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The Watchmen Reference You Missed In The Justice League Snyder Cut

Through the HBO Max streaming service, DC fans everywhere got the chance to check out "Zack Snyder's Justice League" for the first time. It was certainly a long time coming, with individuals from across the globe demanding that Warner Bros. #ReleaseTheSnyderCut from the moment Joss Whedon's "Justice League" hit the big screen in 2017. Their efforts amounted to a four-hour epic that packed plenty of action, drama, and no shortage of slow-motion to keep viewers entertained. For Snyder, it's undoubtedly an artistic triumph that represents the culmination of his many years working in the superhero genre.

Before he helmed such projects as "Man of Steel" and "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice," Zack Snyder first took a crack at Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' "Watchmen" — a story many considered to be impossible to adapt in a cinematic format. Undeterred by these claims, Snyder gave the 2009 project his all, and the final product was highly impressive. Though it didn't exactly break any box office records, most agree "Watchmen" was a strong adaptation of the source material with some genuinely powerful narrative and visual moments.

For instance, there's one scene from "Watchmen" that was actually so memorable that it inspired a moment from "Zack Snyder's Justice League."

The death of Silas Stone pays homage to Doctor Manhattan's creation

One of the most emotional scenes from "Zack Snyder's Justice League" was Silas Stone's (Joe Morton) sacrifice before the eyes of his son, Victor (Ray Fisher). He superheats one of the three Mother Boxes, not to destroy it, but so that it could be tracked, allowing the Justice League to hunt down Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) and put his evil schemes to an end. As the relic awakened and responded to the radiation, Silas' body began to disintegrate before being annihilated.

To "Watchmen" fans, this scene evoked the image of the birth of Doctor Manhattan, formerly known as Jon Osterman (Billy Crudup). In that film, he's stuck inside of an intrinsic field subtractor, which rips his human body to shreds before he's reanimated in his Doctor Manhattan form. As it turns out, Zack Snyder and his team looked to the Manhattan scene as inspiration for Stone's demise, as explained by the VFX supervisor for the Snyder Cut, Scanline Hirota.

"Zack and DJ thought that it could be something like the birth of Dr. Manhattan, so that definitely was a touchstone as an idea," Hirota told Screen Rant, adding "That was definitely one of the things we were thinking about as we were developing it." He also mentions that the smaller details of the "Zack Snyder's Justice League" scene were quite different from the "Watchmen" incarnation, noting "I think Silas' death is a little more gross than in 'Watchmen', but there are shades of that in this."

Just as Jon Osterman's death led to the rise of Doctor Manhattan, Silas Stone's acted as the catalyst for Victor to embrace his Cyborg persona, making himself a fully realized member of the Justice League. It's plain to see that this is one Easter egg that stands for so much more than mere fan service.