Warner Bros. continues to use deleted footage from Justice League (e.g. footage from Zack Snyder's cut of the film) in its marketing for the DC Extended Universe. The DCEU has been on a break since Justice League premiered last year to an underwhelming critical reception and box office returns, but will return in December with James Wan's Aquaman solo movie. Jason Momoa is reprising his Justice League role as Arthur Curry/Aquaman in Wan's film, with Amber Heard similarly returning as Mera following her brief appearance in Justice League.
However, even now that Snyder has stepped away from the DCEU and the franchise is undergoing a partial reboot (under the supervision of new DC Films head Walter Hamada), the filmmaker continues to cast a long shadow over DC's cinematic universe. In addition to being credited as a producer on Aquaman and 2020's Wonder Woman 1984, Snyder has continued to release more and more material from the "Snyder Cut", aka. the rough cut of Justice League that he put together before Joss Whedon's extensive reshoots. It's been well-documented by now that Whedon made a whole lot of changes to Snyder's Justice League cut for the theatrical release, and even deleted some of the most visually striking moments from the film's early marketing (prior to Snyder's departure as director). Some of that footage was so good-looking that WB is, in fact, still using it to promote Wan's addition to the DCEU.
Related: How the DCEU is Rebooting in 2019
As noted by Twitter users *Matthew* and Sam the sci-fi Stan, the UK version of the final Aquaman trailer ends with footage from the Snyder Cut of Justice League (e.g. footage that was dropped from Whedon's theatrical version). The shots of Aquaman on a dock as water splashes around in slow-motion was one of the more visually iconic moments from Justice League's early marketing that didn't make the Whedon cut (though elements of that scene were included). Similarly, there are a few shots of Arthur underwater or aboard the Flying Fox here that were re-filmed or revamped for the movie's theatrical release. Take a look for yourselves, below.
Here’s that Snyder Cut footage at the end of the Aquaman trailer on the UK release, wonder what it means? 🤔👀 (credit to @SamParkerMetal for pointing it out) #ReleaseTheSnyderCut pic.twitter.com/3ZPodDSoPK— •Matthew• (@Matt_RTSC) November 20, 2018
There's a pretty simple explanation for why WB is using deleted Justice League footage in its marketing for Aquaman - namely, the footage was included in WB's previous marketing material for the franchise and, as a result, it's fair game to be recycled in the trailers and promos for future DCEU movies. Moreover, a lot of the replacement footage in Whedon's Justice League was (to be frank) visually inferior to what Snyder originally had in place and looks far less impressive in trailer marketing form for it. No doubt, that was a big part of the reason why WB and DC Films continued to use Snyder Cut footage to market Justice League after Whedon had completed his reshoots, and further explains why the studios are using it to promote Aquaman now.
Interestingly enough, the Snyder Cut will also continue to make its presence felt in Wan's actual Aquaman movie and not just its marketing. For example, a deleted Justice League scene featured Mera using water-bending abilities that were left out of the theatrical cut, but will be featured in Wan's film and have already shown up briefly in its trailers and TV spots. Similarly, Willem Dafoe was originally cast to play Arthur's mentor, the Atlantean warrior Nuidis Vulko, in Justice League, but all of the scenes he shot for the film ended up being deleted from Whedon's streamlined cut. Fortunately, for those who are excited to see Dafoe ride a shark on the big screen, the actor plays a key role as Vulko in the Aquaman movie and may yet return to the DCEU in the future (depending on how things go down in Wan's DC adventure).
In other words: whether the Snyder Cut of Justice League ever sees the light of day or not, it continues to have a major impact on not only the marketing for the DCEU, but the future of the franchise with Aquaman and beyond.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020