As the true kickoff to the DC Extended Universe (following franchise starter Man of Steel), Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was tasked with doing more than pitting two iconic superheroes against one another. In the day and age of the shared universe, a major component of the film was establishing things to come in future installments, namely Justice League. The film included cameos from various members, including the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg, as well as serving as the official introduction to the big screen of Wonder Woman. But the setup for next fall's blockbuster went beyond what was actually in the finished film.
Right after Dawn of Justice's record-breaking opening weekend at the box office, a deleted scene was officially posted online. It showcased villain Lex Luthor standing in the Kryptonian birthing matrix that was used to create Doomsday, interacting with an unidentified alien creature - alluding to a possible Justice League villain. The timing on Warner Bros./DC's part was rather curious, since few people expect to see additional footage so soon after a film's premiere. Now, for those confused by the studio's decision to share the bit, there is an explanation available.
Screen Rant recently visited the set of Justice League, and director Zack Snyder was asked about the Batman V Superman deleted scene, dubbed "Communion." He discussed the thought process behind the decision to release it so soon after the film's debut:
You know, that scene I guess was our way of - I kind thought like, "Oh, that would be a cool after-credits sequence." But then I was like, "I don't know, can I do that?" because Marvel kind of does that. "Is that a thing?" So we were like, "Oh! Well, maybe there's another way to do it, by just having it -" does that make sense?
The desire to differentiate from Marvel Studios' traditional practices is admirable, but the MCU is hardly the only film franchise that incorporates the use of stingers to give moviegoers extra material. Both X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse have included post-credit scenes to tease forthcoming installments, and even Pixar Animation Studios has gotten in on the fun from time to time. Some might argue that it would have been better if the Communion scene (or a similar sequence) was included within the movie as opposed to being an arguably random addendum that came days later. Few (if any) moviegoers would have accused DC of copying Marvel, and instead debated what the scene hinted at.
Still, this approach did prove to be successful, as Communion got many people talking when it first went live. It will be interesting to see if other DCEU films use a similar approach. Snyder's comments suggest that post-credit scenes are something the filmmakers are thinking about while working on their projects, so there's a chance that the premieres of Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman could include an extra nugget or two for the fans. It doesn't seem to matter how the button is delivered, just as long as it accomplishes its goal of exciting die-hards and casual audiences for the future.
Bottom line, while some may not agree with Snyder's handling of the extra scene, it did set the stage for his next film and the ominous threat the heroes will square off against in their first team-up. There's no denying the method is unorthodox, but Snyder perhaps made the most of what was available to him. He took advantage of modern technology to share a sequence that didn't really have a place in the theatrical cut. Who knows? Maybe this will start a new trend of studios using social media platforms to flesh out their recently released tentpoles in ways that weren't possible before.
Suicide Squad will arrive on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020.