Extended Editions have been around for quite a long time. Films from many genres sometimes release separate versions of the final product, often known as Director’s Cuts or something similar. One notable example of a film that has multiple alternate versions is the iconic 1982 movie, Blade Runner, which has five available cuts of the same film.
The alternate versions are sometimes made to give the film a different view or take on the material, such as the upcoming Mad Max Fury Road “Black and Chrome Edition,” which will be a black and white version of the film you’ve already seen. With Blade Runner, the alternate versions attempted to capture Ridley Scott’s original vision, culminating in the 2007 release of “The Final Cut,” which is the only version that Scott oversaw during the entire editing process.
This week, it was announced that a new extended version of Suicide Squad will be released. This extended version of the film will add about 13 minutes back into the film, the highlight of which will be the expanded upon scenes of the Joker. Personally, I really did enjoy the film, but there was a lot of controversy surrounding the release of Suicide Squad when it was discovered that a lot of material was cut, including important scenes featuring Jared Leto’s performance as the Joker.
This extended cut will hopefully include many of those scenes, but it is an interesting decision considering the fact that DC’s other film this year released an extended version as well. The director of Suicide Squad, David Ayer, has stated that the theatrical version is his vision, but that begs the question: why will there be a new cut of the film? The superhero film genre doesn’t have many examples of extended editions being released (at least to this extent), so what does this mean for DC? How will this affect their upcoming releases?
The critical reception for both Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad was poor, but with the release of Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition, the critics and fans seemed to like it much better. Many of them wondered why so much was cut at all if Ultimate Edition was supposedly better all along.
If Suicide Squad receives the same treatment, in that it is essentially improved by its extended cut, then that probably proves Warner Bros. felt it necessary to release these new versions in order to make up for their theatrical errors. This can easily be interpreted as an admission of fault from Warner Bros., even.
Now, accepting blame for bad filmmaking isn’t as common as you might think, so there seems to be a lack in confidence from this studio in the ability of filmmakers they’ve chosen to helm their superhero films. This lack of faith and confidence also makes it hard for future talent to perform at their best, based on what’s happened to the directors, writers, and producers before them. In the business of film, you must push forward and stick to the decisions that have been made in order to be successful, even if you are afraid of how the audience and critics might react.
The main question that is on a lot of people’s minds is whether or not this will happen to Justice League, Wonder Woman, or any of the DCEU’s other future films. The answer to that question has yet to be determined, but the very fact that Warner Bros. seems to be admitting fault makes me think that they’re learning from their mistakes. The first step to fixing a problem is realizing there is one in the first place. Warner Bros. has essentially apologized by releasing these alternate versions, which can be seen as good news, overall.
Extended versions of films are sometimes nice and even better than the theatrical product. But they can also be a sign of studio interference and bad decision-making on the part of the studio. And the best thing that we as fans can hope for is that they no longer feel the need to correct themselves by adding all of the cut content back on home video releases, because all of the moments and scenes that need to be in the film are left intact without too much studio oversight and meddling.
I have hope that this can be a new age of great DC films, and we may even see these films receive the favorable reception that we know they deserve. Batman v Superman’s Ultimate Edition has already proven that without studio interference, the DC films really can make special contributions to the comic book film genre, and I hope that future entries can shine as bright as they should.