The campaign for the "Snyder Cut" of Justice League has begun to see noticeable support from detractors of Zack Snyder's past superhero films. In the wake of a family tragedy, Snyder stepped down from directing duties on Justice League, while Warner Bros. brought in Joss Whedon to direct major reshoots. Although the studio asserted that these were only intended to complete the film as Snyder had envisioned, upon the movie's release in November 2017, it became clear that the version of Justice League that had arrived in theaters was not what Zack Snyder had intended.
Thus began the ongoing grassroots campaign to persuade Warner Bros. to release the director's original cut of Justice League, an endeavor that has persisted for the nearly two years since the film's theatrical release. Snyder himself would begin stirring the pot by releasing never-before-seen images from his cut on social media, while a growing number of the cast and crew of Justice League have also begun showing support for the Snyder Cut's release, with Jason Momoa being particularly vocal in his support for it.
Among the more recent events surrounding the Snyder Cut, a salient development has been the growing support it has gained from many who have been less than pleased with Snyder's DC films. That can be attributed to a number of factors that have arisen since the theatrical release of Justice League. However, while winning over critics of the DCEU will not in and of itself result in the Snyder Cut's release, it has done much to increase its visibility and show that the demand for it is not only there among the already existing DCEU audience, but that it is clearly beginning to expand.
Zack Snyder's Detractors Didn't Care About The Snyder Cut... At First
While the theatrical cut of Justice League didn't see a rapturous reception, it did receive a degree of credit for its lighter tone and greater amount of humor compared to its much darker predecessor Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. That film had seen a highly polarizing reception, which effectively formed the rationale for Warner Bros. electing to revamp Justice League in the first place (although the movie had always been intended to be lighter in tone than Batman v Superman.) Nevertheless, despite the film receiving a somewhat warmer reception among many who had previously been dissatisfied with the direction of the DCEU, Justice League was a significant financial disappointment.
At that point, many who had been critical of DCEU's early days were ready for the franchise to move on from Snyder's influence on it. Although the Snyder Cut campaign had kicked off almost as soon as Justice League hit theaters, the idea of there being another version of the film that was anywhere near complete was taken far less seriously at the time, and was widely seen as an outright impossibility. Even as a Change.org petition accumulated tens of thousands of signatures, the notion of the Snyder Cut faced a much greater uphill battle to gain traction. However, as more information about the movie's production history and the differences between the two versions of the film would emerge, that would begin to change.
How The Snyder Cut Narrative Changed
The first real indication that there was validity to the idea of the Snyder Cut would emerge when Zack Snyder himself began releasing images and storyboards from his version of Justice League on social media. As the push for Snyder's version of Justice League progressed, the director's teases would reveal snippets of scenes and story points not featured in the theatrical cut, as well as characters who had been completely excised, such as the DC Universe's biggest villain Darkseid. Most recently, Snyder has revealed that his version of Justice League would have shown General Swanwick, played by Harry Lennix in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, to have been a disguised Martian Manhunter. The most significant impact that Snyder's social media posts would have would be to demonstrate that his cut of Justice League was not simply a longer and darker version of the one released in theaters, but a completely different movie unto itself. Ultimately, the question of the cut's very existence would finally be settled when Snyder himself confirmed it publicly at a director's cut event earlier this year.
Other members of the Justice League cast and crew would also begin to show increasing amounts of support for the Snyder Cut, as well. Storyboard artist Jay Oliva would be one of the earliest voices confirming the Snyder Cut's existence, while revealing details of the "unhinged" portrayal of Superman in the climactic battle. Jason Momoa has also vocally advocated for the Snyder Cut's release, along with recently confirming to have seen it, while Ray Fisher has also voiced his support for it. Additionally, as more details about the Snyder Cut came out, the campaign would gain another prominent supporter in the form of filmmaker Kevin Smith. The effect that Snyder, Smith, and the Justice League cast and crew would collectively have would be to transition the debate around the Snyder Cut from one of its existence to just how close it was to being finished, and of the likelihood of it actually being released. While Warner Bros. remains the major summit to climb for the Snyder Cut to see the light of day, establishing its existence beyond a shadow of a doubt was always a necessary first step to get to that point. What's more, even those who had not enjoyed Snyder's previous DC films were now taking notice of it.
The Future of Justice League's Snyder Cut
Where the lobbying efforts for the Snyder Cut go from this point is a bit of an open-ended proposition, but there's clearly no end in sight for it. More and more high-profile voices are giving the campaign their support, with Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefeld being a notable example within the comic book community. Moreover, Zack Snyder's reveals may well have only scratched the surface of unseen material from his cut, while Justice League cinematographer Fabian Wagner has also similarly released behind-the-scenes images from the movie on social media. For everything that's already been unveiled about the Snyder Cut, the 214 minute running time of the movie would likely enable Snyder and his collaborators on the film to continue trickling out teases of his version of Justice League for years to come. Furthermore, the campaign has also raised vast amounts of money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which has given it greater attention and even approval from the public, including among critics of his work on the DCEU.
Snyder's upcoming zombie heist movie Army of the Dead may also prove to be a major determining factor in the Snyder Cut's release. With Snyder having effectively been granted complete creative freedom on the film, the reception of Army of the Dead could be viewed as a statement of sorts on his future as a filmmaker. More importantly, as far as the Snyder Cut is concerned, it could also lead to a new wave of support for its release. Should the film be subject to a negative or divisive reception, that could establish a further blockade to the release of the cut. However, if Army of the Dead ends up enjoying widespread acclaim, that could prove instrumental in raising even more support for the Snyder Cut being released, especially among those not already enamored with Man of Steel and Batman v Superman.
As the push for the Snyder Cut continues on, its release undoubtedly hinges upon Warner Bros. being convinced that the demand for it is strong. However, it has become increasingly evident that interest has spread beyond Snyder's core fan base. Whether out of sheer curiosity or simply supporting a filmmaker realizing his artistic vision to its completion, more and more critics of Zack Snyder's work on the DCEU are expressing a desire to see the superhero ensemble that he had originally intended. While the decision to release it rests with Warner Bros. alone, that effectively serves to establish that the audience for the Snyder Cut of Justice League is continuing to grow.
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