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Justice League Snyder Cut - What We Know So Far

Justice League may have been one of the biggest movie flops of 2017, but there just might be a group of superheroes that could save its reputation after all: original director Zack Snyder, and the legion of fans rallying for Warner Bros. to release the elusive "Snyder Cut" of the film. 

With the unprecedented success of Marvel's Avengers franchise and its ever-expanding superhero universe, Warner Bros. brass knew that before long, they'd have to come up with a cinematic answer to Earth's Mightiest Heroes over at DC. Where Marvel had the Avengers, DC had the Justice League — and bringing the superhero team to the silver screen seemed like a simple, win-win move for everyone. Unfortunately, Justice League wasn't exactly the hit Warner Bros. and DC Films were hoping for, and certainly didn't hold a flame to the heroic ensembles of its biggest competition.

Snyder was the original director of Justice League, but left as post-production was starting after the tragic death of his daughter. As a result, none other than The Avengers filmmaker Joss Whedon took over the film as its uncredited director. Ultimately, Whedon did quite the opposite of wowing fans, delivering a final cut that was described by an insider as a "Frankenstein project." 

Demand for Warner Bros. to unleash Snyder's original vision for Justice League sparked up shortly after the film opened in theaters in November 2017, with fans creating a petition calling for the Snyder Cut to be released. At that time, there was no confirmation that such a version of the film even existed — it was simply the rumor mill churning and fans speculating. As the years have gone by, though, more information about the Snyder Cut of Justice League has surfaced, with 2019 marking perhaps the biggest year for Snyder Cut news yet. 

From whisperings about the much-called-for cut actually seeing the light of day to much discussion on how different Snyder's version of the movie is from Whedon's, here's what we know about the Snyder Cut.

What's the release date for the Snyder Cut?

In April 2019, Zack Snyder confirmed the existence of the Snyder Cut, revealing that he has "a bunch" of cuts of Justice League and that it would ultimately be up to Warner Bros. to release the footage. According to an attendee at the Director's Cuts fundraiser event that month, the director commented that the Snyder Cut, which is said to clock in at 214 minutes, would need "a few CG tweaks." Snyder is reported to have said, when asked when the Snyder Cut might be released, "I can't give an exact answer to that because I don't know, but IT EXISTS, IT'S READY aside from a few CG tweaks, but I don't own it, legally I cannot release it, I'm hoping it won't be long."

A few months later, actor Jason Momoa, who portrays Aquaman in Justice League and his own standalone DC flick, corroborated the fact that the Snyder Cut really exists. In a post uploaded to his Instagram in August 2019, Momoa wrote a tribute to Snyder, adding at the bottom that "the Snyder cut is ssssiiicccckkkkkk." The excitement surrounding the cut has only increased since then — with Momoa hinting in an interview that Snyder, despite leaving before Justice League was done, might actually have managed to finish all his editing to produce a complete film

At that time, there was no word from Warner Bros. on the matter. But with the upcoming 2020 release of the new streaming service HBO Max, which will be home to all WarnerMedia Entertainment content including movies in the DC Extended Universe, many fans are hoping that the Snyder Cut will be made available to subscribers. 

Sadly, it looks like bad news for fans and actors alike: it seems that the studio is sticking to their (obviously jammed) guns. The Hollywood Reporter is alleging that Warner Bros. has no plans to release the film as of November 2019. "Despite the groundswell and speculation that a Snyder Cut could go to Warner Bros.' upcoming streaming service HBO Max, insiders tell The Hollywood Reporter no announcement of a release of any such cut is imminent," the publication says. 

In the two years since the release of Justice League, more and more people have joined the cause demanding the Snyder Cut's release, so Warner Bros. may very well give into pressure — if not now, then perhaps eventually.

What are the differences between the Snyder Cut and the theatrical version of Justice League?

Joss Whedon's final product was completely different to the original plan Snyder laid out for Justice League. Not only did Whedon change things in editing, but he reportedly also reshot about 30 minutes of footage to replace some of Snyder's filming. Whedon is said to have tweaked additional footage to a completely new context, as well as have added and removed dialogue in many parts of the movie. 

Another major change brought on by the Whedon era of Justice League was the departure of the film's original composer. Junkie XL, whose real name is Tom Holkenborg, has stated that his score for Justice League was complete before he was replaced by Danny Elfman, who made some major — and rather, shall we say, interesting – changes to the score. 

Perhaps one of the most unfortunate changes came for Superman, played by Henry Cavill. The actor was already filming for Mission: Impossible – Fallout by the time Whedon demanded he come back for reshoots, meaning the actor couldn't shave off the mustache he grew for Mission Impossible to be clean-cut Clark Kent in Justice League. Instead of having Cavill shave his face and wear a fake 'stache in Mission: Impossible, though, Warner Bros. decided to CGI in a rather obvious digital lip on his face in all his reshot Justice League scenes. Given how much of that awkward lip audiences were subjected to, Cavill must have done an awful lot of reshoots. 

Cyborg (Ray Fisher) was also supposed to play a much more significant role in the Snyder Cut of Justice League, but Whedon edited his part down to almost that of a supporting character. His backstory — along with that of other characters — was basically eliminated from the film. Aquaman and the Flash (Ezra Miller) were meant to have a bit more context to their introductions to the superhero world in Snyder's version as well, with Aquaman's standalone film hinted at in the ending. 

A number of other characters faced even less fortunate fates, finding themselves almost completely cut from the theatrical version of Justice League or actually snipped out entirely. The villainous Darkseid (Ray Porter), Barry Allen's love interest Iris West (Kiersey Clemons), the Atlantean princess warrior Mera (Amber Heard), Aquaman's mentor Nuidis Vulko (Willem Dafoe), the Atom (Ryan Zheng), and more were all supposed to be a part of the film with varying levels of importance to the story. 

Jesse Eisenberg confirmed that Whedon's cut of Justice League slashed down his role as Lex Luthor. In Snyder's version, he was supposed to have been the reason for Batman (Ben Affleck) finding out about the Parademons, Steppenwolf's (Ciarán Hinds) army of shock troop aliens. Instead, Batman learned about them from Lex's diary and by capturing them on the roof. That scene was apparently used to "streamline" the plot of the film, and Eisenberg's Lex Luthor appeared only in a post-credits scene instead. 

Much like Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeJustice League was also supposed to include a military subplot. Realistically speaking, when something threatens humanity, the government calls upon the military to deal with the threat, which is what has happened in previous DC films. Actor Sam Benjamin, who had a small part in Justice League prior Whedon's takeover, confirmed in an interview with Flashback Filming that Whedon removed roughly 20 minutes of footage that he was involved in, which resulted in the military subplot being completely eliminated. 

Is there any additional news on the Snyder Cut of Justice League?

Despite Warner Bros.' apparent disinterest in doing so, many Justice League stars have pledged their support to have the Snyder Cut released. 

On November 17, 2019 — the two-year anniversary of the theatrical cut's debut — the likes of Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Ben Affleck (Batman), and Ray Fisher (Cyborg) took to Twitter with the hashtag "ReleaseTheSnyderCut." Joe Manganiello, who appeared in the film for just a glimpse as Deathstroke, also took to social media to vocalize his desire to see the Snyder Cut unleashed. Christina Wren and Samantha Win, who have both appeared as background players in multiple DC movies, headed to Instagram to offer their support of Snyder as well. 

Snyder himself has also been laying it on thick in recent months, and retweeted both Gadot and Affleck's call for his cut of Justice League to be released. He later posted another tweet saying, "I'm honored to have such amazing fans." 

It appears that DC lovers are getting more frenzied over the Snyder Cut as time goes on, and they clearly aren't going away any time soon. With the actors all seemingly jumping on board the "Release the Snyder Cut" ship, fate rests in the studio's hands. It's your move, Warner Bros.