The legendary Snyder Cut — the one that inspired casual DC Extended Universe fans to join a massive and complicated social media campaign that's raised money for charity, pushed for the film's release, and harassed people like former DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson off of Twitter entirely — is happening for real. This is a boon for those who've been replying "#ReleaseTheSnyderCut" to any Warner Bros. or DC-related post since the original film hit the box office.
But now that fans have their reality, what does it mean — and what's really going to be included in this cut of Justice League?
The fervor behind the Snyder Cut of Justice League came about because Zack Snyder, the filmmaker behind DCEU-establishing Man of Steel and 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, dropped out of production on the Avengers-like team-up film midway through because of the death of his daughter. That left WB to replace him with the actual director of The Avengers, Joss Whedon. Not only did this ruffle some DC vs. Marvel feathers, but also upset the fandom's perceived auteurist streak of Snyder. Whedon reshot and rewrote much of the film, meaning that the then-released disappointment had the potential to be fulfilling...but only if Snyder was given his day.
What's coming to HBO Max
During a live-screening of Man of Steel, Snyder and his producing partner/wife Deborah Snyder were joined by a few select fans and Superman actor Henry Cavill for a very special Zoom announcement: HBO Max had greenlit Zack Snyder's Justice League, and it was coming to fans in 2021. It was clear. It is happening. What was less clear is what exactly that entails. Current reports detail that the Snyders aren't yet decided on the format for the project — teased via a black-and-white poster — and it could be anything between a gigantic "four-hour director's cut" movie or a miniseries of sorts "split into six 'chapters.'"
We also know that it's estimated that it'll cost WB somewhere between $20-30M to finish. There will be plenty of VFX work to do, and the original cast will need to be involved in some way. Beyond that, all fans have to go on are what Snyder and crew have said over the years.
From Iris to Knightmares: What could be included?
Snyder has been teasing and hinting at scenes and stories he had included in his original script for Justice League, often posting storyboards or other art on his Vero account. That means fans can cobble together a decent idea of what differences might show up compared to the original film. Those that appeared in the movie have their own hopes. "For me, having just watched Man of Steel, this was such a big moment," Cavill said before the announcement. "I would love to see a version of Justice League without the mustache."
Superman might be getting a less CGI'd face (which originally occurred because during Justice League reshoots Cavill was under contract for a mustachioed role in Mission: Impossible - Fallout) and more time in the black supersuit in a deleted scene.
But Snyder's not teasing a shave, he's teasing whole cut sequences — like a second Darkseid-focused Knightmare to follow up on the one Batman had in Batman v Superman. Seen in the image here, the Hall of Justice would be submerged and destroyed, revealing an Omega symbol after a brief bit of terrifying terraforming.
And it's not just capital-S Story either — the characters of Justice League also had their arcs altered, truncated, or entirely erased in the final version's retooling. The latter applies to Cyborg's dad, Silas Stone (Joe Morton), who was supposed to get killed in a lab fight with Steppenwolf and whose assistant Ryan Choi (Zheng Kai) would've teased fans about the Atom.
Barry Allen would've been more of a character, helped in no small part by Iris West (Kiersy Clemmons' cameo was cut). Aquaman would get more of a lead-in to his solo movie. "In Zack's cut," Jason Momoa said, "We had it where I was with Vulko and Mera. I say that I have to go home because they say there's this force coming that I need to help. So I say I'm going home to see my dad."
Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello) would've existed, as he looks to be talking to a bald man (Lex Luthor, perhaps?) in another storyboard posted by Snyder:
And surprise, so would the Martian Manhunter, who's been posing as Secretary of Defense Calvin Swanwick (Harry Lennix) and even Superman's mom. But one of the key figures that should be rearing their ugly head in Zack Snyder's Justice League is the Big Bad: Darkseid. The villain was planned and teased throughout the film and was supposed to meet the League to set him up as the main antagonist...but he was cut to make the film more standalone, which meant fans had to settle for the underwhelming Steppenwolf.
Basically, if Snyder posted a small drawing of it in the last few years — where he documented everything from Motherboxes to the climactic third act battle — it might turn up in the new cut of the film. In fact, as Snyder said, "It will be an entirely new thing, and, especially talking to those who have seen the released movie, a new experience apart from that movie."
HBO Max drops on May 27, with Zack Snyder's Justice League coming sometime in 2021.