Can the Rebel Moon Director's Cut Save the Sci-Fi Franchise?

Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child of Fire flopped. But what about Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child of Fire — The Zack Snyder Director’s Cut?

Staz Nair and Djimon Hounsou in Rebel Moon: Part 2 — The Scargiver

Zack Snyder’s decades of filmmaking have earned him a contentious reputation. He’s become infamous for unrealized visions and subsequent director’s cuts, a trend now so prevalent that even producers who don’t meddle with his first passes want to capitalize on the buzz of a “Snyder Cut.”

Now, with Netflix, Snyder appears to have the most creative freedom he’s ever enjoyed. That’s what makes his latest project, Rebel Moon, such an anomaly. Not only has Snyder split his sci-fi epic into two installments, but each film will get a director’s cut down the line. Per Snyder, this was a request from Netflix, as the streamer wanted to start with a tamer, relatively family-friendly version of the story. With Part One now out, Snyder is gearing up to release the “deeper, harder,” R-rated iteration later this year.

In an interview with I Minutemen, Snyder confirmed the Rebel Moon director’s cuts could debut sometime in 2024. “We don’t have a date yet, but I think it’s going to be in the summer,” the director said. “Those will come out, probably, on the same day.”

The first half of Rebel Moon, A Child of Fire, hit Netflix on December 2023. Part Two: The Scargiver premieres in April. If Netflix and Snyder follow this pattern, it could be another four months before we get the R-rated vision of both. Such a wait isn’t ideal, especially since A Child of Fire was so poorly received. But for those who are patient and curious enough, the director’s cuts could hold the key to a complete (and maybe even enjoyable) story.

The Scargiver is set to premiere in April, and its extended cut won’t be far behind.


A Child of Fire is Snyder’s most panned film to date. Critics weren’t at all impressed with his love letter to ’80s sci-fi, citing a patchwork script and derivative, empty worldbuilding among the film’s many flaws. Despite its two-hour runtime, A Child of Fire felt bafflingly incomplete. Some of that seems to stem from the edit, which lingers on Snyder’s trademark vignettes at the expense of more crucial, compelling moments.

The film is already a bit long; its languid scenes stretch out for ages but don’t always have much to say. The building blocks of this world and its heroes’ motivations are clearly defined, but the film is missing reasons for anyone to care.

Snyder’s extended cut could remedy that, as the director plans to tack on an hour of footage. More isn’t always better, but given the track record of previous Snyder cuts, it couldn’t hurt. Batman v Superman earned a lot of goodwill from its “Ultimate Edition,” which added an additional 30 minutes to an already-staggering film. The same could be said for Snyder’s four-hour version of Justice League. Those who don’t enjoy his grandiose style still had major issues with the films, but his director’s cuts often benefit from a more evocative vision and simply flow better.

Maybe the ideal Zack Snyder film is a long one. Something happens when the director is forced to compromise on his vision. His work isn’t for everyone, but it’s hard to deny that Snyder does his best work when he’s left to his own devices, and Rebel Moon’s extended cuts will likely reinforce that rule. A longer film won’t fix all the issues, but it could at least provide the context Rebel Moon desperately needs to justify its existence.

Rebel Moon: A Child of Fire is currently streaming on Netflix. Rebel Moon: The Scargiver premieres on April 19.

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