Snyder Cut, explained: A definitive guide to the most controversial director's cut ever 

Will it ever be released? Should it be? Let's examine.

Ben Affleck as Batman and Zack Snyder on the set of 'Batman v Superman' for DC

For more than two years, it’s been the center of speculation, anticipation, and controversy like few other “lost films” ever have. A recent resurgence in demand has only increased the allure surrounding the rumored alternate version of Justice League. With each passing day, it seems a new detail about the film emerges. With a release seemingly inevitable, 2019 has truly been a landmark year for a small but devoted clutch of DC fans. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to talk about the “Snyder Cut.”

Here’s everything you need to know about the widely disputed, endlessly controversial, and maybe mythical Snyder Cut, from its earliest origins to why fans think it might finally be on the verge of release.

Why did Zack Snyder leave Justice League?

Way back in 2016, director Zack Snyder stepped down from the helm of the 2017 DCEU crossover film Justice League after the sudden death of his daughter. Snyder left near the end of production, meaning most of the film had already been shot. Soon afterward, Warner Bros. enlisted Avengers director Joss Whedon to finish the film, which ended up involving significant reshoots that fans have since argued changed the overall narrative and tone of the film for the worse.

While the demand for Snyder’s original version existed even before Justice League hit theaters, it was only after the movie bombed both critically and financially that it developed a full-on cult following. Demands that Warner Bros. #ReleaseTheSnyderCut have been ever-present on the internet since November 2017. Advocates for the cause also used the platform as a way to fundraise for suicide prevention organizations, but as with most devoted online fan communities, there are toxic elements, too.

Aquaman Justice League
'Justice League' (2017)

How is the Snyder Cut plot different from Justice League?

The Snyder Cut was filmed when the overarching plan for the future of the DCEU seemed a bit more concrete. Essentially, Snyder was establishing a storyline that connected with his other DC films like Batman v Superman and Man of Steel. The result was a darker, grittier, more cohesive version of the movie than what ended up in theaters.

It’s more or less confirmed that Snyder’s version of Justice League would have featured a number of different plot points and character appearances. For example, despite its widely publicized tagline, “Unite the Seven,” the theatrical cut of Justice League features just six characters.

snyder cut plot differences
Remember this?

We’ve since learned Snyder’s cut of the film would have introduced Green Lantern to the DCEU, rounding out the seven that were to be united.

Long-standing rumors also claimed Superman would be resurrected in Justice League (after his heroic sacrifice in Batman v Superman) only to don the black Superman suit from the beloved Return of Superman comics arc. It’s since been confirmed this was part of Snyder’s plan, which was changed during Whedon’s reshoots.

Lingering rumors about the Snyder Cut

There’s loads more speculation about Snyder’s original vision for the film, many of which tie back to that “flash-forward” cameo in Batman v Superman and the ensuing “Knightmare” sequence. The most prominent rumor claims the death of Lois Lane would have led to Superman turning heel. What we do know for sure, thanks to Snyder himself, is that his version would have at least teased the rise of Darkseid, ostensibly the greatest supervillain in the DC universe.

justice league
The Justice League

Does the Snyder Cut have a release date?

Fans demanding for the release of Snyder’s version of the film have been circulating since 2017, and it’s only getting louder. Snyder has more or less confirmed that he has a cut of the film, and that it’s at least somewhat releasable. Kevin Smith and Justice League star Jason Momoa say they’ve both seen it. Composer Junkie XL recently announced that he’s finished with the score. However, as of right now, there are no concrete plans to make the film widely available.

Will the Snyder Cut come to HBO Max?

The rumor at this point is that the film will be made available via HBO Max in 2020, a rumor that suddenly seemed a lot more substantial when most of the cast and a few other HBO-adjacent folks joined the masses in tweeting #ReleaseTheSnyderCut. However, until an announcement is made, it remains a rumor.

The Snyder Cut is starting to look like it may go down as one of the great cinematic mysteries of our time. Whether or not it ever receives its long-rumored day in the sun, it’s certainly a cinematic curiosity worth reading up on.

Media via Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Pictures, DC