The road to Zack Snyder’s version of the 2017 Justice League film has been unusual and, at times, turbulent. And with a new trailer shown off during the online DC FanDome event, the so-called “Snyder Cut” is attracting even more attention as we inch toward its 2021 premiere on HBO Max. So if you’ve been wondering what all the fuss has been about, and why there’s so much interest in revisiting such a recently released film, we hope this breakdown helps.
Revisiting Justice League
2017’s Justice League was meant to be a major piece of the DC Extended Universe, DC’s version of the hugely successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film followed previous entries in the series like Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman and brought together several of DC’s biggest characters into one film. If you’re looking for equivalents, Justice League could’ve been considered DC’s version of the Avengers films within Marvel’s universe.
However, production on the film was beset with issues, including reported rewrites and friction between studio execs and Snyder, who signed on to direct. By far the most serious and significant event, however, was the death of Snyder’s daughter, which led to the director leaving the project partway through.
Avengers director Joss Whedon was then brought in to continue production and the film was eventually released in 2017 to mixed overall reviews. And while a worldwide gross of around $658 million certainly sounds impressive, some analysts estimate Warner Bros. actually lost money on the film.
Enter the Snyder Cut
In the years since Justice League’s release, vocal fans and even some of the film’s stars took to social media to call for Snyder to oversee a new edit of the film. You might have seen elements of that campaign via the hashtag “ReleaseTheSnyderCut.”
The idea was that Snyder should be given an opportunity to realize the vision he had for the film and share that work with DC’s fans. Despite the online interest and Snyder’s confirmation that such an edit exists, however, there were still questions about how a theoretical “Snyder Cut” would actually be distributed. Earlier this year, we got that answer.
To the HBO Max
Earlier this year, WarnerMedia officially announced Snyder’s version of Justice League would have an exclusive home on its new streaming service, HBO Max. Details were fairly scarce for that initial announcement — outside a target release year of 2021, but we’ve since learned a few more details about the new edit and how it’ll be released.
Production on this new version reportedly includes of budget of around $30 million, and features the participation of several of the film’s cast, including Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller, and Jason Momoa.
Earlier this month, during the online DC FanDome event, the first full trailer was released, giving fans their first real glimpse at what’s in store for this new treatment of the film. It also includes what appears to be an official title for the project: Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
Of course, we’ll have to wait until 2021 to know if this new edit is a better version of Justice League, but it’s already clear it’ll be a longer version. Variety reported that the new edit will be available in a miniseries format, with four, one-hour sections on HBO Max. Fans will also have the option to view the film as a single, four-hour movie.
Beyond that, WarnerMedia is reportedly working on distribution plans beyond HBO Max, which could potentially include physical media releases, like 4K Blu-ray.
For now, though, that should bring you up to speed on Justice League’s long, winding path to a director’s cut. We’re still awaiting an exact release date on HBO Max, and we’ll likely hear more about the film as we near its premiere. In the meantime, if you’re eagerly anticipating Zack Snyder’s Justice League, feel free to let us know in the comments section.
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