Zack Snyder's fans finally got what they wanted when the DC movie director announced his long-rumored director's cut of Justice League. The "Snyder Cut" is set to stream on HBO Max in 2021, but a fresh leak may have revealed one of the biggest issues facing Snyder as he attempts to edit together his original vision of the DC Extended Universe movie into something watchable.
We're never going to get the actual Justice League ending that Zack Snyder wanted for one simple reason: It doesn't exist.
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Before Zack Snyder left production on Justice League due to a family crisis and Joss Whedon stepped in, the superhero team-up movie was supposed to be a two-part saga (kind of like Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame). It was also meant to feature Darkseid as the main villain. Of course, we all know that DC eventually released a single film focused on Steppenwolf (a B-tier supervillain that many fans had never heard of).
We also know the Snyder Cut will bring back Darkseid in some capacity. Zack Snyder previously revealed unused footage of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) uncovering hieroglyphics of the evil space god, and the official teaser trailer showed a clip of Darkseid against a fiery backdrop. However, that doesn't mean the Snyder Cut will give us the ending Zack originally intended.
A drawing currently making the rounds on Reddit claims to show a sketch of how Zack Snyder's Justice League Part 1 was originally supposed to end. The image is attributed to Jim Lee, a legendary comics artist and writer who currently serves as Chief Creative Officer of DC Comics.
The sketch shows an apocalyptic Gotham City with the title "Five Years Later." Batman and a group of survivors make their way to a dilapidated Wayne Manor. The Flash drags the remains of Cyborg. Batman warns that they need to get inside before nightfall because "he's coming."
It's an absolutely epic cliffhanger on par with the end of Avengers: Infinity War, which kicked off a full year of speculation as fans waited for a conclusion. Except, this version of Justice League is even better because it utilizes the "five years later" trope at the end of Part 1, rather than at the beginning of Part 2 like Marvel did. That makes the cliffhanger even more powerful.
As awesome as this might have been, it also reveals a fatal flaw with the Snyder Cut: There's simply no way this footage exists. Zack Snyder has a pretty big budget from Warner to edit together his "Snyder Cut," add in some CGI, and even pay the cast to record new audio. But he's definitely not going to be shooting any new footage. So whatever he has on hand, that's pretty much it.
With the Snyder Cut said to run for over three-and-a-half hours (possibly as an HBO Max miniseries) there's certainly room for a big twist at the story's midpoint. But anyone hoping for the epic two-part crossover that Zack Snyder originally had planned will likely have to accept that sketches like this are the closest we'll ever get.
The Snyder Cut comes to HBO Max in 2021.