Look, up on your TV screen! It’s Zack Snyder’s version of the 2017 superhero team-up Justice League coming to HBO Max in 2021. The soon-to-launch streaming service announced the debut of the near-mythical Snyder Cut, fulfilling the wishes of a long-running fan campaign. And Snyder made sure to give those fans a shoutout. “I want to thank HBO Max and Warner Brothers for this brave gesture of supporting artists and allowing their true visions to be realized,” the director remarked in a press release. “Also a special thank you to all of those involved in the #SnyderCut movement for making this a reality.”
Jason Momoa, who Snyder handpicked to play Aquaman wasted little time declaring victory. “Justice is served,” he wrote on his Instagram account announcing the news.
Momoa — who reprised the role in a 2018 solo adventure — was even more effusive in a widely-circulated Twitter video. “It’s happening, finally,” the actor says. “Give it to me!”
The saga behind the #SnyderCut started almost immediately after the film premiered in theaters three years ago, to underwhelming reviews and box office numbers. But the version that most moviegoers saw wasn’t Snyder’s original vision. After starting production on the film immediately after 2016’s divisive Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Snyder stepped aside in May 2017 in the wake of his daughter’s death. At that point, Joss Whedon — who previously directed The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultorn for DC’s distinguished competition at Marvel — took over and the film underwent numerous re-shoots and re-edits on its way into theaters.
As early as 2018, fans took to the internet to demand to see Snyder’s version of the story via online petitions and the viral #ReleseTheSynderCut hashtag. The director further fueled their enthusiasm by releasing images on the social media platform, Vero, that teased the bigger film he imagined. At the same time, many online noted that any “Snyder cut” would be far from a polished production as many scenes from his version remained unshot and the special effects unfinished.
One of the reasons why you won’t see Snyder’s Justice League on HBO Max until 2021 is because WarnerMedia is giving the director and his wife and creative collaborator, Deborah Snyder, time to fill in some of those gaps with new F/X, new dialogue and a new score. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film may also be released in a different format, potentially as a four-hour movie or a six-chapter event series, and may cost an additional $20-30 million. “It will be an entirely new thing, and, especially talking to those who have seen the released movie, a new experience apart from that movie,” Snyder promised in that interview.
For the #SnyderCut faithful, May 20 now qualifies as a historic day.
But there’s still plenty of skepticism about whether Snyder’s version of Justice League will be worth the wait, and, for that matter, what it means for the future relationship between fandom and studios.
The Snyder cut being released is a good thing for directorial freedom!
However it’s kind of a bad thing for internet culture. It tells the fringe groups of rabid fans that it’s okay and in fact necessary to behave like the Snyder cult did to achieve your goals. Which it isn’t. pic.twitter.com/gb9ewCiE5o
— The (Swamp) Thing (@swamptalking) May 20, 2020
My opinions on this Justice League news are conflicted. On one hand I’m happy for the fans who want to see this cut. On the other, a few of those fans have been absolute monsters to people. What sort of precedent does this set?
And that’s my only tweet on this story. xo
— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) May 20, 2020
The worst thing the Snyder Cut can be at this point is “fine.” I hope it’s either genuinely awesome or a spectacular train wreck that out Cats’ Cats. It needs to be memorable after all of this!
— Eric Goldman (@TheEricGoldman) May 20, 2020
Zack Snyder’s Justice League will premiere on HBO Max in 2021.
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