takes of it, and I knew that Ben was gonna be doing his part later. Originally, we were gonna be in it together, but it didn't turn out that way, and it didn't have to be... This is the wonder of modern filmmaking and I think in many ways, it was a kind of proof of concept. That you could still do great entertainment, even in COVID times, with everybody being safe or feeling secure in the sense that they're not exposed to each other's germs."
Nevertheless, footage of John Stewart does exist, which means — and we can't believe we're about to say this — the potential for yet another Snyder Cut is out there.
"I don't know," Snyder said three times when asked if we'll ever get to see Carr rocking a glowing CGI suit (sorry, Deadpool). "It was COVID and we couldn't really do a real suit," he explained. "The mandate was to make it look as physical and real as possible. I was very confident that even if we were to see him again and we had to make him a real suit, it had to match exactly what we were doing. So, it we wouldn't have this thing of like, 'Oh, he was in the one suit and now he's in [the other]' ... It had potential to work out very well."
Kilowog — who was previously portrayed by the late Michael Clarke Duncan in 2011's Green Lantern with Ryan Reynolds — does appear in Cyborg's ominous vision of an Earth conquered by Darkseid. But since the famed Lantern from Bolovax Vik lies dead amongst the ruins of the Hall of Justice, Snyder didn't have to cast anyone in the role. When one of the panel moderators suggested that Dave Bautista (star of Snyder's Army of the Dead), would be perfect, the director jokingly said: "That's a pretty good idea. I'll ask him tomorrow. Not that we'd ever have to do that, but ... Maybe we'll make a fan film."
The regular and "Justice is Gray" versions of Zack Snyder's Justice League are now available to stream on HBO Max.