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One of the biggest criticisms lobbed at Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is how much the film has going on. In one giant leap, the DC Extended Universe launched from a Superman origin story to a full-fledged superhero free-for-all.

Wonder Woman and the rest of the Justice League joined the fray, as did Lex Luthor. And the story incorporates elements of several beloved DC Comics story arcs, including The Dark Knight Returns and The Death of Superman.

That last one really comes into play in the film’s final act, which sees Superman (Henry Cavill) sacrifice himself to defeat Doomsday. Snyder recently revealed how Superman’s death was meant to tie into his Justice League plans. But now he says fans have been misinterpreting the ending.

Zack Snyder, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, and Ben Affleck

Zack Snyder, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, and Ben Affleck | Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ has inspired a cult following

Notably, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has managed to endure even with a less-than-sterling reputation. During its theatrical run, the film earned $873 million worldwide. But despite its commercial success, Batman v Superman received a critical beatdown that took the DCEU a few years to rebound from.

Yet, despite the film’s perceived flaws — most fans can’t stand Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, for instance — Batman v Superman has gained a devoted following. These fans are largely the ones who continue to stump for Warner Bros. to release Snyder’s cut of Justice League. And considering the director’s five-film arc for DC’s iconic heroes got cut off midway through, it only stands to reason fans are anxious for more of his take.

Since the theatrical version of Justice League underwhelmed many fans, Batman v Superman remains the purest part of Snyder’s vision available. To that end, the director’s reveal that the ending doesn’t mean what many assumed it did is all the more shocking.

Zack Snyder shares what the movie’s ending really means

Snyder recently hosted a watch party of Batman v Superman on Vero. And the director had a lot to say about the movie and his unrealized plans for the DCEU. One such revelation concerned the final shot of the film. After Superman’s funeral, the camera zooms in on his coffin. And after a few seconds, the specks of dirt dropped by Lois Lane (Amy Adams) begin to float.

Many fans have taken this to be a tease of Superman’s eventual resurrection. And while he does return in Justice League, Snyder said those final moments of Batman v Superman were never meant to be taken literally. Rather, “it’s always been symbolic of hope and lessons learned,” he said.

So was the dirt really rising off of Superman’s coffin? Or was this just an abstract flourish intended to keep fans’ curiosity flowing until Justice League? After all, Superman’s death in Batman v Superman was pretty definitive. And the team goes to extraordinary lengths to revive him. Then again, fans have learned not to entirely trust the theatrical Justice League.

Will Warner Bros. ever released the ‘Justice League’ Snyder cut?

After all, Snyder was never able to complete his vision for Justice League. So there’s no telling exactly how Superman’s resurrection would have happened differently. But if devoted fans have anything to say about it, we still might see the Snyder cut of Justice League at some point.

For now, all fans can do is attempt to piece together how Snyder’s five-film DC storyline would have played out. With Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, we at least have two films full of Easter eggs and teases to dig into.