UPDATE: While there are still significant roadblocks to an actual release of the Snyder Cut, it's become clear in the time since Justice League's release that far more of the Snyder Cut was completed than most people realized. The original article continues below.
Zack Snyder has a history of stellar directors cuts. While movies like Watchmen and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice both saw mixed to divided reception upon release, only for an "Ultimate Edition" to be later released, both of which saw much greater praise, particularly his Watchmen, which many people, such as Scott Derrickson, consider an "unparalleled masterwork."
With Justice League, the fact that Snyder left the production before it was completed made many begin to speculate whether or not we'd see a Zack Snyder cut eventually, although the mantra from Warner Bros. was that Joss Whedon had worked closely with Snyder and was merely completing his vision, despite a number of eyebrow-raising occurrences during production. The first major change after Whedon was announced as the new director was the exit of BvS co-composer Tom Holkenberg, AKA Junkie XL, and the hiring of Danny Elfman, only to be followed by numerous reports that Whedon was reshooting far more than was being reported and lightening the tone far more than Snyder intended. Then the runtime was reported as only 2 hours (by studio mandate), significantly shorter than Batman v Superman and way shorter than most fans expected, considering the story the movie was said to cover.
Whedon ended up getting a writing credit, indicating he had made alterations significant enough to be considered a 33% impact on the film, and test screenings revealed that Lex Luthor and Iris West, who were both previously confirmed to be in the movie, had been cut entirely. Even so, "this is still Zack Snyder's movie" was repeated throughout the press tour by numerous members of the cast, with Ben Affleck pointing out that people don't fully appreciate the impact of pre-production, which was all Snyder.
While it's true that Snyder did all pre-production and principal photography, a close (or casual, in some cases) look at Justice League will show that his influence didn't extend much farther. Thanks to some wonky green screen work, and awkward CGI upper lip on Henry Cavill, and alternate versions of scenes from the trailers, it's fairly easy to pick apart the fingerprints on the final product, and Whedon's imprint is clearly far more than advertised, with only a shot or two (and next to no dialogue) of Snyder's Superman remaining. The leak of a few deleted scenes show even more that Snyder's version included far more fleshed out backstories and a darker, higher contrast color grade. It makes sense that fans are petitioning for a Zack Snyder cut of the movie.
Despite Snyder having Director's Guild mandated rights to post-production input and claims from Warner Bros. president and chief content officer Toby Emmerich to the opposite, Snyder said he's letting Whedon and co. "do their thing" and then recently revealed that he hasn't even seen the movie since leaving production. But with a number of other Snyder products hampered by studio involvement for theatrical releases before seeing a longer cut for home release, could a Snyder cut of Justice League be on the way eventually? The answer is a complicated one, but ultimately it's a pretty doubtful outcome.
- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019