Zack Snyder Teases Heartbreaking Death With New Justice League Scene

Still upset over the prospect of never getting to see the Zack Snyder version of Justice League? Grab your tissues, gang, because a newly released image from Snyder's version of the superhero film teases a major, heartbreaking death sure to make you shed a few tears.

Taking to the social media platform Vero, Snyder shared a still from a scene of his cut of Justice League, which reveals a crucial plot point in Cyborg's (Ray Fisher) storyline. The black-and-white shot shows Cyborg with his hand pressed against a pane of glass, looking on as his father, S.T.A.R. Labs head Dr. Silas Stone (Joe Morton), is apparently being burnt alive in what looks to be a containment chamber. 

It seems the fire may have been a result of an explosion that involved a Mother Box, a powerful piece of technology that appeared in both Snyder's Justice League and the theatrical version directed by Joss Whedon, who took over for Snyder after he stepped down. Snyder had plans to explore an alternate history of the Mother Boxes, and even shared on Vero storyboard art that explained his Justice League would see Cyborg discussing the Boxes' inception and connection to the Nazis during World War II. 

Snyder captioned the still from Silas' death scene, "You would also cry" — teasing the effect his take on Justice League would have on audiences. Watching a beloved hero witness the death of his father from just a few feet away would undoubtedly bring on the waterworks, so Snyder isn't wrong. 

In the theatrical cut of Justice League, Dr. Silas Stone is alive and relatively well. The film saw the nefarious Parademons army leader Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) kidnap Silas and several humans from S.T.A.R. Labs as part of his mission to create "The Unity," the combination of the three Mother Boxes that would annihilate Earth as we know it and engineer it to look like Steppenwolf's homeworld of Apokolips. Steppenwolf was successful in retrieving two of the three Mother Boxes before he took Silas and various S.T.A.R. Labs employees as hostages and tortured them with the intent of learning where the final Mother Box was located. Eventually, the Justice League (Cyborg, Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman, and the Flash) swooped in to save a very-much-alive Silas. 

It's plain to see that Snyder's vision for Justice League was far darker than Whedon's. Including a death as emotional as Silas' intended one would have brought the film to a somber place it may not have been able to get out of by the film's conclusion. That's pretty on-brand for Snyder, who has garnered a reputation for his unique visual style and divisive storytelling approach, but it evidently isn't what studio Warner Bros. wanted out of Justice League — particularly because its predecessor Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was slammed as a trainwreck largely thanks to its tone: "too gritty to be fun and too grim to be thrilling." The studio just didn't want to make the same mistake over again.

Rumors about Silas dying in Justice League swirled around the production for months before its November 2017 debut and have continued to the present day, with many speculating that his death would establish the foundation for an eventual Cyborg solo film.

A pair of August 2018 tweets from The New York Times' Kyle Buchanan, who cited a report by Slashfilm, claimed that Silas did indeed die in the original version of Justice League: "JUSTICE LEAGUE reshoots changed Cyborg's arc the most. Originally, Joe Morton's character was killed halfway through, and Cyborg finds a video from him at the end that lets Morton's lines play over the final montage. Whedon gave those lines to Amy Adams. But Whedon's reshoots also nixed the Morton death scene, so... a wash?"

In that above-mentioned Slashfilm report, Silas actor Joe Morton confirmed that he filmed a ton of scenes for Snyder's Justice League that were scrapped when Whedon got behind the helm. Morton maintained the hope that the sequences removed from Justice League would be reworked for the Cyborg standalone, and also told IGN that part of the Justice League reshoots involved adjusting Cyborg's tone to "lighten up the film."

"There was [more we shot]. They completely changed the story," he said. "Unfortunately, I can't tell you what [the original story] is because that might end up being in part of the Cyborg movie. Yes, there was a big change once they decided that they were going to do the Cyborg film."

Morton may have been coy about what was clipped from Whedon's cut of Justice League, but it looks like Snyder let the cat out of the bag. 

Whether the Cyborg movie ever ends up happening, and whether the film will actually include the Silas death scene Snyder just teased, is a mystery for right now. According to Cyborg star Ray Fisher, the standalone superhero flick "would be a very, very costly movie to make because it is so CGI heavy" — which could explain why there hasn't been much movement on it. Recently, rumors began to surface suggesting that the Cyborg film is actually dead in the water. We Got This Covered cited unidentified sources claiming Warner Bros. "just doesn't care about making any more projects with Fisher." Ouch.

This all makes one wonder whether giving Cyborg a more emotionally complex narrative in Justice League like the one Snyder had mapped out would have made viewers care more about him — and in turn made Warner Bros. invest more attention and interest into the hero. Killing his father in front of his eyes is bleak, sure, but snubbing Cyborg after just two appearances in the DCEU is just as crushing.