Fans Need to Get a ‘Justice League’ Director’s Cut

For Warner Bros., Justice League was a massive trainwreck. It was originally the project of director Zack Snyder and intended to be the culmination of a handful of movies created in the DC Comics universe. Instead, Justice League felt less like a superhero ensemble and more like an early 2000s video game with bad storytelling.

Not only was the movie panned by critics and fans alike, and for more than Henry Cavill’s weird CGI’d face, but there have been rumors that Snyder’s original plans for the movie were completely different. But instead of that extra-long, dark, and possibly better-explained version of Justice League, we’re stuck with the watered down version that is rumored to have lost up to $100 million. Or are we? The idea of  Snyder’s director cut of Justice League has been catching steam with fans, and it’s what those who love DC Comics need.

The movie was a dumpster fire

Justice League Movie - DC / Warner Bros.

Justice League didn’t go over well with fans. | Warner Bros.

Anyone that has seen Justice League already knows this, but the movie was a hodgepodge of weirdness. The problems start well in advance of Justice League, given that the movie introduces four new main characters. Diehards certainly know who The Flash and Aquaman are, but movies still have to explain characters and their motivations for the average moviegoer.

Unfortunately, Justice League failed in several instances — most noticeably with the villain, Steppenwolf. His reasoning for destroying Earth is given through Diana in a brief monologue with a flashback, but never from the bad guy himself. Apparently, there were several scenes relating to this that were cut. All of that isn’t even to touch on the several other problems, including how Superman’s early return destroys and sense of danger for the heroes.

Zack Snyder left midway through production

Director Zack Snyder

Director Zack Snyder had to leave the project early.| Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Snyder left Justice League in February 2017 due to a family tragedy, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Warner Bros. had brought in Joss Whedon to “help” Snyder, likely because of the critical reception to Batman v. Superman. Apparently, Snyder was being micromanaged and his vision for Justice League was getting squeezed.

After Snyder left, Whedon is confirmed to have shot around 20% new footage for the film. But rumors are that even more was changed, with over an hour of what Snyder had shot for the movie being cut from the final draft. Given that Justice League came in under two hours in run-time, that much change is extremely significant. It’s enough to fundamentally change the movie at its core. And all of that created another major problem.

Justice League clearly has no coherent vision

Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg prepare for battle

Justice League didn’t deliver a cohesive story.| Warner Bros.

If we’re being kind, we would say that Justice League is the creation of two separate visions by two very different directors. But let’s not pull our punches; the movie had no coherent vision. It’s dark at times, but funny at other times. Batman is often brooding, but sometimes seems to openly parody the character and his flaws. Just in general, outside of being a billionaire and funding everything, Batman really isn’t necessary to defeat Steppenwolf.

Since the very beginning, it was known that Superman would return. Snyder teased it at the very end of Batman v. Superman. It was not a secret. But his return came in the first act of Justice League, and with only about five minutes of resistance before it was clear everything would be OK. There are rumors that this is entirely different in Snyder’s version of the movie, with more depth to Superman’s return and a scene where Steppenwolf attempts to turn the Man of Steel against his friends.

Rumors that a director’s cut exists

Zack Snyder stares into a camera

There are rumors of a director’s cut. | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Along with the rumors of how Snyder’s version of the movie would’ve been different comes the rumor that an actual cut of his vision exists somewhere at Warner Bros. But it also comes from a Reddit forum, so take the following with a grain of salt.

After some digging, I have come across convincing proof that the Snyder cut of Justice League exists in an unfinished but relevant form. This was not simply an assembly cut derived from principal photography, but a rough version that had a lot of finished FX and music. Details concerning the sourcing of this information will be held in total confidence.

If this is true, it would be absolute death for Warner Bros. to ever release the director’s cut. Snyder received the sole director’s credit for the movie, with Whedon being credited with the screenplay. If Warner Bros. were to release Snyder’s director’s cut, only for fans to see how different — and possibly better — it might’ve been, would be a major embarrassment for the studio.

Fans are holding out hope Snyder’s cut can fix it

Cyborg, The Flash and Aquaman

Fans are hoping Zack Snyder’s version will be better. | Warner Bros.

Even still, fans are holding out hope that Snyder’s director’s cut will eventually be released and fix everything. Justice League arrived with a ton of fanfare, coming off the positive response to Wonder Woman — which preceded it at the box office by five months. Although Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman were more poorly received, the success of Wonder Woman created hope that the studio had figured things out and DC’s superhero ensemble would be a hit. Oh boy, were we wrong on that.

Anyone hoping that Snyder’s cut of the movie will be exponentially better may be in for a disappointment. That is, if it’s ever released. There are still problems, including being a superhero ensemble where over half the cast has to be introduced and explained. But Snyder’s version was darker, even containing the surprising death of Cyborg at the hands of Steppenwolf. We can’t blame fans for thinking Snyder’s director’s cut might be a measurable improvement.

Fans descend on Warner Bros. studios

Ben Affleck and Ezra Miller in Justice League

Fans are petitioning Warner Bros. for the alternate version. | Warner Bros.

YouTuber Itzmoe organized the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut campaign to demand that the fans get the director’s cut. Itzmoe took a group down to Warner Bros. studios in Burbank to make their point, even taking a group photo. But while it was reported as a protest, the whole thing was entirely tame. These were Itzmoe’s stated guidelines:

**ABSOLUTELY NO SHIRTS/ SIGNS INSULTING WB/ JOSS/ ETC. WILL BE ALLOWED IN THE PHOTO!*** We want to show support for Zack Snyder, so we want to focus on our support and love for him and his work, NOT dissing others, so DO NOT bring shirts/ signs insulting others or you won’t be allowed in the photo. We don’t want to embarrass Zack and give Zack Snyder fans a bad name. We want to show him how much we appreciate him and make this a photo that he would be happy to share. PLEASE share this around everywhere so we can have a large group in the photo supporting Zack and his JL cut!!!

No matter how you slice it, what Itzmoe and Zack Snyder fans were doing was technically protesting. It’s just that their chosen way of protesting was peaceful and wasn’t intended to disrupt, only to spread a message. In this case, they were successful in doing that.

Unfortunately, that director’s cut may not exist

Justice League movie title

There may be only one cut of Justice League. | Warner Bros.

The bad news for #ReleaseTheSnyderCut is that the actual director’s cut as created by Snyder may not exist at all. Remember how the original rumor came from Reddit, which is notoriously unreliable as far as sources go? Erik Davis, the managing editor of Fandango, has his own source that claims there is no Snyder cut.

“… the film is found in the edit process, rarely does a director start shooting with the entire film plotted out. Some things work, some things don’t. There is no Snyder cut – obviously he had a rough edit in process (when) he left in February, but the reshoots were done 6 months after that, he had no final version of the film.

Yes, Zack would’ve probably done things differently to how the film turned out, but that’s it. There isn’t a secret Zack version hidden somewhere. It doesn’t exist.”

Again, take this with a grain of salt. This is an anonymous source that claims to have been a VFX artist that did some work on the movie. Whether the Snyder cut exists or not, unfortunately, the expectation is that Warner Bros. will simply remain silent, especially now that it’s been reported that Snyder was fired long before he stepped down. They can always hope that 2018’s Teen Titans Go! and Aquaman are successful enough to deflect the heat a bit.

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