You’ve heard about the Zack Snyder Cut of Justice League for two years now. You’ve also no doubt heard of the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement. But what exactly could releasing it mean for DC Films? More than that, what does it mean for a studio like Warner Bros. that stresses the director-driven nature of its films? Well, let’s have a discussion.
It’s no secret that what fans saw in theaters on November 17, 2017 was not a Justice League envisioned by Zack Snyder. Fans, critics, and bloggers alike have dissected the film to death and continue to this day. But the DC Extended Universe didn’t just stop or go on hiatus. We’ve had Aquaman, Shazam!, and the path ahead continues with upcoming DC projects like Birds of Prey, Black Adam, The Flash, The Batman, and Wonder Woman 1984, to name a few.
So many have asked why it matters at this point that the Zack Snyder cut of Justice League see the light of day? Hasn’t Warner Bros. moved on? Well, sure, the studio has, as seen with the aforementioned films and the recent billion dollar juggernaut that is Joker, but this is about more than just seeing another take of a Zack Snyder film.
Put Justice League aside for a moment. Let’s think back to other DC-related director’s cuts of Zack Snyder’s films: Watchmen and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. For my money, on their own, the films are fine, but the Director’s Cut and Ultimate Edition fill in some gaps and add more meat to the story. In the case of BvS, the Ultimate Edition actually answers questions left unanswered by the theatrical cut. Not to mention it’s just a better overall film than the theatrical cut.
Unlike the Marvel Cinematic Universe or what the DC Extended Universe is now, Zack Snyder envisioned the films going in an arc with a definitive end in sight. Sure, the door could be left open, but like Lord of the Rings, there was a clear end goal. Justice League was just part one in what was intended to be a five part arc. Obviously, from Aquaman and onward, it’s clear that the DCEU will stretch well beyond five films. But let’s speculate. Not about what the Zack Snyder Cut of Justice League would look like had it been released, but what the positive impact this cut could have on the rest of the DC Extended Universe. Could there be more connectivity in the Zack Snyder Cut than we knew? Could other DCEU films by other directors benefit from its release if it adds to their story?
Continuation of Original Vision
As mentioned, this isn’t me speculating how the Snyder Cut would look, but at the very least, fans of Zack Snyder’s approach to storytelling and handling of the DC characters could see his vision continue in his Justice League cut. Rather than the Frankenstein-blend of Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon’s styles, you get a story that maintains the tone established in Man of Steel. But it’s important to note that the regime responsible for fumbling Justice League is, for the most part, gone.
Geoff Johns isn’t as involved with the films as he once was, Kevin Tsujihara is out, and Toby Emmerich has been promoted to a position that, hopefully, wouldn’t lead to the meddling of DC films that we saw with Zack Snyder and David Ayer (more on Ayer later). Given that the old regime claimed Whedon had been brought on to continue Snyder’s vision, which proved to be utter nonsense, doubtful anyone will miss them. So the old regime is gone and we’re now in the era of Ann Sarnoff and Walter Hamada.
All things considered, in a post-Justice League world, James Wan and David F. Sandberg had complete autonomy with their films. The same presumably will apply to Cathy Yan, Ava DuVernay, Matt Reeves, Andy Muschietti, and so on. Given that Zack Snyder’s films kicked off this universe, coupled with the campaign gaining steam, his cut of Justice League would at least continue his story as originally envisioned, even with there being other films not part of his plan. It’s anyone’s guess if we see the completion or conclusion of his arc, though.
Connectivity to Other DC Films, Characters
This one really depends on each DC film, so it’s a bit tricky. But the best and only example to go off is Aquaman. Early on, Arthur Curry tells Mera something that he says he already stated to Vulko. Willem Dafoe’s Vulko was originally intended to appear in the Zack Snyder cut of Justice League, but that wasn’t the case. However, the inclusion of the line in James Wan’s film makes it clear that it’s acknowledging a Justice League film that was not shown in theaters.
But beyond Aquaman, we know that General Swanwick was meant to be revealed as Martian Manhunter in the Snyder Cut of Justice League. Henry Cavill continually teased Green Lantern to no end. Whatever the case, we were no doubt going to see more heroes, whether with cameo appearances or otherwise, beyond the core League. Since Aquaman has a reference to the Snyder Cut of Justice League, what could that mean for other films?
Take Ava DuVernay’s New Gods, for example. Darkseid was meant to appear in Justice League, but could his appearance have been a tease to what role he may play in New Gods? Or The Flash, maybe? Kiersey Clemons was completely axed from the theatrical version, but her appearance as Iris West in the Snyder Cut could be a tease for her greater role in the Flash solo movie, similar to the brief appearance of Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May in Captain America: Civil War.
As much as many talk about the metahuman files scene in Batman v Superman just being an easy setup for Justice League, there was at least payoff for that in the film itself. The same could easily be said for characters or plot points introduced in the Snyder Cut of Justice League that, like Aquaman, could be paid off in future DC films. If the director chooses to, anyway.
After all, while Shazam! exists in a post-Justice League world, it’s certainly not influenced by anything in the Snyder Cut or even Justice League in general. As far as we can tell, anyway. So really, it comes down to the discretion of the director.
Cyborg Course Correction
How’s that for alliteration? If anyone suffered the most from Whedon’s reshoots of Justice League, it’s Ray Fisher’s Cyborg. Meant to be the heart of the film in the Zack Snyder cut, Cyborg had the majority of his character arc gutted and had no more huge moments of character development than Barry Allen.
Ray Fisher has arguably been as much of a cheerleader for the Zack Snyder cut of Justice League as Jason Momoa, so the Zack Snyder Cut would rectify the changes made to Cyborg’s character arc and leave him in an arguably better place in the DC film universe than the theatrical cut did.
There’s a catch: as Zack Snyder has revealed, Silas Stone was meant to die in the original cut of Justice League. Per the theatrical cut, Silas is very much alive by film’s end. So if the events of the Zack Snyder cut of Justice League are to be canonical, then we would have to lose Silas Stone in the process. This would leave Victor Stone in a much more tragic place, but still a position where he could grow.
Plus, we know that in the Snyder Cut of Justice League, Barry Allen uses time travel to change the past. Could Silas Stone’s revival be part of that equation? That I can’t answer since I haven’t seen the Snyder Cut, and neither have you, so I don’t know how Cyborg’s character arc is resolved. What I do know is Cyborg had a chunk of his arc removed through Whedon’s reshoots.
Zack Snyder’s posts about the role Victor played show a more prominent role that could set him on a more defined path at the end of his cut of Justice League. Ray Fisher’s fighting spirit certainly hasn’t dwindled, so his passion to see Cyborg’s fully fleshed arc in the Snyder Cut won’t die out anytime soon.
More Pull for Another Superman Solo Film?
Henry Cavill recently came out and said that Justice League, in his mind, didn’t work. I’d imagine many would agree that what Joss Whedon had in store for the Man of Steel clashes with the DC arc Zack Snyder had intended for the character. Clark’s arc from Man of Steel to BvS to Justice League would bring him closer to fully realizing his role as Superman.
In BvS, Superman had to contend with a world divided on how to view him. He doubted himself, claiming that his world didn’t exist anymore, found a formidable challenge in the form of Lex Luthor, and faced a threat in the form of the Gotham Bat. He made the ultimate sacrifice by giving his life to destroy Doomsday, telling Lois beforehand that she was his world, and died in the process. Zack Snyder’s Justice League was to be his resurrection.
The execution of it all, though, clearly wasn’t what Zack Snyder had envisioned. As such, combined with many gatekeepers still pining for a Superman akin to what Richard Donner did, this could explain why Warner Bros. has cold feet on another Superman standalone film. We’ve got the aforementioned DC films in development, a film on The Trench, but nothing for the Man of Steel.
Obviously Henry Cavill isn’t going to just sit around and wait, which is why he’s taken on other roles in the interim, as seen with The Witcher. That said, he’s also said that the cape is still in his closet and he wants to continue playing the role. Coming out and saying #ReleaseTheSnyderCut in Cavill’s situation is different compared to Gadot, Momoa, Fisher, or Affleck. He’s promoting and focusing on The Witcher now and chances are Netflix wouldn’t like to see him advertising something for a competitor.
Keep in mind that this is an entirely different scenario than during Comic-Con 2017 when Ben Affleck stated that he would continue on. Leading up to Justice League, it’s doubtful that he’d deny at Hall H that he was out, much as we would’ve wanted to see him continue on in the DC Universe.
But there’s plenty of passion on Cavill’s side, combined with his admiration of what Zack Snyder did with Man of Steel and BvS. I say this all to say that the Snyder Cut of Justice League could flesh out Superman’s return and continuation of his character arc. This, in turn, could increase the demand for another Superman solo film, especially depending on where Clark and Lois’ arc ends.
There are a lot of variables at play here, though, such as who would make it out of the Snyder Cut of Justice League alive. Zack Snyder revealed that, originally, Lois was to die at the hands of Darkseid. It’s entirely possible that she’s revived by the end of the film via time travel, but playing with death takes Lois and Clark’s relationship to a deeper level now that both, technically, would have died and been brought back.
While you may not have seen Henry Cavill send out an Instagram post in support of the Snyder Cut of Justice League, it’s clear that he’s on board with what Zack Snyder intended for the Man of Steel. So if there’s justice for Superman in the Snyder Cut, and if Warner Bros. did allow Zack Snyder or someone like J.J. Abrams or Christopher McQuarrie to direct a Superman film, then there’s a prime opportunity to continue on from where the Zack Snyder Cut leaves Clark.
David Ayer’s Cut of Suicide Squad?
One could make the argument that Warner Brothers’ treatment of David Ayer’s Suicide Squad was worse than what Zack Snyder went through for Justice League. In the case of Ayer, his film was finished and ready to go until Warner Bros. got cold feet and reacted too hastily to the critical reception of Batman v Superman. As such, David Ayer’s film, which did still went on to make a profit and win an Academy Award to boot, was changed.
You can chart the film’s changes going back to the very first Comic-Con trailer in 2015, which looked to have a more serious take compared to the more light-hearted approaches in subsequent trailers. That’s not to say you can’t do humor in serious films. Even a comic book film as bleak as Logan has moments of levity. But by the time Suicide Squad was released, the writing was on the wall that Warner Bros. had interfered, as they later would with Justice League.
Since then, David Ayer has held no ill will towards the studio that altered his film. In recent months, though, he’s become more vocal about what his take on Suicide Squad might have been. Much like Zack Snyder has done with Justice League, Ayer has shared behind-the-scenes images of Joker and Harley Quinn from scenes we never saw in Suicide Squad.
Reading between the lines for Birds of Prey, it’s also evident that Ayer considers Harley Quinn’s arc in that film a continuation of where she would have ended up at the end of the original Suicide Squad. So consider this: Ayer’s original take on the film was ready to go until changed at the last second. Just as fans are fighting for the Zack Snyder Cut of Justice League, they will no doubt do the same with Ayer’s cut of Suicide Squad.
How could they not? Ayer has had no problem offering explanations about what his cut would have been. Whether it would be radically different from what we got, we won’t know until we watch it. But it’s guaranteed to at least have more focus on Joker and Harley Quinn’s relationship. Given how little we ultimately saw of Jared Leto in the role of The Joker, it’d be an opportunity to see more of the actor in Suicide Squad, rather than the glimpses we got.
To be clear, I’m not saying that the movement of #ReleaseTheAyerCut is as large as or of the same magnitude as #ReleaseTheSnyderCut. Not yet. However, for those who want Warner Bros. to stick to creator-driven films, there’s no doubt that after attaining the Snyder Cut of Justice League, fans would soon shift their focus from Zack Snyder to righting the wrongs put on David Ayer and bringing his cut of Suicide Squad to light.
The Fans Aren’t Alone In This
A year ago, you could — and many still do — write off supporters of the Zack Snyder Cut of Justice League as a cult or group of zealots. They’ve heard it all and no doubt will continue to endure. The same goes for the number of reasons or excuses folks not in favor of the cut have suggested: It doesn’t exist. It exists, but it’s not finished. It’s finished, but Warner Bros. will never release it. Okay, even if they release it, the movie will still be bad. Snyder and his fans are just seeking attention. And so on.
The list goes on as people continue to push the goalpost, even if you’re one of those people reading this very piece now. You know the ones. The ones who deride Zack Snyder’s take on Superman for not being a carbon copy of what Richard Donner and Christopher Reeve created. The ones saying that Batman’s portrayal in Dawn of Justice was too dark for their tastes, despite that being a part of Bruce’s arc back towards the light. The ones who were so vocal that Justice League should be a carbon copy of The Avengers, but upon getting exactly what they wanted, found that nobody liked that final result.
Depending on who you ask, who writes the article, and the general position of the sun, you’ll get different takes on the fandom standing behind Zack Snyder. The difference, especially now more than ever, is that it’s not just the fans making noise. Before, you might get the occasional blue check mark on Twitter to chime in, whether in support or to give a snarky response. Now? Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, former DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Joe Manganiello, David Ayer, Elinore Stone actress Karen Bryson, Christina Wren.
Unconvinced? Let’s go beyond the DCEU. Dave Bautista, Rob Liefeld, Kevin Smith, Jackie Earl Haley, Shang-Chi star Simu Liu, God of War animator and director Cory Barlog, X-Men star Stefan Kapičić, Watchmen showrunner Damon Lindelof. And those are just the ones you can find through a cursory search online. You can attempt to write off the fans all you’d like, as Warner Bros. has done, but those voices right there? That carries weight. Given that we’ve never seen Gal Gadot or Ben Affleck acknowledge or tweet about the Zack Snyder Cut, those two voices alone speak volumes.
As mentioned, Ray Fisher and Jason Momoa have been in the trenches for much longer, and you can cut Ezra Miller some slack because he doesn’t use social media. As time goes on, the number of voices will just grow, not just in number, but more vocal. When local news, The Washington Post, the New York Times, just to name a few, are reporting on the Zack Snyder Cut of Justice League, even if through the lens of the A-list stars who tweeted about it, then you know people are beginning to take notice. Plus, you know a lot of the higher profile actors associated with Warner Bros. probably had to get clearance to tweet with that hashtag.
Coupled with the philanthropic efforts of the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement taking up the fight for suicide prevention and you’ve got a movement fueled by passionate fans who will keep fighting for a cut that, yes, exists. What you may think of it isn’t in the cards until you’ve seen it. The same goes for those who aren’t about to let Warner Bros. off the hook, even two years after Justice League original release.
After all, you saw the number of people tweeting #RehireJamesGunn and getting a billboard to convince Disney to reinstate James Gunn as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. You saw the number of #SaveSpiderMan or #BoycottSony tweets when the Sony/Disney Spider-Man deal fell through. Heck, I’m sure you’d find fans who want to see the original cuts of Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four or Simon Kinberg’s Dark Phoenix.
So why should the circumstances change when it comes to the Zack Snyder Cut of Justice League? The answer is they shouldn’t. I’m not trying to convince you of anything — just giving a perspective. There’s a reason fans still talk about and discover things about Batman v Superman to this day, even if you’re just popping in to beat the dead horse that is “Martha.” Conversely, there’s a reason that Justice League is brought up now — not for what it was, but for what it could and should have been. It’s to make fun of scenes like Flash falling on Diana, Bruce’s “I don’t not” to Superman, and of course, Mustache-gate.
Right now, it’s merely a waiting game to when fans and haters alike will finally be able to watch Zack Snyder Cut’s of Justice League. Because you know that even those who don’t believe in its existence or think the film will still be bad will still look at it out of curiosity, hate-watch it, or look at clips of it on YouTube. Either way, people will tune in. Until then, those annoying voices you want to just go away aren’t leaving anytime soon, so you may as well strap in and stick around.
In time, they shall continue to fight to see the Zack Snyder Cut of Justice League join them in the sun.
But what do you think? Are you one of those advocating for the release of the Zack Snyder Cut of Justice League? Are you one of those wanting people to just move on? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and stay tuned for more news on DC and the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement.
Black Lightning Joins Arrowverse Heroes In New ‘Crisis On Infinite Earths’ Photos
The CW has released new Crisis on Infinite Earths photos featuring Cress Williams as Black Lightning with the rest of the Arrowverse cast.
The CW's next crossover event will adapt the classic Crisis on Infinite Earths comic book story, in which several versions of DC heroes joined forces to protect the multiverse from the Anti-Monitor. As a result, certain television characters who previously remained in their own pocket of the universe will be able to join the rest of the Arrowverse cast for the five-part crossover, including Cress Williams' Black Lightning.
Now, The CW has released a new collection of photos from the Flash episode of Crisis on Infinite Earths that reveal Black Lightning interacting with the Arrowverse heroes. In addition to the photos of Black Lightning, the new collection also offers a new look at Vibe's return, Batwoman and Lex Luthor in a physical altercation, and Brandon Routh's Kingdom Come Superman.
Check out the first new photo of Black Lightning below and click "Next" to view the rest of the gallery.
Crisis On Infinite Earths will span two quarters and consist of Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and Batwoman. The Arrowverse crossover will launch with three episodes in December before concluding with two additional episodes in January.
In addition to the regular cast members of each Arrowverse series, Crisis on Infinite Earths will also feature appearances by Tyler Hoechlin as Superman, Brandon Routh as Clark Kent/Superman and Ray Palmer/The Atom, LaMonica Garrett as the Anti-Monitor, Jon Cryer as Lex Luthor, Tom Cavanagh as Pariah, Elizabeth Tulloch as Lois Lane, Cress Williams as Black Lightning, Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne, Johnathon Schaech as Jonah Hex, Erica Durance as Lois Lane, Tom Welling as Clark Kent / Superman, Ashley Scott Will as Huntress, and Burt Ward in an undisclosed role.
Stay tune for the latest news on Black Lightning in Crisis on Infinite Earths as it develops!