For the better part of three years, a certain portion of the DC movie fandom had held on to the belief a "Snyder Cut" version of 2017's Justice League exists but is, for some reason, being kept from the public by the powers that be. With the creation of the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut hashtag has come plenty of controversy and shouting on Twitter, with fans demanding to see the version of Justice League Zack Snyder was in the process of making before he departed the project for family-related reasons in 2016.
With each passing day, it seems a new detail about the film emerges as well as a new rumor about why the Snyder Cut is being suppressed rather than released. In 2019, after a fresh wave of support for the Snyder Cut's release washed over the land with various Justice League cast members chiming in, Warner Bros. weighed in. At the time, The Hollywood Reporter shared that the studio maintained it had no release plans for the Snyder Cut of Justice League. And yes, DCEU fans remain devoted to the Snyder Cut story they created.
So, how did this all start? What is the Snyder Cut? Will it ever be released? 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, possibly 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.
Does the Snyder Cut actually, literally, for real exist?
It's certainly possible! If the footage is still intact, it would likely be housed somewhere on the Warner Bros. lot. If it did exist and was still intact and was still living somewhere on the Warner Bros. lot, it would need to be dusted off and then given plenty of VFX treatment and probably some reshoots as well as editing to cobble together a usable cut of the movie. That is all a big, big shot in the dark, though.
How is the Snyder Cut plot different from the Justice League we saw in theaters?
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. 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.
As for the Justice League cut we saw in theaters, also known as the Whedon Cut, the New York Times has confirmed just how much the movie changed from Snyder's vision and what he was working toward pre-exit . According to the newspaper, Whedon added almost 80 new script pages post-takeover as well as scenes for added scenes for Gadot, Diane Lane (who played Martha Kent), and Amy Adams (Lois Lane). Whedon also cut storylines for Ezra Miller (Flash) and Ray Fisher (Cyborg). We can also file the great Henry Cavill Mustache Fiasco of Justice League under Whedon cut changes, too.
Are there any Snyder Cut rumors still out there?
There are 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. Unconfirmed rumors (via Cinemablend) have also been floating around that a cut of Snyder's Justice League were screened at some point but it's unclear what was onscreen.
Have any Justice League cast or crew commented on the Syder Cut?
Oh boy, yes, they have.
November 2019 saw a flurry of support from Justice League stars Jason Momoa, Gal Gadot, and Ben Affleck as well as Zack Snyder. It's unclear what prompted the sudden spate of pro-Snyder Cut support from these Justice League folks but their posts on social media re-invigorated fans who also have a pro-Snyder Cut stance.
Jason Momoa, who plays Aquaman in Justice League, was the first to fan the Snyder Cut flames. Sharing a black-and-white photo of Aquaman spearing Darkseid on his Instagram, Momoa caption the pic with, "#releasethesnydercut. aloha j."
A few weeks later, Gal Gadot, (aka, Wonder Woman) shared a black-and-white photo of her character sitting in what looks like the back of a van and looking out. She also captioned her pic with "#ReleaseTheSnyderCut."
A few hours after Gal's tweet, Justice League's Batman portrayer Ben Affleck followed suit by tweeting out the hashtag. He didn't post a photo like his castmates had done.
Around the same time Affleck was tweeting, Snyder chimed in on Twitter. He retweeted Gal's tweet and added, "This ancient Amazonian can't be wrong."
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 in 2019. 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 keeping an eye on.