Fans of Zack Snyder's work in the DCEU have been campaigning for months to "release the Snyder Cut," of Justice League and there's a fair amount of evidence to suggest the cut exists in a mostly complete form, but distribution could prove to be a complicated issue.
There's been a lot of debate since Justice League's release about whether or not the Snyder Cut is even real, but we broke down back in January that there's a paper trail proving Snyder completed all of principal photography and a good portion post-production, and since then Snyder himself has teased additional work, Justice League's storyboard artist, DC animation director, and frequent Snyder collaborator, Jay Oliva, has come out to say it exists, and new rumors say Snyder continued work on it on his own time.
Even so, many official sources continue to claim the cut doesn't exist and cast doubt on the prospect of it ever seeing the light of day. If it's mostly done, what's to stop Snyder from releasing it himself? Would Warner Bros. release it if it was completed like they did with the Batman v Superman: Ultimate Edition? There are a number of roadblocks preventing the Snyder Cut from being released, but it is a possibility eventually.
- This Page: The Snyder Cut Isn't a Normal Director's Cut
- Page 2: Complicated Distribution Rights and Changed Continuity
- Page 3: How Could The Snyder Cut Be Released?
The Snyder Cut Isn't a Normal Director's Cut
The idea of a "director's cut" isn't new. Every movie has some form of director's cut assembled during production, and plenty of movies get an eventual director's cut release, to mixed reception. Snyder, particularly, is known for his director's cuts, with Sucker Punch, Watchmen, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice directors cuts (or "Ultimate Cuts") all seeing a significant improvement over the theatrical releases.
With all of these cuts, as with most director's cuts, they were completed ahead of the theatrical release but trimmed by studio mandate to lower the rating, fit a shorter runtime, or for other studio concerns. This means they were shot, edited, and had completed effects before the theatrical release, making it easy to include as an option (or an upsell) with the initial home media rollout, if not shortly after.
Justice League is a little different. First, there were some significant deviations to the writing after the negative reception to BvS in order to lighten the tone, then there were additional struggles between Oscar Winner Chris Terrio, and DC President Geoff Johns, before Snyder was eventually forced off the project altogether. He had finished 100% of principal photography and part of post-production, including a fair amount of VFX work, but he wasn't the director on hand for reshoots or the final stages of principal photography.
As a result, it's doubtful a pure cut of Justice League matching Snyder's original vision could be assembled, although he does have most of the pieces he needs to assemble a complete film, so the comparison to the Donner Cut of Superman II or the Blade Runner: The Final Cut might be apter than Snyder's other directors cuts.
There was still considerable work to do, and it is achievable, but it won't necessarily release in the near future. The Donner Cut and Blade Runner Final Cut both took decades, though the prevalence of information about and demand for the Snyder Cut may very well lead to a much shorter wait time.
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