Some fans demanded it, we’ve all debated it, and now it’s finally happening. On Wednesday, Warner Bros. announced that a new cut of Justice League, one approved and finished by Zack Snyder, will be released on its upcoming streaming service, HBO Max.
Snyder announced that the film, called Zack Snyder’s Justice League, will come to the streaming service at some point in 2021. “We still have some work to do,” he said. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film will feature extensive retooling, including additional dialogue with the actors and new visual effects, with a cost rumored to be somewhere between $20 and $30 million. There’s also a chance the Snyder Cut could be presented as a mini-series instead of a singular movie. Those decisions, as well as lots of post-production work, still need to be done.
“It will be an entirely new thing, and, especially talking to those who have seen the released movie, a new experience apart from that movie,” Snyder told the trade. “You probably saw one-fourth of what I did.”
Released in November of 2017, the theatrical cut of Justice League was a major disappointment for Warner Bros. Despite featuring Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, and Cyborg, the movie grossed under $700 million, making it the lowest-grossing movie in the franchise to date. Looking back though, the project was plagued from the start.
It began when fans reacted poorly to its lead-in, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Then Snyder exited Justice League during post-production as a result of the tragic death of his daughter. The Avengers director Joss Whedon was brought in to finish the project and “adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set,” according to the president of Warner Bros. Pictures, Toby Emmerich.
Apparently, though, that wasn’t the full story. Once the film opened, fans began to notice more than slight differences between the finished film and earlier trailers. (Remember the mustache?) They wondered why the changes were made. Then Snyder made a remark that, though his name was on the film, the finished version wasn’t quite his. A few days after the film’s release, a movement began to form under the banner “Release the Snyder Cut” and, over the next three years, that group went to surprising lengths to uncover the truth and get Snyder’s version of the film.
But for years, that famed version of the film wasn’t really a film at all. It was a four-hour assembly cut without any finished visual effects. Things changed in November 2019 though after a huge online effort made by fans and the film’s actors finally gave the studio confidence to put something together. Warner Bros. called the Snyders and the Snyder’s invited over a bunch of executives in February 202 and showed them what they had to pitch them on how they could finish it. The executives agreed. A “Snyder Cut” would be released.
“When Zack and Debbie shared the extraordinary vision of where Zack wanted to take Justice League, my team and our counterparts at Warner Bros. took it as a mission to solve the many issues that stood in the way,” Kevin Reilly, Chief Content Officer at HBO Max, said in a press release. “Thanks to the partnership at Warner Bros. and the relentless pursuit of the entire WarnerMax team we are able to deliver this incredibly exciting moment for Zack, the fans, and HBO Max.”
And, although many other Hollywood projects have been canceled or postponed due to the novel coronavirus, Snyder’s wife Deborah told THR it would actually help the industry to continue with the newly discussed project. She said, “People thought, ‘It won’t be possible to ramp up, and that maybe this should go on the back burner.’ But we said, ‘No, this is the right time’ because our visual effects houses that rely on so much are running out of work, so now is the time to be doing this.” THR made sure to add, “There is no schedule going forward at this stage for the project as talks are now beginning with post-production houses.”
So now, despite all the huge questions it raises about authorship, fandom pressure, and about a billion other things, a “Snyder Cut” is really coming. And don’t worry. We at io9 will watch and talk all about it once that happens.