I'm not completely shocked, because this has been teased for a few days, but this is sort of a surreal moment if you follow comic book movies or even just the conversation around the movie industry.
Here is a quick history of the Snyder Cut and 'Justice League':
The 2017 film Justice League had a troubled production history. Its script and photography underwent major changes before and during production, and there was a change in directors. This resulted in the theatrical release of a version that was reported to be markedly different from how the film had been conceived of during pre-production and principal photography. Most of the changes were driven by the negative reception to the previous installments of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. Justice League had been helmed by director Zack Snyder through most of its production, but Snyder stepped down in May 2017, during post-production, following the suicide of his daughter, and Joss Whedon took over at that point, completing the film as an uncredited director. Whedon oversaw reshoots and other changes that added a brighter tone and more humor to the film, and cut the runtime down to 120 minutes in accordance with a mandate from Warner Bros. (via Wikipedia)
The immediate second 'Justice League' was released, everything went downhill. At the box office, the movie was a bomb, and fans and critics weren't overly pleased with the product on the big screen. A petition was started pretty quickly for Warner Bros. to release Zack Snyder's cut of the movie, dubbed the Snyder Cut.
Over the last few years, Zack Snyder has slowly teased the Snyder Cut more, and more along the way with comments online, unreleased images, and more. Was Snyder just stoking the flame? Riling up fans? Who could blame Snyder, honestly? Over the years Zack Snyder's extended cuts of his movies such as 'Watchmen' and 'Batman v. Superman' have been pretty well-received. The ridiculousness of the movement probably hurt its credibility a bit as anything related to the DCEU on social media would be followed with replies or comments consisting of #ReleaseTheSnyder cut. But, honestly, after a while, it all started to make sense that this Snyder cut of 'Justice League' may finally see the light of day. The actors involved in the movie, big names from Gal Gadot to Henry Cavill, all continued to tease wanting to see the original work they filmed for the movie.
(There are many more details on the 'Justice League' Snyder Cut, but I'll stick to the brief explainer)
With Warner Bros.' streaming platform HBO Max launching, which includes a ton of DC projects, old and new, rumors swirled that it would be the perfect landing spot for the Snyder Cut.
The rumors were right.
What will be in the Snyder Cut of the 'Justice League'? How long will be it? Will it be the rumored three and a half hours long that has been reported? Zack Snyder filled in The Hollywood Report on the details:
"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," Zack Snyder tells The Hollywood Reporter, noting that, to this day, he has not watched the version released in theaters.
"You probably saw one-fourth of what I did," the director notes, basing his judgment on what has been shared with him of Whedon's version.
THR is even reporting that rumors put the Snyder Cut changes to cost between $20 and $30 million.
Here's the really interesting part:
It is currently unclear what form Snyder’s Justice League will take. Whether it will be released as an almost four-hour director’s cut or split into six "chapters" has yet to be decided, but the Snyders are now in the midst of reassembling much of their original postproduction crew to score, cut, add new and finish old visual effects, and, yes, maybe bring back many of the actors to record additional dialogue.
All of this on the surface sounds great to me, especially considering the fact I really didn't even hate 'Justice League' and I loved the extended cut of 'Watchmen'. There is a lot of potential here. I don't love everything that Zack Snyder does, but he has a style and a distinct vision and he wasn't able to have his vision fully-realized
There has to be a little bit of pressure on them to release a good movie here. Part of the movement that people considered to be toxic at times was the notion that no matter what this cut of 'Justice League' would be fantastic. What if it sucks? What if it isn't any good? It's possible. On top of that, there was always the debate that the Snyder Cut absolutely, without question, existed. As if it was sitting on a shelf in some Warner Bros. Executive's office. Arguments went back and forth online, and it would get ugly at times, but it really seems like a full version of the movie didn't, and doesn't exist. It will soon, but there wouldn't be a full movie to release right now. If it did exist, they were certainly be releasing it with the HBO Max launch on May 27th. Personally, I'd much rather Snyder have the time and money to clean it up and perfect it before sending it out to the world. I have no interest in an unfinished cut of a big-time blockbuster comic book movie.
Good, or bad, I am excited to watch the Snyder Cut when it finally releases in 2021. For some odd reason, I think it could end up being really solid. Don't bookmark this on the off-chance I am wrong.
Here was the original trailer for 'Justice League' with Snyder footage:
See ya next summer, Justice League.