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We Finally Know How Long Zack Snyder's Justice League Is

There's been years of speculation about the mythic Snyder Cut, not the least of which being its runtime. The original theatrical cut was two hours long, quite a tight runtime for a movie with massive scale and six principle characters. (This was one of the many issues critics found with Justice League at the time.) 

In the years since the movie hit screens in 2017, rumors and reports alike have swirled about how much footage was lost when Joss Whedon stepped in to complete Justice League when director Zack Snyder had to step down. Reportedly, the assembly cut first shown to studio Warner Bros. was four hours long. Last year, Snyder himself posted a picture of the reels for one of his early cuts, each stamped with a run time of 214 minutes. Now, we can all rest easier, as we have a final truth: Snyder's version of the film, hitting HBO Max in 2021, will be a whopping four hours long. 

Snyder confirmed this during the Justice League panel at DC FanDome on Saturday, August 22, 2020. He also detailed that those four hours of content will be presented in one-hour segments, more easily digested by audiences. 

Evidently, Snyder has decided that since he's been gifted the opportunity to finish the film he had to walk away from, he might as well make it a true director's cut. There's something charming and old-fashioned about that. A four-hour runtime would never have made it to a commercial theater to begin with in our current moviegoing culture, so it's fantastic that there's a place for the massive movie on HBO Max. However, there's a challenge irrespective of runtime to consider: how international audiences can watch Zack Snyder's Justice League.

The international question surrounding Zack Snyder's Justice League

Fans of the DCEU are certainly not limited to the United States — and those international voices have made their demand to have the Snyder Cut released just as passionately through social media as any American has. The catch is that HBO Max is, for now, a U.S. streaming application only, with loose plans to expand to a few other countries in 2021, around the time that the Snyder Cut will be released on the service. 

Thankfully, Snyder took a bit of time during the DC FanDome panel (before the release of the Snyder Cut trailer) to address that concern, stating that he and HBO Max executives are working on distribution deals for the Snyder Cut specifically to other territories. He couldn't get specific because those plans will be as different from one another as they are from America's, due to the complex nature of international streaming distribution rights; HBO has licensing deals with foreign streaming services for certain content rather than offer HBO Max directly. 

Even though the Snyder Cut will have an extraordinarily long runtime for a movie, Warner Bros. (which is a subsidiary of WarnerMedia Studios & Networks just like HBO is) is nonetheless incentivized to make special deals to get the film to where it's been demanded the world over. Whether Zack Snyder's Justice League may end up being distributed as one piece as opposed to singular episodes over time in countries outside the U.S., it's impossible to say at the moment. For now, international fans can be contented knowing that the director and his studio have them in mind, just as he has had them in mind finishing the movie he originally intended to make.

The Snyder Cut itself

The Snyder Cut of Justice League will feature all of the same stars that the Whedon-directed version of the flick did: Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne / Batman, Gal Gadot as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman, Ray Fisher as Victor Stone / Cyborg, Ezra Miller as Barry Allen / The Flash, Henry Cavill as Clark Kent / Superman, Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry / Aquaman, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Ciarán Hinds as Steppenwolf, Joe Manganiello as Slade Wilson / Deathstroke (who appeared in a post-credits scene). However, the Snyder Cut is also bringing in Ray Porter as Darkseid, who didn't show up in Whedon's iteration of Justice League at all.

Darkseid's inclusion in Snyder's Justice League isn't the only difference between the theatrical cut and the version fans will see on HBO Max. The director's cut is rumored to feature a number of key changes: Darkseid rocking up in the film's climax as another big bad, Lex Luthor having more scenes, Cyborg getting a more fleshed-out and meaningful storyline, Martian Manhunter showing up, other members of the Justice League simply having more screen time (thus allowing audiences to get to know them more), time travel taking place, among others. According to Snyder himself, with the theatrical version (which Snyder hasn't seen, only heard about), viewers only saw "one-fourth of what [he] did" (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Snyder also told The Hollywood Reporter in May 2020, when news that the Snyder Cut was real first went public, that the fresh version of the movie will "be an entirely new thing, and, especially talking to those who have seen the released movie, a new experience apart from that movie." It was also reported at the time that Warner Bros. gave Snyder between $20 and $30 million to make his Justice League cut — but Snyder stated during Justice Con in July 2020 that he's thrilled to have the opportunity and is doing it "for free" (via CinemaBlend).

After years of waiting, fans can stream the movie on HBO Max in 2021.