There is a very specific corner of the internet that spends much of its time trying to convince people that a Zack Snyder cut of Justice League exists. San Diego Comic-Con acted as a reminder they don’t represent all DC fans.
The Snyder cut is a theory that sprung up last year. The theory suggests that a full version of Justice League directed solely by Zack Snyder exists. This specific cut was his vision for the film, which fans argue differs greatly from Justice League’s final form. Joss Whedon stepped in to finish the movie after Snyder left the project to be with family after a personal tragedy, and some fans didn’t care for Whedon’s personal touches on the story.
The final version, fans have argued, isn’t a pure Snyder experience. People have collected “evidence,” ranging from posts on Reddit to teases on other social media, pointing to a handful of circumstantial information as proof the cut exists — even when Warner Bros. executives told the Wall Street Journal otherwise.
Polygon spoke to a number of DC and Warner Bros. fans ahead of Warner Bros.’ Comic-Con panel in Hall H on July 21. These are some of the DC Cinematic Universe’s most dedicated fans. People slept in line overnight — a Comic-Con ritual — for the chance to see exclusive footage from upcoming superhero movies like Shazam and Aquaman.
We wanted to know a couple of things, like how this year’s Hall H line compared to previous years where Marvel Studios was in attendance and, of course, what their thoughts were on the Snyder cut.
“I thought it was a reference to people cutting into the Hall H line,” one DC fan, Alyssa Rockey, told Polygon, admitting she never heard of the cut. “That’s what happened to us last night.”
Rockey’s friend, Candace Dandies, told Polygon although she heard rumors about something related to Zack Snyder, she still didn’t quite understand the conversation.
“I heard another conspiracy about them [Warner Bros.] trying to sneak something in today, maybe,” Dandies said. “But when you said the ‘Snyder cut,’ I thought you were referring to something with Rob Schneider.”
Rockey and Dandies aren’t the only fans who confessed they weren’t aware of the Snyder cut, or the ongoing campaign from Snyder diehards pressuring Warner Bros. to release a different version of the film. Gloria Thomas, a DC fan, said she’s never heard of the Snyder cut, and asked for a quick explanation regarding the entire situation.
It became increasingly clear that the Snyder Stans who “have organized campaigns on social media, produced online videos and bombarded Warner Bros. executives with emails asking the studio to complete and distribute on Blu-ray a version of Justice League that matches Mr. Snyder’s vision, before Mr. Whedon got involved,” as the Wall Street Journal put it, are in fact just a vocal minority.
It’s a scale issue, Bob Rehak, Associate Professor and Chair of Film and Media Studies at Swarthmore College, who focuses on fandom culture, told Polygon in an earlier interview. Believers in a Snyder cut will use social media, YouTube videos and internet petitions to rally their base. stoke a herd mentality, and create the illusion of a larger or bigger problem to justify their cause.
“Scale is very tricky in the age of the internet,” Rehak said. “When people learn these kinds of weaponized ways of discoursing at each other, and once those tactics get into play, it doesn’t really matter how much of the community they speak for. It tends to kind of paint the whole community with a really broad brush. That worries me, because I would far rather live in a world where there are a million voices and perspectives, and kind of everything is up for grabs, rather than these power blocks that have kind of locked down the linguistic terrain, so that there are things you can’t say and things you’re not allowed to say. I think that’s problematic.”
At San Diego Comic-Con 2018, though, the crowd acted as a reminder that most don’t know about the “Snyder cut,” and those who do don’t even care.
“I actually do know what it is,” one fan named Kevin, who didn’t want to give his last name, told Polygon. “I’ve read about it on Polygon, actually. I don’t know that I’d actually watch the cut even if it does exist. I want the opposite, actually. If there was a full Whedon cut of the movie instead of the full Snyder cut, sure.”
Rehak reiterated this point of view; aggressive fan campaigns, like the one behind “Release the Snyder Cut” may seem like it speaks for a majority but, it’s actually the opposite.
“Their force comes from the perception that they are huge in number, when they are really not. That’s just as important as acknowledging their campaigns, and their presence.”
San Diego Comic-Con was an excellent reminder of that fact.