The cry to “release the Snyder Cut” always came from two directions.
There were the fans — who prayed that an Actually Good Version of 2017’s Justice League was out there and finished enough for a faithless Warner Bros. to unveil it after enough pressure — and then there was Snyder himself, who stoked the well-meaning-but-occasionally-toxic action. The director never went so far as to badmouth the finished product, which was reshot by Warner Bros. under the supervision of Avengers director Joss Whedon, but he spent years teasing what could have been, posting set photos, fan art, and snippets of blurry footage on his Vero account to make fans salivate.
The tactic worked: In May, WarnerMedia announced that a four-hour cut of Justice League would land on HBO Max in 2021. The movie they didn’t have enough confidence to put into theaters in 2017 would now be a gift to Snyder’s acolytes.
“The fans have asked, and we are thrilled to finally deliver,” Robert Greenblatt, chairman, of Warner Media Entertainment and direct-to-consumer, said during the announcement. “At the end of the day, it really is all about them and we are beyond excited to be able to release Zack’s ultimate vision for this film.”
The revival of Zack Snyder’s Justice League vindicated champions of the director as well as detractors: Technically, the movie wasn’t sitting around waiting for release, but there were enough bits and pieces that, with millions of dollars invested in post-production, there was a product to salvage. During the May announcement, Snyder said it was finally time for him to go away and spend a year finishing the new version. But in the grand tradition of the Snyder Cut, the director has remained in the spotlight of his fans, teasing what’s to come. It’s possible we might see the entire film in pre-color-corrected, .mp4 chunks before it arrives in full.
The tease campaign began with a low-res shot of the movie’s villain, Darkseid, standing in front of a battalion of alien warships. In June, we got a short clip of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman coming face to face with Darkseid’s past. Like a comic book movie advent calendar, July had its own surprise. During a panel at JusticeCon, a fan-organized event run in parallel to first-ever digital San Diego Comic-Con, Snyder released the first clip of a Henry Cavill as Superman, donning a black costume that’s become legendary to Snyder Cut proponents. The suit is a reference to the celebrated Death of Superman comic.
“We’re going to see it in all of its massively glorious action. But a nice, slow walk-up might be nice to see it for the first time,” Snyder said of the clip, in which Superman meets Alfred for the first time. You can watch the footage at 31:43 in the panel video.
As Snyder notes, fans have seen a bit of this costume in action before. The black suit appeared in an early trailer for Justice League, and a colorized version of the clip was packaged as a deleted scene. The black suit has become something of a symbol of Snyder’s original vision, and to see it alive on screen is proof for handful of diehard fans yes, this is all really happening.
On the panel, Snyder insists that the only crossover between his version and the 2017 movie (which he claims to have never seen) are scenes that he previously shot and were repurposed by producers. He made a point to say that none of the reshoot footage would be used in the HBO Max edition.
“There will be no chance on Earth that I would use a shot that was made after I left the movie,” Snyder said. “I would rather destroy the movie, I would set it on fire, then use a single frame that I did not photograph. That is a fucking hard fact.”
Snyder is set to tease even more of Zack Snyder’s Justice League at DC Fandome, the DC Comics digital event, which begins on Aug. 22.