Unreleased “Snyder Cut” of “Justice League” to Stream on HBO Max
Like a resilient hero, an unreleased director’s cut of Justice League has risen amid a pandemic to save us all.
The so-called “Snyder Cut” has long been the stuff of legend, but after months of popular demand, the never-before-seen version of the 2017 blockbuster will be released to the public.
A few years ago, Warner Media’s DC Entertainment embarked on a series of films that would introduce and closely integrate the members of the fabled Justice League. The series would include projects for Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, and Cyborg. And Justice League would be the culmination of the franchise, putting all six heroes in a single film much the way Marvel did with the Avengers series.
Director Zack Snyder had completed filming for the Justice League movie when his daughter tragically died, forcing him to step back from the project. Industry veteran Joss Whedon was called in to oversee post-production, including the film’s editing stage.
At first glance, Whedon, with his experience working on the Avengers movies, was an obvious choice to facilitate wrap-up for Justice League. But this opinion overlooked a major tonal difference between the two comic book universes.
Compare, for instance, Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man (a Marvel franchise) with Christopher Nolan’s 2005 Batman Begins (A DC flick). The former, starring the boyish Peter Parker who strives to uphold the moral fortitude of society, is far lighter fare than the latter, with its brooding protagonist and its film noir motifs.
Whedon’s experience making fun, lively Marvel movies bled awkwardly into what Snyder envisioned as a dark, morally-complicated Justice League. The end result was a patchwork, tonally-inconsistent film that was universally panned and earned a measly 40% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The movie was so poorly-received that Warner Media abandoned the goal of serializing its films, opting instead for stand-alones that deviated from Justice League – a film the studio would rather pretend never existed.
The hashtag #ReleaseTheSnyderCut began over a year ago as a way of demanding a Synder-edited version of Justice League. The movement gained traction when Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot and current Batman Ben Affleck shared the tag in November 2019. Synder himself retweeted their calls.
Interest in the hypothetical project snowballed for months. As recently as last week, Aquaman star Jason Momoa publicly voiced his support for a director’s cut. As pressure mounted on Warner, the leading question became how to make the proposed project profitable.
Bait for HBO Max
Warner Media is currently prepping for the launch of HBO Max, its upcoming streaming platform that will become available on May 27th. On Wednesday, they announced that Snyder would indeed be returning to Justice League.
The official “Snyder Cut” will either take the form of a four-hour movie or a six-chapter TV series. Either way, it will be available through HBO Max some time in 2021. Like some great superhero epic, the legend of the Snyder Cut may finally be coming to an end.