After years of fan demands — then months of rumors and teasing — the news is official: the 2017 DC Comics movie Justice League returns as a “director’s cut” in 2021, and the entire campaign will revolve around the original director, Zack Snyder, overhauling the story and running time and expanding it to a whopping four-hour version.
HBO Max, the streaming platform launching next week, confirmed the news by blatantly using the oft-used #releasethesnydercut hashtag that DC Comics fans have been using for years. The original film hit theaters in November 2017 after production was halted and overhauled by interim director Joss Whedon, who took over when Snyder left the production due to a family tragedy. Since then, fans have wondered what form the film would have taken had it been completed by the original director.
A huge Hollywood Reporter article on today’s news confirms that Snyder’s original vision was indeed very different. His plans for a four-hour behemoth were unsurprisingly crushed by the forces of Warner Bros., and his original rough draft — filed in January 2017 and close to the 2.5-hour range — was also rejected. Shortly after, Snyder left the production and Whedon stepped in to direct the new recordings and put his spin on the production and script.
To clarify our stance on this, we’re still not sure what this so-called legion of fans is smoking (and rarely trust Twitter hashtags as genuine indicators of fan interest, due to the platform’s vulnerability to inauthentic actors). As I wrote in November 2017, Whedon’s touch may have been the nothing but saving grace from the otherwise messy movie:
I feel bad for pointing out certain problems in the movie as a comparison [between two directors], buuuut… in some parts of the film you can clearly see step-in director Joss Whedon applying his non-crappy touch. Conversations between Affleck and Gadot towards the end of the film are some of the most touching for either character since the actors started at DC, and they, like some good dialogue scenes, have all the hallmarks of a Whedon production, in terms of camera angle, distance and conversation rhythm. Conversely, the film’s frenzy all over the map smacks of Snyder’s bland filmmaking approach.
Curiously, Snyder confirmed that: THR that he’s never seen the version that made it to theaters around the world: “You’ve probably seen a quarter of what I did.” Momentum began to build over the past year and the combined forces of WarnerMedia, eager to generate content for the upcoming HBO Max platform and to come up with something achievable during a massive Hollywood shutdown – went ahead with a plan to carry out Snyder’s original vision for the film. HBO Max will allow the combined companies to launch the film in a potentially multi-part format, though WarnerMedia hasn’t been ready to confirm exactly how the “Snyder cut” will debut, or any clearer release estimate than “2021”.
For now, Snyder and his team will only begin “conversations with post-production houses” to figure out how to put together the unfinished and unfinished content needed to change and expand the theatrical release. Talks with the original cast began in April to find out if and how they might need to participate in re-shoots of various scenes — meaning, yeah, we can all see more “Batfleck” anyway, even though Robert Pattinson has since turned DC. The official new Batman from Comics in terms of the movie universe.