#ReleaseTheSnyderCut: Fans ramp up demand to see alternate edit of Justice League
July 6, 2019
July 6, 2019 12:00 PM EDT
Snyder Reportedly Confirms Existence Of...
More than a year and a half after “Justice League” debuted, the film shepherded by Zack Snyder and replacement Joss Whedon continues to fuel a longer-running tale laced with myth and intrigue.
Boosted anew this week on social media, it’s the ongoing narrative of fans who want to Warner Bros. and DC to release an alternative edit of the movie.
Not long after the November 2017 release of “Justice League,” which was considered a critical misfire and commercial underperformer, the spark of hope to see a “director’s cut” of the DCEU film was stoked by fans determined to believe a better full version – one helmed solely by Snyder – could well exist.
That small bonfire of a campaign, which has continued to attract a cultish following of die-hards, eventually became known by a simple rallying cry: #ReleaseTheSnyderCut. And this week, the Snyder Cut campaign capitalized on the latest change at Warner Bros.
On Monday, the studio announced that Ann Sarnoff, president of BBC Studios Americas, is its new chair and chief executive, as Variety first reported. The first woman to head Warner Bros. in its nearly century-old history, Sarnoff succeeds Kevin Tsujihara, who was forced to resign amid scandal.
Like students testing the new teacher who arrives midsemester, the movement immediately implored Sarnoff to release the would-be Snyder cut. After all, why not cannily step into the frame while the red-carpet flash bulbs trained on Sarnoff are freshly popping?
What this movement appears to revolve around most is a belief in Snyder (“Man of Steel,” “300”) as superhero director and visual auteur, and that whatever sort of “rough cut” he delivered to Warner Bros. earlier in 2017 – before Whedon took over – surely is more satisfying than the stitched-together product that fans saw on the screen. (Last summer, a spokesman for Snyder told the Wall Street Journal that Snyder had never even seen the theatrical version of “Justice League.” And shortly after the film opened, the Wrap aimed to piece together Snyder’s vision within it.)
This passion has spawned accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as GoFundMe campaigns and even the winning site For Snyder Cut, which explores such questions as “Does the Snyder Cut Exist?” and “How Can You Help Get the Snyder Cut Released?”
So, does that unreleased Snyder cut even exist? The debate burns on, but continuing to provide a point of renewable encouragement is word that Snyder’s early version of “Justice League” was given to the studio before May 2017, when it was announced that the director and his wife, producer Deborah Snyder, would exit the film, weeks after the suicide of their 20-year-old daughter.
“Snyder, after screening a rough cut of Justice League for fellow filmmakers and friends, wanted to add additional scenes, so he brought (Joss) Whedon on board to write them,” the Hollywood Reporter wrote at the time.
Of the transition, THR quoted now-Warner Bros. Pictures Group chair Toby Emmerich as saying: “The directing is minimal and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set. We’re not introducing any new characters. It’s the same characters in some new scenes. He’s handing the baton to Joss, but the course has really been set by Zack.
“I still believe that despite this tragedy, we’ll still end up with a great movie.”
Whedon received a writing credit on “Justice League,” with Snyder getting the sole directing credit, but the movie released that fall felt very much like a mishmash of directing styles and sensibilities – a patchwork that left many fans frustrated with the result.
Warner Bros. has had more recent success with solo films featuring two Justice League members, with Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” and James Wan’s “Aquaman” further fueling hopes among some fans that a rough three- or four-hour “Justice League” movie, with more eloquent depictions of Wonder Woman/Diana and sea god Arthur Curry, might reside in the Warner Bros. vaults.
This past spring, Snyder only spurred further interest in his auteur editing when he tweeted news of an event featuring his director’s cuts of “Dawn of the Dead,” “Watchmen” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” – that last one being another DCEU movie that, not unlike “Justice League,” was hotly debated by viewers.
The key difference with those three previous movies, however, is that Snyder retained creative control en route to delivering a finished theatrical release.
Yet in whatever condition a Snyder cut of “Justice League” might exist, a tight band of fans will continue their cause. And somewhere, Snyder must be grinning. As long as his supposed version goes unseen, then in fans’ minds, it can forever remain a cut above.