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Zack Snyder fans just got the best news about his Justice League movie

Forget Disney World — the internet on Wednesday, May 20 was the happiest place on Earth. Well, at least for fans of director Zack Snyder. 

These ardent admirers of Snyder's cinematic craft have spent the last few years campaigning for one thing in particular: the famed "Snyder Cut" of Justice League, the 2017 superhero movie he originally directed but from which he had to step away following the death of his daughter. When Snyder handed the Justice League reins over to Joss Whedon, known for creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer (among other television series) and for directing 2012's The Avengers for Marvel Studios, big changes were reportedly made. Apparently, Whedon altered Snyder's vision for the film in a discernible way — which would have been okay had the final product been one well-received by the masses. Justice League wound up a flop with critics, though everyday moviegoers found it at least serviceable, and fans have clung to the idea of some day seeing what Snyder originally shot.

What once was a pipe dream and the topic of heated conversations in real life and online has now become a reality. During a livestream event for his film Man of Steel held on Wednesday on the social media platform Vero (featuring special guest Henry Cavill), Snyder himself confirmed that the Snyder Cut of Justice League is real — and fans will be able to watch it in the near future on the soon-to-launch streaming platform HBO Max.

The Snyder Cut of Justice League will stream on HBO Max

Shortly after Snyder dropped the incredible news, Warner Bros. Pictures and HBO Max issued a formal press release dishing up details about the Snyder Cut's impending arrival. The film will have a world premiere on WarnerMedia's upcoming streaming service HBO Max sometime in 2021. 

"I want to thank HBO Max and Warner Bros. for this brave gesture of supporting artists and allowing their true visions to be realized. Also, a special thank you to all of those involved in the Snyder Cut movement for making this a reality," Snyder said.

Added Robert Greenblatt, WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer chairman, "Since I got here 14 months ago, the chant to #ReleasetheSnyderCut has been a daily drumbeat in our offices and inboxes. Well, the fans have asked, and we are thrilled to finally deliver. At the end of the day, it really is all about them, and we are beyond excited to be able to release Zack's ultimate vision for this film in 2021. This could never have happened if it weren't for the hard work and combined efforts of the teams at HBO Max and Warner Bros. Pictures." 

Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich also noted that "this feels like the right time to share Zack's story, and HBO Max is the perfect platform for it." 

HBO Max is set to roll out on May 27 — just one week from the time of this writing — but, as mentioned, the Snyder Cut of Justice League won't hit the platform until 2021. There has been no formal announcement of a release date in terms of a month and day, though if we had to take a best guess, the folks at WarnerMedia, Warner Bros. Pictures, and HBO Max would likely want to get the hotly anticipated director's cut onto the streamer sooner rather than later. It will undoubtedly be one of the biggest draws to HBO Max — which features a plethora of exciting launch-day titles, including Friends, South Park, The Big Bang Theory, Joker, Wonder Woman, and the full collection of Studio Ghibli movies — and the executives running the operation should want to capitalize on the hype around the Snyder Cut without extending fans' wait to see it any longer than necessary. They've already spent enough time waiting for this moment to happen, right?

Making the decision to release the Snyder Cut

For all intents and purposes, the Snyder Cut of Justice League is a real thing, but the version that many have begged to feast their eyes upon didn't actually exist at the time the #ReleasetheSnyderCut campaign was blowing up social media. That is to say that there wasn't a polished, ready-to-screen movie collecting dust while Whedon's Justice League played out on the silver screen.

Snyder and his wife-slash-producing-partner Deborah spoke with The Hollywood Reporter to discuss the news of the Snyder Cut's release, and Snyder explained that, at the time, the only "director's cut" of the film in existence was partially-finished work that had no visual effects and which hadn't been through any kind of post-production. Snyder kept that version of Justice League, described by one person who had seen it as "a car with no panels," on a hard drive in his house. He admitted that he "honestly never thought it would be anything," and maintained the idea that "in 20 years, maybe somebody would do a documentary and I could lend them the footage, little snippets of a cut no one has ever seen."

Flash forward to November 2019 — the day after Justice League's second anniversary, when #ReleasetheSnyderCut experienced a massive explosion of traction on Twitter, luring the film's stars Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck share their thoughts about it. The Snyders' agent rang them up that morning, relaying that Warner Bros. Pictures chairman Toby Emmerich was "acknowledging the movement" and expressing interest in making it happen. According to Snyder, Emmerich was asking, "This is real. People out there want it. Would you guys ever consider doing something?"

From there, Zack and Deborah Snyder put their heads together to devise a satisfying way to complete the unfinished cut of the film. The couple assembled a presentation and then screened — in black and white — the original, incomplete version of Justice League to Warner Bros., HBO Max, and DC Entertainment executives to see if the endeavor was worth taking on. The showing was held at the Snyders' Pasadena home, and it evidently went very well.

Zack Snyder's Justice League will be 'an entirely new thing'

It's unknown for the time being what exactly the Snyder Cut of Justice League entails. The Hollywood Reporter has indicated that the Snyders are gathering up their original Justice League post-production crew to add in new visual effects, complete old ones, score the film, and edit it in just the way they'd like. It's possible that some of the actors will "record additional dialogue" for the director's cut as well. There's a big decision to be made before the film can be released, though: whether the cut will premiere in its whole form — a nearly four-hour-long movie — or be divided up into six "chapters," to be watched like a miniseries. 

A source with inside knowledge of the situation has claimed that the Snyder Cut completion project cost about $20 million; another estimates that the total expense comes in at nearly $30 million. Based on Snyder's comments about the impending cut, that money will be well spent. Snyder said that his version of Justice League that will premiere on HBO Max is "an entirely new thing, and — especially talking to those who have seen the released movie — a new experience apart from that movie." Fans who saw Justice League in theaters witnessed three-fourths of Whedon's creative vision and just one-fourth of Snyder's, according to Snyder himself. That certainly leaves a lot to be desired — and apparently, Snyder's Justice League coming to HBO Max will fulfill every fans' long-held hopes and exceed everyone's expectations.

In the end, this all goes to show that sometimes, dreams really do come true. Good on you, Justice League fans.