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Could Justice League 2 Come Back To Life With Zack Snyder?

DC's flagship superhero team could be finding new life on the big screen.

The impending release of the "Snyder Cut" of 2017's Justice League on HBO Max has the entire internet speculating what the new cut could mean for the future of the DCEU — and, in particular, whether a sequel might now be on the table.

Before we dive in, a bit of background. Director Zack Snyder was a driving force behind the creative direction of the DC Extended Universe from its inception, directing Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice before taking on the team-up picture. While many fans were on board with his dark 'n gritty vision of DC's iconic characters, many more were underwhelmed — particularly with Batman v Superman, which suffered from a muddled, overstuffed story and failed to break a billion dollars worldwide despite featuring the titular characters on the big screen together for the first time.

Justice League could have gotten the franchise back on track. Henry Cavill's Superman, Ben Affleck's Batman, Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, and Ezra Miller's Flash returned, and the flick introduced Jason Momoa's Aquaman and Ray Fisher's Cyborg. Fans were psyched to see the big-screen team-up — but Snyder endured a family tragedy midway through production and was forced to depart. He was replaced by The Avengers' Joss Whedon, which resulted in a tonally inconsistent, Frankenstein mashup of a picture that left fans cold. 

Shockingly, the film earned only $657 million worldwide, less than any other DCEU film to date. Any talk of a sequel was scuttled while Warner Bros. and DC retooled the franchise, focusing on standalone films rather than world-building — but in the meantime, rumors began to bubble that Snyder had created a cut of Justice League that was very different from the version that hit theaters.

Justice League 2 doesn't seem likely... but neither did the release of Snyder's cut

Before long, Snyder confirmed that this was true, and details about his version began to leak. The hashtag #ReleaseTheSnyderCut began to pick up serious momentum online, and even a few of the flick's stars began to lobby Warner Bros. to oblige the fans. Momoa even claimed to have seen the mythical cut, saying that yes, it was quite different, and he was of the opinion that fans should see it (via CinemaBlend).

Of course, the general consensus among learned observers (including us) was that Warner Bros. had no incentive to release a different cut of a very expensive, failed film which nearly completely derailed the entire DCEU franchise. If you had asked us a week or two ago, we would have been quite certain of two things: that the Snyder Cut of Justice League would never see the light of day, and that despite no official announcement ever having been made, Justice League 2 was dead in the water.

Well, dear reader, when we're wrong, we're wrong. Lo and behold, it was recently announced that the studio has agreed to release Snyder's cut of Justice League exclusively on its upcoming streamer HBO Max sometime in 2021. There are even likely to be new scenes shot, effects and other post-production work done, and dialogue recorded under Snyder's watch — meaning that Warner Bros. is sinking even more money into Justice League, a prospect that seemed unfathomable right up until the announcement was made.

What we're saying here is that since up is now green and black is across, anything could happen — and even though there are a few obstacles, if fans respond as positively to the Snyder Cut as everyone involved seems to think they will, Justice League 2 could be rescued from limbo in pretty short order.

Does Zack Snyder have more story to tell in the DCEU?

One factor that could potentially grease the wheels on a Justice League sequel: the fact that Snyder already has extensive plans in place for one. In fact, he has plans for no fewer than four sequels, although it's safe to say that these plans could easily be rejiggered.

Actually, they would probably have to be, because that five-movie arc Snyder had planned was mapped out at a time when Warners' strategy for the DCEU was unclear, unfocused, and largely centered on trying to keep up with Marvel Studios. The competition had pulled off an epic, fan-pleasing crossover — the first of its kind in history — with The Avengers in 2012, the year before Man of Steel kicked off the DCEU.

If Snyder had had his way, there would have been more solo movies before Justice League, a plan which would have allowed for the introduction of more characters and built a richer and more detailed universe. That Justice League was pushed into production when it was is largely down to the fact that Warner Bros. was trying to play catch-up with Marvel, a losing strategy if ever there was one.

Since Snyder will be returning to the fold to finish off his version of Justice League, though, it's quite possible that he's given some thought as to how he might retool his original plan should the new cut strike the right chord with fans. Of course, there are a few other considerations — chief among them is the fact that the main star of Justice League is done with the franchise.

Would the original cast of Justice League even be available for a sequel?

Affleck was famously attached to write, direct, and star in the solo flick The Batman before all of those duties started falling away one by one. Eventually, Affleck backed away from the role completely — in part due to difficulties in cracking the script, and in part due to health concerns. (Specifically, Affleck said that a friend told him he was concerned he would drink himself to death if he remained in the role.)

The Batman is now moving forward with Robert Pattinson in the title role, and a story outside the main DCEU continuity. Narratively, this means that there's no reason Affleck couldn't return — but given that he had pretty compelling reasons for leaving, that is in no way a given.

Miller is also something of a question mark, in light of a recent incident (caught on video) in which the actor appeared to choke a female fan and slam her to the ground. Warner Bros. has been totally mum on Miller's status since the incident, but it's been rumored that the studio might recast the role, or scuttle the planned Flash solo film altogether.

But, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Snyder spent most of April reaching out to the entire cast to let them know that he may need them to return to help him finish Justice League — and so far, there's no indication that anyone has said no. It will certainly be interesting to see how that pans out — and again, if the long-awaited Snyder Cut thrills fans, it's just possible that the whole gang, perhaps even including Affleck, could be convinced to saddle up for Jutsice League 2. Of course, we'll be keeping both ears to the ground for any news that's fit to report, and we'll keep you up to speed.