Zack Snyder’s Justice League ends with a solid 30 minutes devoted to the future of a franchise that isn’t going to happen. The post-credits scene from the 2017 version — in which Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) enlists Deathstroke (played by Joe Manganiello) for his Legion of Doom — is now part of the runtime. Then viewers get a new Knightmare sequence starring Jared Leto’s Joker (as a nod to David Ayer’s Suicide Squad). Then Martian Manhunter shows up to say “They call me Martian Manhunter” before flying away. It’s all quite a lot!
Unfortunately, Snyder’s tease won’t likely pay off: As WarnerMedia Studios CEO Ann Sarnoff told Variety on Monday, there are no plans to sequelize the four-hour film. “With [the release of Justice League on HBO Max] comes the completion of his trilogy. We’re very happy we’ve done this, but we’re very excited about the plans we have for all the multi-dimensional DC characters that are being developed right now.”
But at least one person saw potential in the now-infamous Luthor-Deathstroke after-credits scene: Stephen Colbert. Hoping to squeeze a bit more life out of the Justice League 2, the late-night TV host released his own “Colbert cut” of the scene, allowing him to play out how it all could have gone if there’d only been more time. More time in a four-hour cut of the movie. Four hours.
What starts as an interrogation of Deathstroke’s whole deal explodes into a history lesson in the acquisition shuffling of superhero IP over the years. Dumb? Yes. Entertaining? Yes. Bound to agitate a subsection of Snyder Cut fans? Almost certainly. But to quote a line that the Joker does not say in Justice League: We live in a society.