Just three years after Justice League was released, dividing audiences and critics alike, the news broke that DC fans would be getting a new version. The version they really wanted all along. Yes, that’s right – the Zack Snyder cut is coming to HBO next year.
When Snyder left production after the tragic death of his daughter, Joss Whedon stepped in to finish Justice League in post-production. Although the blend of two tones by two different directors undoubtedly felt off, the film still made a more-than-respectable $657.9 million at the box office, surpassing the production budget of $300 million. We still don’t know how much of that went to rendering Henry Cavill’s moustache off his face.
Zack Snyder fans have since been campaigning online for his original cut of the film to be released. Whilst one politely worded petition reached over 179,000 signatures, many fans took to Twitter to express their frustrations at Whedon’s cut of the film, despite he himself not being credited for his work. Unfortunately, this was the point where the DC fandom became particularly toxic. There’s always been something about the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut following online that’s invoked a few arguments. Is giving them what they want, then, a way of calming the fandom down? Or is it opening the door to something worse?
Personally, DC has never quite been my cup of tea—I’m more of a Marvel fan myself. But I am, in part, glad they’re getting this. After all, it’s been a long time coming. And for the fans who really do care about the quality of the filmmaking, this is a pretty big deal. Worst case scenario is that even the Snyder cut isn’t good enough for fans, and the concept of a Justice League film becomes a distant memory. Best case is that this might even invite a sequel—but right now it’s just too early to tell.
Pandering to fans, however, is something Snyder should probably be wary of. Avengers: Endgame (2019) is often noted for having a lot of fan service, but Marvel earned that right. Through 21 films over eleven years, some small flops and some major successes, Marvel gained the trust of their fans to pay it all off in this final film. Justice League and DC, however, have not. Marvel is built as an interconnected cinematic universe, whereas DC has often felt unsure of what it actually is, structurally speaking. The cut of Justice League we saw in 2017 felt quite haphazard, so I can only hope that Snyder takes not only advice from the true fans, but also does what he personally wants to do with the film.
“Dread it, run from it…”: the Snyder cut arrives all the same.
Words by Harriet Metcalfe