Versions of Justice League

The 2017 film Justice League had a troubled production history. Its script and photography underwent major changes before and during production, and there was a change in directors. This resulted in the theatrical release of a version that was reported to be markedly different from how the film had been conceived of during pre-production and principal photography.[1][2] Most of the changes were driven by the negative reception to the previous installments of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad.[3] Justice League had been helmed by director Zack Snyder through most of its production, but Snyder stepped down in May 2017, during post-production, following a family tragedy, and Joss Whedon took over at that point, completing the film as an uncredited director. Whedon oversaw reshoots and other changes that added a brighter tone and more humor to the film, and cut the runtime down to 120 minutes in accordance with a mandate from Warner Bros.[3][4][2]

The theatrical release of Justice League was a commercial failure, and was met with a mixed reception from critics and audiences, leading Warner Bros to re-evaluate the future of the DCEU.[5][6] When details surfaced about the film's troubled production and the state of the film before Snyder stepped down, some expressed interest in the idea of releasing an alternate cut that would be more faithful to Snyder's vision for the film. Fans of Snyder's works, members of the cast and crew, and other film industry figures have petitioned for the release of this "Snyder Cut", but Warner has stated that they have no current plans to release an alternate cut of Justice League.[7]

Original Snyder/Terrio script (2014–2016)Edit

Following the release of Man of Steel (2013), director Zack Snyder outlined the basis of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), which centered around a five-film arc including Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and a Justice League trilogy. As interpreted by Stephen M. Colbert of Screen Rant, the structure of the franchise would have been the "inverse" of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Instead of solo films culminating in cross-over Avengers films, DC's take would have primarily been cross-over films with occasional solo films on the side set at different points in time.[8] Snyder's original vision for the series was to have Batman v Superman be one of the darkest in the franchise, and have the films become more hopeful in tone from there. Despite this, Snyder describes his original Justice League script written with Chris Terrio as "dark" and "scary". According to concept art, the scenes involving Apokolips and the New Gods were heavily influenced by sci-fi and the work of H. R. Giger.[9][10]

The original Justice League that Chris [Terrio] and I wrote, we didn't even shoot. There's a lot of it that we shot [but] the actual idea, the hard, hard idea, the scary idea, we never filmed because the studio was like, 'That's crazy.' And we were so insecure at the time after [Batman v Superman] came out, we were just like, 'I guess it is crazy. We're f—in' nuts. There's gonna be mass hysteria in the streets if we film this.'

—Zack Snyder, Syfy Wire[11]

Originally, Steppenwolf and his Parademons were going to be the villains in Suicide Squad controlling Enchantress with the Mother Boxes,[12][13] and Darkseid was going to be the primary antagonist in Justice League. According to Snyder, at least part of the film was set to explore Bruce Wayne's "Knightmare"—the scene in Batman v Superman where Bruce Wayne has a vision of a post-apocalyptic future Gotham, followed by the Flash appearing to tell him that Lois Lane is "key" and worries that he is "too soon". In the early script for Justice League, the continuation of the "Knightmare" had Darkseid use a boom tube to teleport into the Batcave and kill Lois Lane. This would have made Superman susceptible to Darkseid's Anti-Life Equation, the fictional mathematical formula from the comic books for controlling the minds of sentient beings. With Superman under Darkseid's control, they take over Earth and create the post-apocalyptic future from Wayne's "Knightmare". Batman and Cyborg worked together to create a time machine to send Flash back in time to save Lois and prevent Superman from falling under Darkseid's control. The Flash has two possible destinations in time, one of which resulted in his "too soon" speech in Batman v Superman.[11][9][14][15] This version of Justice League was never filmed and no footage of it exists.[16]

The "Snyder Cut" (2016–2017)Edit

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was panned by critics (holding a 28% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes[17]), though audiences gave the film a more mixed reception (holding a "B" rating with CinemaScore[18]). Common critiques of the film centered around its dark tone, lack of humor and slow pace. This reaction caused Warner Bros. and Snyder to re-evaluate upcoming films in the DCEU, particularly Suicide Squad, which had already wrapped principal photography, and Justice League, which was a month away from filming. Snyder and Terrio had always planned on having the DCEU films become progressively more light and positive in tone, but the reaction to Batman v Superman caused them to rewrite Justice League as even more hopeful in tone than originally planned.[9][19] In cinematographer Fabian Wagner's first meeting with Snyder, he said he wanted to "get away from the stylized, desaturated, super-high contrast looks of other films in the franchise."[20] Warner hired Jon Berg and Geoff Johns to oversee the DCEU, with their first task being to help with Justice League rewrites to make the film more hopeful and optimistic.[3] Batman actor Ben Affleck was hired to help with script re-writes and also serve as executive producer on Justice League, mainly to ensure continuity between the film and The Batman, which he was expected to star in and direct at the time.[21] Jeremy Irons, the actor who portrayed Alfred Pennyworth and was an outspoken critic of Batman v Superman, said the "Snyder Cut" script was simpler, smaller and more linear than its predecessor.[22] Because of the Justice League re-writes, Steppenwolf was cut as the major villain from Suicide Squad and was last-minute replaced by Enchantress' brother Incubus.[12][13] Principal photography was shot entirely using 35 mm film[23] and wrapped in December 2016.[24] Months later, multiple cuts of Snyder's Justice League were shown to Warner executives, in addition to friends and family of Snyder.[25][24] A final run-time and picture lock were achieved, though the cuts had incomplete VFX shots and partial audio mixing.[26][27][28] Composer Junkie XL completed his score for the film before stepping down.[29] During an event, Snyder said that he had multiple cuts that were essentially "done", only needing "a few CG tweaks" to complete, but that it was ultimately up to Warner to release it.[30][31] Forbes contributor and film screenwriter Mark Hughes reported that the cut was more than 90% complete,[32] while The Telegraph cited a VFX expert as estimating that the studio would need another $30-40 million to finish the film.[28] This mostly finished version of Justice League is what is often referred to as the "Snyder Cut". Citing several members of Justice League's crew "at various levels" as his source, Kevin Smith described the state of the cut, saying:

"When people hear 'Snyder Cut' in their heads, they think about, like, a DVD they've seen of an extended cut or something that's finished. The 'Snyder Cut' that, again I haven't seen, but the one I've heard everyone speak of was never a finished film. It was a movie that people in production could watch and fill in the blanks. It was certainly not meant for mass consumption."[33][34]

The "Snyder Cut" is 214 minutes (about three-and-a-half hours)[35][2] while the assembly cut (all of the footage shot compiled into a single cut) was nearly five hours long.[36] The basic framework of Snyder's Justice League story was largely maintained for the theatrical release: Batman and Wonder Woman seek out the other metahumans, form a team, resurrect Superman, and defeat Steppenwolf in a final battle in Russia. However, dozens of additional scenes, backstories, mythos, worldbuilding elements, new characters, and teases for upcoming films were present in the "Snyder Cut" but not the theatrical release. The time-travel aspect of Snyder and Terrio's original draft was maintained for the "Snyder Cut", but on a smaller scale. In this version, Cyborg fails to stop "The Unity" and Flash travels back in time to give him a second chance.[37] It spent more time introducing the three new main characters to the DCEU: Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg.[1] The "Snyder Cut" also introduced several new supporting characters from the source comic books, including: Justice League antagonist Darkseid (played by Ray Porter),[38] master torturer Desaad (played by Peter Guinness),[39][40] Aquaman's mentor and trainer Nuidis Vulko (played by Willem Dafoe),[41] scientist Ryan Choi who takes on the mantle of Atom in the comics (played by Ryan Zheng),[42] Cyborg's mother Elinore Stone (played by Karen Bryson),[43] Barry Allen's love interest Iris West (played by Kiersey Clemons),[44] and the shapeshifting alien Martian Manhunter (played by Harry Lennix).[45][46] Other side characters had additional screen time and more important roles in the "Snyder Cut", including: Superman antagonist Lex Luthor (played by Jesse Eisenberg),[1] Cyborg's father Silas Stone (played by Joe Morton),[47] Atlantean warrior Mera (played by Amber Heard),[48] reporter and Superman love interest Lois Lane (played by Amy Adams),[49] and Wonder Woman antagonist Ares (played by Nick McKinless).[50]

Warner executives who saw his cut noted that Snyder made significant efforts to lighten the tone following the criticism of Batman v Superman.[3] After the release of Aquaman, while the film was lighter than the anticipated tone from the "Snyder Cut" the character of Aquaman was said to be more consistent with Snyder's depiction than it was with Whedon's.[51] Despite this, Warner was still unhappy with the results and insider reports said sources in Warner Bros. considered the cut "unwatchable".[52] The first two trailers for Justice League used footage from the "Snyder Cut" before Whedon's contributions,[53][54] and were subject to a mixed reception.[55][56][57][58] Neil Daly, who oversaw the test screenings, said test audiences ranked Batman and Superman the lowest of the main cast.[59] In July 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that Warner had no plans of releasing an alternate cut of Justice League.[7] In November 2019, both The Hollywood Reporter and Variety independently reported Warner had no plans to release the "Snyder Cut", with the latter quoting an inside source as saying, "That's a pipe dream. There's no way it's ever happening."[60][61]

#ReleaseTheSnyderCut movementEdit

Immediately after the theatrical release of Justice League, fans created an online petition to release the "Snyder Cut" that gained more than 180,000 signatures.[62][63][7] The movement, which uses the hashtag #ReleaseTheSnyderCut on social media,[2][64] began before fans had any knowledge that a cut of Snyder's Justice League film actually existed in any capacity.[28][62][65] The movement was ignited by the divisive reaction toward the theatrical cut, knowing that Snyder left directorial duties and the final cut of the film in the hands of Joss Whedon and the assumption that Whedon created an inferior film. The circumstances have been compared to a similar situation with the film Superman II (1980). Both Justice League and Superman II feature a director that was replaced, for different reasons, before completion of a film, which led to a second director coming in and making substantial changes to the tone of each film. Although the reasoning behind each director's departure differs, Richard Donner was able to complete his Superman II cut in 2006.[2][64][66] Some assumed that an alternate cut of Justice League was inevitable because historically several of Snyder's films have been re-released as extended cuts for home media (Watchmen, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) often seen by critics as superior to the original version.[67][68] Several members of the Justice League cast and crew have shown support for the "Snyder Cut"'s release including actors Jason Momoa,[69] Ciarán Hinds[70] and Ray Fisher,[71] as well as photographer Clay Enos,[72] storyboard artist Jay Oliva,[73] cinematographer Fabian Wagner,[74] and Ben Affleck's stunt double Richard Cetrone.[75] Other film- and comic-book-industry figures not related to Justice League have also supported the release of a "Snyder Cut" including filmmaker Kevin Smith,[76] television producer Steven S. DeKnight,[77] and comic book writers Rob Liefeld,[78] Robert Kirkman[79] and Jerry Ordway.[80] On the two-year anniversary of the theatrical cut, several members of the cast and crew showed support through social media for releasing the "Snyder Cut".[61][81][82]

Other figures are less optimistic that the "Snyder Cut" will ever be released. Shawn Robbins, chief analyst for suggested the size of the movement was too small to make an impact, stating, "another cut of Justice League just doesn't seem to be something many outside the die-hard fan base are clamoring to see".[83] Clay Enos, who supports the release,[72] also pointed out several logistical complications as hurdles impacting a possible release, including how royalty payments would be handled with two different versions of the same film.[84] Citing industry sources, writer Mario F. Robles said Warner does not trust Snyder's vision and is not willing to spend the millions of dollars it would cost to finish his cut.[85] Brooks Barnes, Hollywood reporter for The New York Times theorizes that the "Snyder Cut" will never be released due to a mix of the high cost to finish the project and corporate ego. He elaborated: "The ego kind of comes in where, like, no studio will ever put itself in a position of looking like they made the wrong decision. Let's just say it was finished, they put it out, everyone loves it, 'Oh my God, this should have been the movie.' That puts jobs at risk at the high level. Right? And so right there, it's not happening."[2] Writing for Forbes, Scott Mendelson suggested it would be more likely for audiences to see either an animated or comic-book adaptation of Snyder's script than a polished, full-length feature film being finished and released.[86] A box-office analyst from Exhibitor Relations didn't believe Snyder's version of the film would have fared much differently from the theatrical release, stating, "His Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a train wreck of a film, and that was all on him. So, with that as a barometer, I don't have much faith that there was anything inherent to his vision that would have pushed this past $1 billion."[87] Throughout the movement's push for the "Snyder Cut"'s release, members of the media referred to the alternative cut as "fabled"[61][88][89] or "mythical".[33][90][91]

Members of the movement have engaged in acts of activism to promote their cause. Assuming that corporate leadership is what is preventing the release of a "Snyder Cut", fans have directly reached out to new figures related to Warner to demand its release. In June 2018, fans reached out to executives at AT&T following a merger between the company and Warner;[92] in June 2019 they reached out to new Warner CEO Ann Sarnoff, who replaced Kevin Tsujihara after his resignation,[93] following that up a month later with a mass letter-writing campaign;[94] and in July 2019 they reached out to WarnerMedia after the announcement of its new streaming service HBO Max.[95] Ahead of the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, a fan launched a crowdfunding campaign with half of the funds to be spent on an advertising campaign (including billboards and a flying banner ad promoting the "Snyder Cut"), and the other half to be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).[96][97] For a similar campaign at the 2019 New York Comic Con, the movement purchased ad space on two billboards over Times Square featuring quotes from members of the cast and crew.[88] In December 2019, the movement rented another flying banner ad, this time passing over Warner Bros. Studios and directly asking Sarnoff to release the "Snyder Cut."[98] In January 2020, the movement bought four-minutes of ad space advocating for the film's release on a digital banner wrapped around the interior of Riverside Stadium during the FA Cup.[99] As of January 2020, the movement had raised more than $150,000 for the AFSP.[100] Their efforts have garnered praise from Snyder[101] and from the AFSP.[102]

Members of the movement have been described by members of the media as "toxic"[87][103][104][105][106] for harassing, threatening and cyberbullying those who express opinions about the Snyder Cut that are contrary to their beliefs.[107] Yohana Desta of Vanity Fair broadly described the act of fans demanding an alternative cut as a "modern pattern of audience demand that is actively making fandoms more toxic", and compared it to the 2017 harassment of Star Wars: The Last Jedi actress Kelly Marie Tran.[104] Journalists are subjected to the kind of harassment experienced by Kayleigh Donaldson of Pajiba: through email, website comments and social-media direct messages.[105][107] In September 2018, former DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson deleted her Twitter account in response to substantial online harassment by some members of the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement.[108] Warner telephone operators, inundated with regular calls about the "Snyder Cut", have been trained to treat these inquiries as crank calls.[106] Members of the movement tracked down Justice League stuntman Richard Cetrone to ask him questions about the "Snyder Cut", only to digitally alter his response and spread on social media a fake text message that appeared to support their cause.[65][109] Brandon Katz of the Observer said that the movement is composed of "both toxic DC fans that hurl vitriolic harassment at any and all opposition, and supportive moviegoers that genuinely enjoy Snyder's style and are just hoping to see the conclusion of his trilogy that began with 2013's Man of Steel. As with any contingent, there are both extremists and level-headed individuals in its ranks."[87] Bob Rehak, Swarthmore College Associate Professor and Chair of Film and Media Studies, said that fandoms such as #ReleaseTheSnyderCut revolt when a major change is made to something they love, and that this reaction usually comes from a smaller subsection of the fandom, which "[paints] the whole community with a really broad brush."[109]

Scrapped outline of Snyder's Justice League 2 & 3Edit

External image
Justice League trilogy outline
  T-shirt design by Zack Snyder posted to his Twitter account. The cryptic logo allegedly outlines Snyder's entire plan for his five-film arc, including his Justice League trilogy.

Scripts for Justice League 2 and Justice League 3 to follow Snyder's Justice League were never written and never had writers assigned to them,[110][111] but Snyder had a plan for their stories and comic-book artist Jim Lee drew breakdown boards for them.[112] Production was expected to begin shortly after the release of Justice League,[111] but work on Justice League 2 was pushed back indefinitely in December 2017 in favor of a stand-alone Batman film.[113] After the commercial flop of Justice League caused Warner to re-think their DCEU strategy and move away from Snyder's vision, Snyder and members of the cast and crew slowly began leaking details about his Justice League trilogy plan. Those details include:

  • After teasing Darkseid in the "Snyder Cut", he would have been the main villain of Justice League 2.[111]
  • Batman was going to die.[114][115]
  • A Green Lantern was expected to appear in Justice League 2.[111] Producer Charles Roven was rumored to be interested in having Mark Wahlberg play Hal Jordan, though he was never officially cast in the role.[116][117]
  • Snyder said the scene in Batman v Superman with crosses over Superman's dead body were a cryptic reference to events in Justice League 2.[118]
  • The "Knightmare" would have been important to the plot.[110] Snyder's plans for the "Knightmare" future were loosely inspired by the plot of the 2013 video game Injustice: Gods Among Us.[119]
  • Justice League 2 would have been inspired by Grant Morrison's 2008–2009 DC crossover storyline "Final Crisis".[114][120]
  • While on the set of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker at Pinewood Studios—where Justice League was also created—Kevin Smith met with some of the crew who worked on Snyder's films and learned about what the future would have held. He revealed that Justice League 2 was supposed to end in defeat, comparing it to the films The Empire Strikes Back and Avengers: Infinity War.[112][121]
  • Smith also said that Justice League 3 would have been set entirely in the post-apocalyptic "Knightmare" Earth seen in Bruce Wayne's dream sequence in Batman v Superman, with a rough synopsis of it being, "The heroes' last stand against Darkseid and the forces of Apokolips".[112][121]

In January 2019, Zack Snyder released a t-shirt as a reward for donating to a crowdfunding campaign with all proceeds going toward the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. His design, which resembles the Kabbalah tree of life, is said to contain the plot of his five-film arc including a planned Justice League trilogy within a mosaic of cryptic symbols and phrases. The reverse side of the shirt has a quote from Joseph Campbell, American literature professor famed for his creation of the Hero's journey, which reads: "All the gods, all the heavens, all the hells, are within you."[122][123][124]


Theatrical cut (2017)Edit

Justice League came out as scheduled in November 2017, credited to Zack Snyder despite not looking or feeling or behaving like a Zack Snyder film at all. The course he'd set had manifestly been abandoned; the DCEU had taken the opportunity afforded by his absence to dramatically rebrand. The curt two-hour runtime. The brightness. The relative bubbliness. The distinctly Whedonesque quippiness. "Itchy," quips Superman, when asked by Amy Adams's Lois Lane how it felt to come back from the dead; the Flash, meanwhile, awkwardly rambles on about brunch and pratfalls face-first onto Wonder Woman's chest.

—Rob Harvilla, The Ringer[2]

After disapproving of the direction of the "Snyder Cut", Warner hired filmmaker Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron) to re-write the script and help with extensive re-shoots.[7] (However, he may have been hired earlier than reported, to join a larger writer's room.)[125] Warner CEO Kevin Tsujihara mandated that Justice League's length was not to exceed two hours.[3] The film company also reportedly decided not to push back the release date (which would have allowed the filmmakers more time to properly complete Justice League), partly so that executives could keep their annual bonuses, and partly because they were concerned that AT&T might dissolve the studio after an upcoming merger, which might result in the incomplete film getting scrapped altogether.[126] Snyder may also have turned down an offer to delay the release date.[28] He was expected to film the scenes that Whedon re-wrote, and they were working together to fix the film in accordance with the studio's requests when Snyder's daughter, Autumn Snyder, died by suicide in March 2017.[7][127] He continued to work on Justice League for two months after the tragedy to distract himself, before finally stepping down in May 2017.[25][127] His wife Deborah Snyder who was producing Justice League also stepped away from the project.[25] There were some reports, however, that Snyder may have been quietly fired from the project in January or February 2017, months before his daughter's suicide and his official departure from the project.[52][128] Once Snyder left, Whedon assumed full control over the completion of the theatrical cut of Justice League.[127] Warner COO Toby Emmerich said at the time:

"The directing is minimal and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set. We're not introducing any new characters. It's the same characters in some new scenes. He's handing the baton to Joss, but the course has really been set by Zack. I still believe that despite this tragedy, we'll still end up with a great movie."[25]

In accordance with Warner's run-time limitations, the Justice League theatrical cut is exactly 120 minutes (two hours) long including credits. Whedon added nearly 80 new pages to the script.[129] Wagner roughly estimates that the theatrical cut uses only about 10% of the principal photography he shot.[130] Composer Junkie XL completed his film score before being replaced by Danny Elfman (Spider-Man, Batman) mid-way through post-production.[27][29]

All of the re-shot scenes were filmed digitally, using an Arri Alexa 65.[23] The scenes that Whedon wrote or re-shot for the theatrical release added a brighter tone and humor, and reduced the level of violence seen in Snyder's darker direction.[7] To meet the mandated run-time, more than 90 minutes of footage from the "Snyder Cut" was removed, but the result still adhered to the basic outline of the story established by Snyder. While the "Snyder Cut" was poorly received by test audiences, the early screening of Whedon's cut scored as high as Wonder Woman did with test audiences, so Warner decided to move forward with it.[3]

Upon release, the theatrical cut of Justice League was met with mixed reviews. Several critics described it as a "Frankenstein"[119][126][131][132] film, in that similar to Frankenstein's monster that is composed of different human's body parts, Justice League was very obviously the work of two different directors with competing visions for the finished product. Warner decided to move away from Snyder's vision for a shared universe of interconnected films and focus on stand-alone films and solo franchises instead.[6] The previously announced sequel to Justice League scheduled for a 2019 release was pushed back indefinitely.[113] Similar to the fallout after Batman v Superman, Warner initiated a shakeup of executives between late-2017 and mid-2018, ahead of the release of the next DCEU film, Aquaman. Both Jon Berg and Geoff Johns, who were hired as co-chairmen and co-runners of the DCEU after Batman v Superman to get the franchise back on track, departed DC Films at the end of 2017.[133][134] In early 2018, Berg and Johns were replaced by Walter Hamada (It, The Conjuring) and Chantal Nong.[135][136] Warner's head of casting Lora Kennedy departed in May 2018.[137] The Hollywood Reporter quoted an insider familiar with the station as saying Hamada, "walked into a shitshow, and he's trying to clean it up".[138] Several DCEU actors are currently no longer attached the franchise following Justice League, including Henry Cavill (Superman),[139][129] Jesse Eisenberg (Lex Luthor)[140] and Ben Affleck (Batman),[141] with several others in question.[142]

Significant changes to the theatrical cutEdit

Justice League endured extensive re-writes and re-shoots that dramatically altered the final film. The above image shows Cyborg, Aquaman and Wonder Woman ready for battle in the first trailer from Zack Snyder's version before he departed the project. The below image shows the exact same shot from Joss Whedon's theatrical cut featuring a digitally altered sky color and set design, and Cyborg and Aquaman have been digitally removed entirely from the original scene.

The following is an overview of major differences between the "Snyder Cut" and the theatrical cut of Justice League. It is not an exhaustive list and dozens of other major and minor changes have been reported.[1][143][144][145][23][146][147][148][110]

Characters removed or given a reduced presenceEdit

The theatrical cut entirely removed at least 10 comic book characters from Snyder's original script, among others. The "Snyder Cut" included a short scene where Flash saved Iris West from a car accident.[1] Ryan Choi / Atom appeared as a S.T.A.R. Labs scientist working with Silas Stone.[42] Cyborg's mother Elinore Stone appeared in some flashback scenes. Aquaman's mentor Nuidis Vulko appeared in an underwater scene and a cut post-credits scene.[41] Justice League antagonist Darkseid appeared in at least two or three scenes.[148] Master torturer and follower of Darkseid in the comic books Desaad played a minor role.[40][149] Harry Lennix's character Calvin Swanwick from Man of Steel and Batman v Superman was planned to appear in a scene revealing he was secretly the shapeshifting alien Martian Manhunter all along.[45][46] While the theatrical cut keeps the Mother Boxes as a plot device, the "Snyder Cut" included the detail that they contained Steppenwolf's actual mother, named Heggra—a re-imagining of Heggra, Steppenwolf's step sister from the comics.[148] The supporting characters Silas Stone, Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, Mera, Ares, Zeus and Antiope had multiple scenes cut or reduced, but still appear in the theatrical release.[citation needed]

Marc McClure, the actor who played Jimmy Olsen in the Christopher Reeve Superman films, played Lois Lane's bodyguard throughout the entire "Snyder Cut" but only makes a cameo appearance in the theatrical cut.[150] Director Zack Snyder had a non-speaking cameo in a cafe.[151] Actor Sam Benjamin said he filmed 20-30 minutes worth of scenes for a military subplot that was cut from the theatrical release.[152]

Additional lore and backstories for Flash, Aquaman and CyborgEdit

Several scenes introducing and exploring mythologies of the three new characters to the DCEU—Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg—were removed from the theatrical cut. In the "Snyder Cut", Flash briefly learned how to travel through time[37] and his relationship with Bruce Wayne was established as being "between someone who is naive and excited and someone who is experienced and jaded."[153] Cyborg was described as the "heart" of the film and the original script had included additional scenes of his origin story, learning to use his abilities, connecting with his cybernetic enhancements and being ripped in half by Steppenwolf.[1][23][37][110][154][155][156] Aquaman had additional scenes exploring his backstory and Atlantean lore including the Dead King of Atlantis' throne and a scene involving Vulko and Mera that directly connected to Aquaman.[156][157][158] Though he supports the release of the "Snyder Cut",[69] Jason Momoa defended the removal of these scenes, stating: "There was no need for it because you're going to see it in Aquaman. It's not an Aquaman movie, it's a Justice League movie."[159]

Changes to SupermanEdit

Most of Henry Cavill's Superman scenes were re-shot by Whedon. Cavill's reshoots were scheduled around Paramount's Mission: Impossible – Fallout, a film for which he was contractually obligated to keep his mustache. Warner decided to digitally remove his mustache, but under a tight deadline, it resulted in an awkward-looking finished product. Nearly all of Superman's scenes throughout the entire film feature the CGI lip, suggesting they have all been re-shot.[1][147][146] Following the young Superman portrayed in Man of Steel and the conflicted Superman portrayed in Batman v Superman, the version of Superman that appeared in the "Snyder Cut" was described as completing his story arc and becoming the "true" Superman as depicted in the comics after being reborn.[160] Superman's behavior at the end of the "Snyder Cut" was described by storyboard artist Jay Oliva as "unhinged".[161]

Flashback to the first invasion of EarthEdit

The flashback scene illustrating Steppenwolf's first invasion of Earth against the Olympian Old Gods, Amazons, Atlanteans, Green Lantern Corps and humans was altered for the theatrical release. The "Snyder Cut" was longer, included a younger version of Darkseid named Uxas instead of Steppenwolf, a battle between Ares and Darkseid, additional footage of the Green Lantern Yalan Gur, and included dialog from most of these characters that was removed from the theatrical release.[23][147][162] When Steppenwolf strikes his axe into the ground, it creates a glowing red symbol. In the "Snyder Cut" this was explained to be a representation of the Anti-Life Equation, but the theatrical cut never addresses what the symbol is.[110]

Final battle in RussiaEdit

The final battle between the Justice League and Steppenwolf's army of Parademons was largely redone. Whedon added the reddish hue coloration, the root-like structures growing out of the ground, a redesign of Steppenwolf's base of operations inside the cooling tower, and the Russian family that Flash saves. Batman played a larger role in the action in the "Snyder Cut".[1] In the theatrical cut, Steppenwolf became afraid of the Justice League causing his Parademons to attack because they are drawn to the smell of fear—a plot device Whedon introduced both in this scene and the opening scene with Batman and the burglar.[147][163] In the "Snyder Cut", Wonder Woman decapitated Steppenwolf before he could escape through a boom tube[147] and on the other side of the tube was Darkseid, teasing his appearance in a sequel.[148]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Colbert, Stephen M. (November 17, 2018). "Justice League: Every Confirmed Change to Zack Snyder's Version". Screen Rant. Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Harvilla, Rob (June 12, 2019). "Kneel Before Zack". The Ringer. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Fritz, Ben (November 6, 2017). "The Quest to Save 'Justice League'". The Wall Street Journal. News Corp. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  4. ^ "'Justice League': Warner Bros. CEO Reportedly Mandated a Runtime Under 2 Hours". Collider. November 6, 2017. Archived from the original on November 8, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  5. ^ Melrose, Kevin (November 15, 2017). "Justice League: What the Critics Are Saying". CBR. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Couch, Aaron (September 29, 2017). "DC Confirms Movies That Are Unconnected From Shared Universe". The Hollywood Reporter. Valence Media. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Fritz, Ben (July 19, 2018). "Holy Director's Cut, Batman! 'Justice League' Fans Demand a New Version of a Superhero Flop". The Wall Street Journal. News Corp. Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  8. ^ Colbert, Stephen M. (April 25, 2018). "What Was Zack Snyder's Original 5 Movie DCEU Plan?". Screen Rant. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c Colbert, Stephen M. (March 26, 2019). "There Are THREE Versions Of Justice League (Including The Snyder Cut): We Explain". Screen Rant. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  10. ^ Schmidt, JK (January 2, 2018). "New 'Justice League' Concept Art Provides a Glimpse at Zack Snyder's Vision". Retrieved June 17, 2019.
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External linksEdit