The release of the much-debated "Snyder Cut" of Justice League would very likely have much more of a ripple effect than many have considered. Zack Snyder departed the film in May 2017 in the wake of a family tragedy, and the movie was subjected to extensive reshoots in his absence. Upon the Justice League's release, it swiftly became clear that, rather than simply serving to finish the film to Snyder's intended vision as Warner Bros. had claimed was the case, the reshoots had altered Justice League far more heavily than what the studio had admitted to.
Since then, fans of Snyder's films have tirelessly campaigned for Warner Bros. to release the Snyder Cut of Justice League, including a grassroots campaign at the 2019 San Diego Comic Con. These efforts haven't gone unnoticed by the cast and crew of Justice League either, who have steadily begun to support the campaign for the Snyder Cut. Zack Snyder himself has extensively teased his cut of Justice League on social media, while Jason Momoa has been especially vocal in his support of its release, recently confirming to have seen the Snyder Cut himself on Instagram.
The decision to release the Snyder Cut of Justice League is one that Warner Bros. alone has the power to make. At this point, nearly two years out from the film's theatrical release, there's little reason to believe that anything short of Warner Bros. giving the Snyder Cut the greenlight will cause the push for its release to subside. However, something that has seen precious little discussion amid all the debate surrounding the Snyder Cut are the larger implications of what its release will entail.
Considering just how long the campaign for it has lasted, and the sheer amount of energy behind it, it is a certainty that the Snyder Cut's release would have a noticeable impact beyond Zack Snyder's version of Justice League finally being released for the world to see. It's just a question of what those larger effects of the Snyder Cut's release would be.
What The Justice League Snyder Cut's Release Would Mean For Fandom
Fan-driven campaigns towards major Hollywood studios are nothing new, and they've become more ubiquitous in the age of the internet and social media. Many have pursued some decidedly less-than-achievable goals, as seen with calls by some fans to remake Star Wars: The Last Jedi or remake season 8 of Game of Thrones. However, there are also several examples of precedent for fan initiatives receiving a positive response from studios, such as with Netflix greenlighting a send-off for the previously-cancelled series Sense8. Filmmaker James Gunn was also at the center of one such campaign following his firing from Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3, with Marvel fans rallying behind the director after his removal from the film, eventually leading Disney to rehire Gunn.
The Snyder Cut of Justice League is arguably in a class of its own, in this regard. It wouldn't be the first time fans have lobbied a studio to release an alternate version of a previously released movie, with Blade Runner: The Final Cut and Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut being the obvious go-to examples.
But now Snyder himself has confirmed its existence, the push isn't about to subside. At this point, the Justice League Snyder Cut finally seeing the light of day would doubtlessly be bound to have major effects over and above simply being the rare example of a fan campaign actually achieving its stated goal. The Snyder Cut campaign has not only seen a remarkable level of sustained effort, but has done so even after Warner Bros. stated in no unclear terms that they have no plans to release it last summer. Before that point, the studio had been silent, but by taking such a stance, Warner Bros. drew a line under the issue. For it to release now would embolden future fan endeavors (for better or ill).
The Effects On The DCEU
Were the Snyder Cut released, it would essentially mean that a missing piece of the DCEU's puzzle will have been restored, fleshing out Snyder's much-touted five-movie plan and returning connective tissue such as how Aquaman was originally set up by the end Justice League.
However, its release would surely also lead to more debate about the future of the franchise. The most obvious secondary effect of the Snyder Cut's release, as far as the DCEU is concerned, would be that fans would likely then turn their attention to the "Ayer Cut" of 2016's Suicide Squad. That film saw its own set of alterations, including a different ending for The Joker. The changes here are more complex, with Ayer initially calling the released version his director's cut, although he's disputed that the year since. Regardless, if a Justice League Snyder Cut happened, then a Suicide Squad Ayer Cut seems incrementally more possible.
Story-wise, though, things can't and won't simply go back to how they were before Justice League's release. Wheels have been set in motion in another direction and at least one major actor is lost with Ben Affleck moving on and Henry Cavill's future as Superman in doubt. Grander, there's been a concerted effort with the upcoming DC films to pivot away from the "Snyderverse" canon entirely. Not only should fans not expect Snyder to return to finish his story, nor should they think anything in the DCEU's forward momentum will change (this is, indeed, a key hurdle for the release).
That said, even though there's not a Justice League sequel anywhere in sight, a successful release of the Snyder Cut could put Justice League 2 (just maybe not the original script) back on the map, especially now that Jason Momoa has a billion-dollar DCEU movie under his belt with Aquaman, and Wonder Woman 1984 will have likely already been released, that's two of DC's biggest stars well cemented into canon. Make that three stars if Ezra Miller stays on as Flash and Andy Muschietti's Flash movie is successful.
A more outside chance is that the Snyder Cut could finally get the Cyborg solo film off the ground; Victor Stone was by Zack Snyder as the "heart" of the film. Which says nothing of another Superman solo movie coming out of it, as well. Of course, all of this relies on a high profile release and reception, two things which would likely be more muted than some fans expect.
The Effects On The Film Industry
Warner Bros. and the DCEU would not be the only ones to feel the effects of the Justice League Snyder Cut's release. In truth, its release would likely have noticeable ramifications for the entire film industry. The most direct effect would be the precedent that the Snyder Cut's release would set, that of a previously suppressed version of a movie being released after a significant fan-driven campaign directed at a major Hollywood studio. It wouldn't be the first time such an outcome has happened, as the aforementioned alternate cuts of Blade Runner and Superman II demonstrate, but it would be arguably the most significant, given the passion behind it and the fact that it exists as part of an ongoing franchise. To be sure, its release would do nothing to make studios seriously consider acquiescing to fan campaigns such as the petition to remake the final season of Game of Thrones, but the precedent it would set could potentially open the door to studios greenlighting other alternate cuts of previously released films, provided the demand is there.
More importantly, however, is that the Snyder Cut's release would serve as a major cautionary tale to Warner Bros. and every other major film studio. The success of the campaign for its release would likely send a signal to the entire film industry of the folly of revamping and reshaping already filmed and largely completed movies at the eleventh hour, especially with the Snyder Cut campaign involving intellectual property as prominent as Justice League. It would communicate to every studio the financial and creative fallacy of pouring additional millions into reshoots that go beyond normal pick-ups and serve as the ultimate example of the negative outcomes of such an approach to filmmaking.
Conversely, such a victory could also drive studios to make more "safe" director hiring decisions. If there's clear evidence of studio meddling, it could be a nail in the coffin for the trend of auteurs being given big-budget fan-favorite projects after seeing success with lower budget films. While this approach has seen a number of major stumbles, it also elevated some of the greatest working filmmakers today like Christopher Nolan.
As the Justice League Snyder Cut campaign continues, it's clear that the only possible end is for Warner Bros. to give it their approval. However, its release would inevitably bring with it a wave of additional effects on both the DCEU and the entire film industry with studios would likely find themselves taking extra time hiring directors and finalizing scripts before they find themselves deep in production on a movie they feel the need to massively reshoot. We won't be able to ascertain the full scope of the larger impact of the Snyder Cut until it is actually released (if ever), but at this point, it's clear that fans finally seeing Justice League as Zack Snyder intended for it to be shown would just be the beginning.
- 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
- The Batman (2021) release date: Jun 25, 2021
- The Suicide Squad (2021) release date: Aug 06, 2021
- DC Super Pets (2022) release date: May 20, 2022
- Aquaman 2 (2022) release date: Dec 16, 2022