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Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot join the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement for Justice League

Wonder Woman and Batman add their voices to a complicated fan cause

Warner Bros. Pictures
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

On the two-year anniversary of its premiere, hardcore Justice League fans got their longstanding demand to “release the Snyder cut” of the film trending on Twitter. Then they got Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot — Batman and Wonder Woman in the DC Cinematic Universe — to co-sign it.

Gadot tweeted in support of the fan culture movement earlier this afternoon, adopting a hashtag tweeted by the hardest of hardcore DC Cinematic Universe fans for the past two years. Affleck followed afterward; neither actor gave any further comment or explanation.

“The Snyder Cut” is supposedly the version of Justice League that director Zack Snyder had in mind, before leaving the project in post-production to be with his family after his daughter died in the spring of 2017.

Joss Whedon instead made the film’s final cut, with industry chatter since saying he was under orders to trim Justice League’s time and give it a sunnier disposition. Fans have assumed Snyder’s original vision exists, in a releasable state, and they were agitating for it even before Justice League’s Nov. 17, 2017 launch. Ever since, The Snyder Cut has, as so many things do with pop culture fandom, taken a kind of mythic status, akin to Richard Donner’s director’s cut of Superman 2 from 1980 — which ultimately was released in 2006.

The #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement has had plenty of toxic moments on social media, making Gadot’s endorsement all the more eyebrow-raising. But it’s also had better ones. This summer, fans got a crowdfunding campaign going before San Diego Comic-Con, raising enough money to buy Times Square billboards before New York Comic Con, reportedly donating more than $100,000 to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention as well (Snyder’s daughter, Autumn, died by suicide in March 2017).

Warner Bros. has said it doesn’t have any plans to release Snyder’s version. In a podcast with CinemaBlend this year, the director Kevin Smith said that such a cut does exist, but it’s most likely raw footage, not anything finished or compiled for mass consumption.

Fans at large seem not to be aware, or interested, in such a film. We polled a bunch during San Diego Comic-Con 2018 for their feelings on “The Snyder Cut,” and heard a lot of indifference.

“Their force comes from the perception that they are huge in number, when they are really not,” Bob Rehak, a Swarthmore College researcher who studies fan culture, told Polygon at the time. “That’s just as important as acknowledging their campaigns, and their presence.”

Update: Snyder himself weighed in, by retweeting Gadot with comment:

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