Justice League (found original unreleased Zack Snyder cut of superhero film; 2017)
Justice League Snyder Cut is the director's cut of the 2017 superhero film Justice League by Zack Snyder. When a personal tragedy hit Zack Snyder during the post-production of the Justice League it was given to director Joss Whedon in order to finish. Many issues arose after Zack Snyder departed the project leaving many critical scenes of Justice League out of the movie. With the release of Justice League, fans were calling for the release of the Snyder Cut of the film. This cut was for a while, unknown to exist since neither Snyder nor Warner Brothers said anything about the cut. Claims have arisen that Warner Brother's executives and some of Zack Snyder's friends and family have seen the movie while Jason Momoa (Aquaman) has confirmed that the film exists and has personally seen the Snyder cut. In December 2019, Snyder confirmed that the cut was real and in 2020 it was announced that the cut will be released on HBO Max on March 18th, 2021.
The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) began with the release of Man of Steel in 2013. The goal of the DCEU was to bring together the various DC comics characters into one shared universe similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Initial plans called for a Justice League film date back to 2007 when it was announced that the Justice League would be released in 2008. This planned film was cancelled due to the writers guild strike. In October of 2014, Warner Brothers announced that a two-part Justice League film with part one slated for a 2017 release date. Zack Snyder’s initial proposal for a two-part Justice League movie would later be condensed into just one movie. In an interview he would state why his two-part movie never got past the planning stage, stating:
"WB execs were playing catch up to Marvel and wanted to get the Justice League team out there as soon as possible. Snyder didn't want Justice League released as soon as it was as his plan was to follow the story of Superman. Daly says Snyder wanted to do five or six movies that started with Superman being the reluctant hero leading to the Superman everyone is familiar with, i.e. a boy scout version approved by the president. Daly says the arc started with Superman with the idea of him being a reluctant apathetic hero who didn't know if he belonged on earth or wanted to save people, leading to the Superman we all know, but Daly says we never got a chance to see it. Daly also says Snyder's 5-6 movie plan consisted of Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman, Justice League, Man of Steel 2, and a two-part Justice League (JL 2 and 3). Daly says a lot of things were left out from Snyder's true vision, that Snyder got a raw deal, and that Snyder had a lot going on moving forward. Daly also confirms that Aquaman did save Clark Kent from the oil rig in Man of Steel and a lot was left out from Snyder's original plans for Batman vs. Superman as well."
Production for Justice League began on April 11th, 2016, and wrapped up in December of 2016 and was filmed on 35mm footage. After the release of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice in March of 2016, Warner Brothers was concerned that Zack Snyder's film would have been too dark. While Zack Snyder had intended for the film to become progressively lighter in nature throughout its run, Warner Brothers forced a rewrite of the script. After screening the film and making strides to make the film lighter, reports say the Warner Brothers executives were still not happy with the final movie. Some reports even go as far as to say that Zack Snyder may have been fired from Justice League. On May 22nd, 2017, director Zack Snyder left production of Justice League due to a family tragedy. leaving director Joss Whedon to take charge of the production.
Once Joss Whedon took over production, drastic changes were made to Zack Snyder's vision of the film. Warner Brothers demanded that the was to be reduced to a two-hours long as opposed to releasing the three-and-a-half-hour movie. Many changes had to be made in order to meet Warner Brother's demands. Changes included reshooting entire scenes, while other changes took out characters who were critical to Zack Snyder's version of the movie. Confirmed changes made to Justice League include:
- Replacing Junkie XL's score with Danny Elfman's.
- Steppenwolf's design was completely changed from what was in "Batman vs Superman".
- Batman having a siren that attracts Parademons.
- Darkseid being removed from the movie entirely.
- A scene where Wonder Woman explores a shrine that contains an ancient invasion of Earth was cut.
- Superman's story being reshot.
- Cyborg's mother was completely cut.
- Flash running out of a corner store to save Iris West from being hit by a car being cut from the film.
- Aquaman finding the Dead King's throne with the Dead King on it. Replaced with a dead Atlantian soldier in front of where the Dead King stood before.
- Aquaman's mythology was reshot.
- The entire Justice League standing over Clark Kent's grave was cut from the film.
- A continuation of the Knightmare scene from Batman v. Superman was cut.
- A scene where Lois Lane visiting Superman's memorial was cut.
- Lois and Martha's side story were replaced.
- A scene where Lois and Clark reunite at a farm was reshot.
- Recontextualizing the Wayne Aerospace Hanger to be a part of the Batcave.
- A scene where Alfred meets the Justice League was cut.
- The number of scenes that took place at S.T.A.R. Labs was reduced.
- Removing The Atom from the movie entirely.
- Silas Stone was to have a longer storyline and was supposed to be killed off.
- A significant reduction in the military subplot.
- Cyborg saving a police officer from a Humvee that Superman throws.
- Superman in his black suit was cut.
- A scene where Superman takes his first flight was cut.
- A scene where Superman meets Alfred was cut.
- Superman being unhinged in the final battle.
- A scene where Mera and Steppenwolf fight was cut.
- Steppenwolf's defeat would have ended as a cliffhanger.
- Silas Stone was to give the closing monologue to the movie as opposed to Lois Lane.
- Introducing Vulko during Aquaman's ending in order to set up the beginning for Aquaman.
- Lex Luthor’s post-credit dialogue would have teased Ben Affleck's Batman movie, instead of the Legion of Doom.
- Much of Cyborg's character development was removed
The Snyder cut of Justice League was, for many years, not confirmed as official by Warner Brothers or Zack Snyder and was merely a nickname given to all of the scenes, characters, and overall changes made to Justice League. Despite this, actor Jason Momoa who plays Aquaman later confirmed that the Snyder Cut does indeed exist and even claimed to have seen it. Jason Momoa has even gone into great detail to confirm which scenes and characters were cut and was vocal about getting Snyder Cut released. Soon after Jason Momoa went public about the Snyder Cut, Zack Snyder released a still from Aquaman's ending in Justice League. This led to many fans to call for the release of Snyder Cut. Even Ben Affleck (Batman), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Ray Fisher (Cyborg), Joe Manganiello (Deathstroke), and the production crew who worked with Zack Snyder promoted #ReleaseTheSnyderCut on social media. On December 5th, 2019, Snyder confirmed the existence of the film via Twitter, with an image of the film's reel with the text "Is it real? Does it exist? Of course, it does!", and confirmed the film's running time as 240 minutes. However, he stated that he was unable to currently release the film as Warner Bros. was skeptical to spend the millions of dollars required to finish the visual effects and audio editing to secure its release. However, due to fan outcry, this would eventually change, and in 2021, the Snyder Cut would be made officially available on HBO Max.
On May 20th, 2020, WarnerMedia's new streaming service HBO Max announced that Zack Snyder's original cut of Justice League will debut on the service sometime in 2021. With that, $30 million have been given in order to finish the cut. In June 2020, president of HBO Max Sandra Dewey stated that the Snyder Cut will aim for an early to mid-2021 release. On August 22nd, 2020, during DC Fandome, the first trailer for the Snyder Cut debuted and featured never before seen footage the was cut from the 2017 version. That includes a brief shot of Darkseid, The Flash running out a corner store to save Iris, a shot of the nightmare sequence that started in Batman v Superman, Lois hugging Martha, Clark hugging Lois and Martha, Cyborg saving a police offer from a flying Humvee and numerous shots of Superman's black suit.
However, the trailer was later set to private due to rights with Leonard Cohen's "Halleluiah" expiring. A updated version of the trailer was later uploaded on November 17th, with a few extra never before seen shots. On December 17th, 2020, it was revealed that the film will be on HBO Max sometime in March 2021. Originally thought to be a four-part mini-series, it was confirmed by Snyder himself that it will be a four-hour movie. On January 29th, 2021, WarnerMedia put out a press release revealing the film will be released on March 18th, 2021.
In December 2020, Snyder speculated that the movie would be rated R because the footage that was filmed recently to complete his version of the movie would get the movie a deserved R rating. Two months later on February 3rd, 2021, it was confirmed that the movie will be rated R for "Violence and Language", similar to the extended version of Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice released in 2016.
On February 11th, 2021, Snyder revealed on Twitter that the next trailer for the film will be released on February 14th. In the tweet, he also shared a few more never before seen snippets from the film. The trailer dropped on February 14th with a mix of never before seen footage and newly shot footage that completed Snyder's version of the movie. The trailer also showed a new addition in the form of Jared Leto's Joker making an appearance in the Knightmare scene that was not previously in Zack Synder's original plan for Justice League.
On February 19th, 2021, it was announced that Zack Snyder's version of Justice League would be released worldwide on the same day of its U.S. release date on March 18th, 2021 (with countries that don't have access to HBO Max yet will make it available on WarnerMedia's premium streaming app HBO Go in Europe and Asia), but with France, China, and Japan's release dates yet to be determined. On March 8th, 2021, it was reported that Zack Snyder's cut of the film accidentally got leaked too early on HBO Max by replacing the digital file for Warner Bros.' 2021 animated/live-action film Tom & Jerry for about one to two hours before the glitch was fixed.
On March 18th, 2021, Zack Snyder's Justice League was officially released to the public through HBO Max.
- Batman Forever (partially lost "Schumacher cut" of DC superhero film sequel; 1995)
- Fant4stic (partially lost "Josh Trank cut" of superhero film; 2015)
- Suicide Squad (partially lost "David Ayer cut" of DC superhero film; 2016)
- Article about the 2007 Justice League film. Retrieved 23 Oct '19
- Warner Brothers announcing a two-part Justice League movie. Retrieved 23 Oct '19
- Interview with Zack Snyder staring why many of his DCEU movies were scrapped. Retrieved 31 Mar '20
- Article that states the beginning of production of Justice League. Retrieved 23 Oct '19
- Zack Snyder confirming that the film's tone would change throughout the run. Retrieved 23 Oct '19
- An article that reports on the post-production drama. Retrieved 23 Oct '19
- Article about Zack Snyder departing the project. Retrieved 23 Oct '19
- Article that details all of the confirmed cuts from Justice League. Retrieved 24 Oct '19
- Article about Jason Momoa talking about the Snyder Cut. Retrieved 24 Oct '19
- Article about the cast of Justice League tweeting for the release of the Snyder Cut. Retrieved 22 Nov '19
- NME news article on the confirmation and runtime of the Zack Snyder cut of Justice League. Retrieved 25 Mar '20
- Nerdlist article on Zack Snyder confirming the Justice League "Snyder Cut". Retrieved 25 Mar '20
- HBO Max's tweet announcing the release of Zack Snyder's cut of Justice League on the service. Retrieved 20 May '20
- Sandra Dewey announcing an early to mid-2021 release for the "Snyder Cut". Retrieved 21 Dec '20
- The Verge article on the first trailer for Zack Snyder's cut of Justice League. Retrieved 22 Aug '20
- Decider article about HBO Max removing the trailer from all its social media accounts. Retrieved 17 Nov '20
- Justice League: Zack Snyder Unveils Black and White Trailer With New Footage - IGN Retrieved 17 Nov '20
- Screenrant article announcing the film's release date. Retrieved 21 Dec '20
- Zack Snyder Seemingly Confirms Justice League Will Be a 4-Hour Movie, Not a Miniseries - IGN Retrieved 29 Jan '21
- ZACK SNYDER'S JUSTICE LEAGUE to Premiere March 18 on HBO Max - Warner Media Retrieved 29 Jan '21
- Zack Snyder's Justice League might get R-rated theatrical release - Entertainment Weekly Retrieved 11 Feb '21
- Zack Snyder's Justice League officially gets rated R - Entertainment Weekly Retrieved 11 Feb '21
- Zack Snyder's tweet announcing the next trailer for the film. Retrieved 11 Feb '21
- IGN's article on Zack Snyder's Justice League worldwide release date. Retrieved 19 Feb '21
- IGN's article on Zack Snyder's Justice League accidental leak and replacing Tom & Jerry on HBO Max for a few hours. Retrieved 08 Mar '21
- HBO Max's page on Zack Snyder's Justice League (requires a subscription to view the film). Retrieved 18 Mar '21