Warner Bros.' superhero flick Justice League didn't exactly set the world on fire when it hit theaters back in 2017. However, a heavily rumored alternate Justice League Director's Cut - colloquially known as the "Snyder Cut" - has become a lightning rod for a certain subset of DC film fans.
Heading into Justice League, idiosyncratic director Zack Snyder - the man behind both 2013's Man of Steel and 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the former mastermind of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) - intended to continue with his vision of the characters from the previous two films, but a personal tragedy pulled him away from the project. After the lukewarm critical reception to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Bros. decided to bring writer/director Joss Whedon in to give the cash-cow franchise a lighter tone. Whedon, the man who directed the first two Avengers films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, rewrote parts of the script and directed extensive reshoots that drastically changed the original film.
When Justice League was ultimately released, a group of Snyder fans took to the internet to vent about the changes made to the project. However, instead of flaming out in subsequent years, the fervor over a "Snyder Cut" of Justice League has only intensified over time. Eventually, it became a reality, with Snyder taking back the reins for a four-hour Justice League that will drop on HBO Max on March 18, 2021.
June 2020: Snyder Offers A Sneak Peak Of His 'Justice League' Cut
May 2020: HBO Plans To Release The Snyder Cut In 2021
Following a virtual screening of 2013's Man of Steel and a follow-up Q&A on May 20, 2020, Zack Snyder announced that his version of Justice League will officially appear on HBO Max.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Snyder is reassembling his post-production team to score and edit the film, as well as finish and even add visual effects. The original actors may be brought back to record additional dialogue as well. Sources say the cost of the project could range from $20 million to $30 million, and may be released as one massive, four-hour movie or as a six-part series.
"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," Snyder told THR.
Deborah Snyder, Zack's wife and producing partner, added that, two years ago, it probably would not have been possible to make the Snyder cut a reality. "With the new platform [HBO Max] and streaming services, you can have something like this. You can’t release something like this theatrically, but you could with a streaming service."
In bringing the film (back) to life, the Snyders credit the fans for their continued support. "Clearly this wouldn’t be happening without them," Zack said. As he noted in a separate comment, "#ReleasetheSnyderCut is the most-tweeted hashtag about a movie that WB has ever made, but it’s a movie they’ve never released. It’s a weird stat but it’s cool."
The director also gave thanks to Warner Bros. for being willing to give the film another chance.
December 2019: Snyder Says 'Of Course' His Cut Exists
Snyder himself seemed to end all speculation on the question of the cut's existence with a social media post on December 4, 2019. The director posted a photo of canned film reels on his Vero with the caption, "Is it real? Does it exist? Of course it does." The cans read "JL: Director's Cut" and "Running Time: 214."
Snyder rounded out the month by sending out multiple behind-the-scenes Justice League photos on his Vero page, including one image of Henry Cavill's Superman with a caption that reads, "Drink from the chalice and be reborn."
It is unknown if Warner Bros. will ever release Snyder's version of Justice League, but its passionate fandom has already made it one of the most beloved films to never exist.
November 2019: Ben Affleck, Ray Fisher, And Gal Gadot Tweet #ReleaseTheSnyderCut
After two years of silence, more members of the Justice League decided to join the fray. On November 17 - the anniversary of the release date of Justice League - Gal Gadot came out in support of the "Snyder Cut," tweeting out a photo of herself with the popular hashtag #ReleaseTheSnyderCut. Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg, also tweeted out the hashtag, as did Ben Affleck a few hours later.
Yet perhaps the most interesting tweet appeared a day later, when Diane Nelson, the former head of DC Entertainment, decided to throw in her two cents. "If Zack feels he had the time and resources to finish a cut to his satisfaction and he would like fans to see it, nothing would make me happier than for him to have that opportunity," she wrote.
Each of these tweets just stoked the fires of the fandom, amassing thousands and thousands of likes and retweets.