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Zack Snyder's Justice League Cut - What We Know So Far

It's finally happening. In a massive and prolonged effort worthy of some kind of super-team, fans of the DC Extended Universe have succeeded in convincing Warner Bros. and DC Films to release original director Zack Snyder's cut of the 2017 team-up picture Justice League. It's pretty exciting news, considering that by all accounts, this new cut will be radically different from the disappointing, underwhelming mess that was released to theaters — one which actually lost money, stymied any talk of sequels, and prompted a massive overhaul of the entire direction of the DCEU.

Briefly, a bit of background: Snyder, having directed 2013's Man of Steel and 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, was forced to depart Justice League — the first film of a planned trilogy — in the middle of production due to a family tragedy. Joss Whedon, who had previously directed two Avengers films for Marvel Studios, took over, and at the studio's direction he completely revamped the film. Whedon jettisoned huge chunks of plot, rewrote a massive portion of the screenplay, and reshot a great deal of the movie. Snyder's cinematographer Fabian Wagner has estimated that roughly ten percent of his footage was used for Whedon's final cut, while the run time was reduced from well over three hours to two hours flat.

Almost immediately, fans began clamoring to see Snyder's cut of the movie — and it only took about three years of constant, steady pressure. In May of this year, Warner Bros. relented. The version fans colloquially refer to as the "Snyder Cut," which the studio has officially titled Zack Snyder's Justice League, will be released to WarnerMedia's brand spanking new streaming service, HBO Max. Let's take a close look at everything we know so far.

When will Zack Snyder's Justice League be released?

For now, all that has been officially announced is that Zack Snyder's Justice League will premiere sometime in 2021. We'd like to think that we'll see it hit the streamer sooner rather than later, but we're thinking that the flick likely won't be ready for prime time until at least the middle of the year, for a couple of reasons.

First, it isn't technically finished. In order for Snyder to whip the film into shape according to his vision, there will have to be extensive post-production work done, including all-new special effects and modifications to the score. Snyder has also reached out to the primary cast members to let them know that they may need to record additional dialogue. There won't be any reshoots — that would be prohibitively expensive — but it's reported that the surgery to be performed on the movie will cost around $30 million. HBO Max boss Bob Greenblatt has strongly implied that that figure is wildly optimistic, saying, "I'll just say I wish it was just $30 million and stop there. It's an enormous undertaking and very complex" (via IndieWire).

Second, it stands to reason that Snyder will want to take his time assembling his perfect version of Justice League. He's been waiting for years to share his vision with fans, and we're pretty sure he'd rather take a few extra months to make sure they're not getting anything less than the version of the film he had always meant for them to see. Of course, we'll be keeping an eye out for an official release date, and we'll be first to report the news — but as of now, we can only speculate, and we're of the opinion that the film will probably drop in the summer.

Will there be any additions to the cast of Zack Snyder's Justice League?

In all of that excised footage, there were entire subplots and character arcs that got the old heave-ho. We know of at least two characters, completely missing from Whedon's version of the film, who will make an appearance in Zack Snyder's Justice League. First, we'll be introduced to STAR Labs employee Ryan Choi, portrayed by Zheng Kai. Fans know Choi as the third man to take on the mantle of the Atom in the pages of DC Comics, although it doesn't look like he'll be in any way powered up for his appearance. Snyder revealed the character's involvement in a series of images posted to his Vero account (via ScreenRant).

Second, and this is the big one: the iconic DC villain Darkseid, whose appearance in Snyder's version of Justice League has been rumored practically since the flick was in theaters. The villain won't be replacing Steppenwolf (who is his uncle) as the film's Big Bad, but he will be making an appearance, which Snyder confirmed by way of a (rather blurry) image of the character posted to Twitter with the caption "He's coming... to HBO Max." While Darkseid will be an entirely CG-rendered character, voice work was confirmed to have been performed by actor Ray Porter.

Are there other new characters rumored for Zack Snyder's Justice League?

While no other new characters have been confirmed to appear in Zack Snyder's Justice League, the director has in the past implied that his version of the film might include a couple other fan favorite heroes. The first wouldn't technically be a new character: in a post to his Vero account last year, Snyder shared a storyboard which revealed that the character of Calvin Swanwick (introduced as an Army General in Man of Steel and promoted to U.S. Secretary of Defense in Batman v Superman) would have been revealed to be J'onn J'onzz, the shape-shifting alien known as Martian Manhunter, in disguise (via CinemaBlend). Snyder even shot portions of the storyboarded scene, but was not able to complete it, as Harry Lennix — the actor who portrayed Swanwick — wasn't available at the time. For this reason, it remains to be seen if the scene will somehow make it into Zack Snyder's Justice League.

Also a possibility: an appearance by one or more of the Earthlings who have taken on the mantle of Green Lantern. Fans will remember that in Justice League's flashback sequence in which the Atlanteans, Themyscirans, and other assorted combatants take on Steppenwolf, an alien Lantern can be seen joining the fray. Asked by a fan on Vero if that was his contribution or Whedon's, Snyder replied, "That's mine but not The green lantern," with "The" capitalized (via CinemaBlend). The implication here is that Snyder may have meant to introduce one of the human Lanterns, like John Stewart or Hal Jordan, at a later point in the film — but if he actually shot any scenes featuring such an introduction, he's kept quiet about it.

What other rumors have surfaced about Zack Snyder's Justice League?

There have also been rumors surrounding two ancillary baddies featured in Justice League's post-credits scene — Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) and Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello). The scene, which sees them conspiring to form a "league of [their] own," is the only appearance by either character in the movie — but with Zack Snyder's Justice League, that might change.

In the wake of the announcement that Snyder's cut would be released, Manganiello took to Twitter to post, "The original end credit scene..." followed by three emojis: a pair of crossed swords, a bat, and a skull. We think it's pretty easy to parse out what Manganiello is implying here: that the Luthor-Deathstroke meetup will be replaced by a scene in which the lethal mercenary meets up with his nemesis, Batman.

As for Luthor, we know that he was meant to have a much bigger role in the movie. Eisenberg has recently said that he shot several scenes for the film — scenes which obviously didn't make it into Whedon's cut (via CinemaBlend). It's not known just how many scenes Eisenberg took part in or whether Snyder will seek to restore them for his cut, but it seems like a strong possibility that Luthor will actually be a part of the flick's narrative, rather than just having a tacked-on appearance at the end.

Finally, it's rumored that the entire third act of Zack Snyder's Justice League — and in particular, the climactic battle with Steppenwolf in Russia — will be completely different from what we saw in theaters. Superman's return may play out quite differently, Steppenwolf might meet a much grislier fate, and it's likely that this is where Darkseid will make his appearance.

Of course, the rumor mill never sleeps, and we're likely to hear a lot more speculation — and perhaps even some concrete information — regarding Snyder's cut of Justice League right up until the time it finally premieres. We'll be keeping an ear to the ground until that time, and we'll fill you in on all the news worth reporting.