The four-hour HBO Max limited series is described as a “storytelling cul-de-sac.”
Fans of Zack Snyder rejoiced earlier this year when it was announced that Warner Bros. was giving the filmmaker a budget to fulfill “The Snyder Cut” of Justice League, but the upcoming HBO Max project may be a swan song for the man who kicked off the DCEU in earnest.
While it’s previously been rumored that Warner Bros. invested a large sum of money into letting Snyder complete his version of Justice League, the New York Times confirms the new project cost WB at least $70 million. Snyder was just about to begin production on Justice League when Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice hit theaters and was savaged by critics, leading Warner Bros. to rethink the original plan for Snyder’s Justice League. Plans were altered on the fly and although filming was completed, they intended to reconvene for some additional photography to finish the movie.
But Snyder left Justice League in the early stages of post-production to attend to a personal tragedy, and Warner Bros. brought in Joss Whedon to write a considerable number of new scenes and direct extensive reshoots on the project. The theatrically released version was essentially a film with no author, as Warner Bros. tried to steer the superhero team-up to something lighter in tone while still constrained by what was originally shot and crafted via visual effects.
The Snyder Cut, then, is Snyder using extensive post-production tools (and a couple days of additional photography) to adjust his footage to something more in line with his original vision, and will be released as four one-hour installments on HBO Max. It may also get some kind of theatrical exhibition, but it sounds like that will likely be the end of the road for Snyder and DC Films.
In the same NY Times report, which profiles DC Films head Walter Hamada and outlines the studio’s plans for DC adaptations going forward, it’s revealed that Snyder is “not part of the new DC Films blueprint” for now, with executives describing The Snyder Cut as a storytelling cul-de-sac – “a street that leads nowhere.” In other words, The Snyder Cut will certainly be closer to Snyder’s original vision for Justice League, but is not expected to kick off storylines for Ben Affleck’s Batman, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, or Henry Cavill’s Superman that will be continued in future films.
Indeed, when Snyder was hand selected by Warner Bros. and producer Christopher Nolan to reboot Superman with Man of Steel, he began laying the groundwork for an interconnected DC Extended Universe. Batman v. Superman introduced the major DC players and hinted towards the supervillain Darkseid, and Justice League was intended to be the first half of a larger story that would be continued in Justice League Part Two as Snyder produced the other singular adventures like Wonder Woman and The Flash. That all kind of got waylaid after Warner Bros. saw the reaction to Batman v Superman and was spooked, as the studio then took more control over the individual films.
And I will say, while I’m not a huge fan of Snyder’s uber-dark Batman v. Superman, I would have much rather seen his unfiltered vision for Justice League than the neutered version we eventually got, and part of me is still quite curious about what the DCEU would have looked like had he been able to stick to his plans and build to Darkseid in Justice League 2.
But for now at least, it appears as though The Snyder Cut will be more of a proper goodbye than a starting point for anything more.
There have been 58 feature-length animated features from Disney since 1937, so how do they stack up against each other?
About The Author