We can’t believe it, but this is actually going to happen. HBO Max will release the infamous “Snyder Cut” of Justice League in 2021. The director first announced the bombshell online to fans at the end of a Man of Steel rewatch.
“I want to thank HBO Max and Warner Brothers for this brave gesture of supporting artists and allowing their true visions to be realized. Also a special thank you to all of those involved in the SnyderCut movement for making this a reality,”said Snyder in a press release, which will be a major undertaking.
THR says the alternate/original version could come with an additional price tag between 20 and 30 million dollars. Also, it could take shape as a single four-hour director’s cut or in six chapters. Either format means a whole lot of the Snyder Cut.
Snyder has reportedly already begun reassembling the film’s original post-production crew. They will “score, cut, add new and finish old visual effects” that were never completed for his version. The movie’s stars could also be brought in to record new dialogue. All of which seems insane since few ever thought this would happen, Snyder himself included.
For years a small group of very loyal, very loud fans have been demanding that Warner Bros. release the “Snyder Cut” of Justice League. It’s the version of the 2017 movie that seemingly didn’t even exist. Zack Snyder filmed the script he and Chris Terrio wrote before Snyder had to leave the movie for personal reasons. Joss Whedon then came on to finish the film, which involved major reshoots and changes. The result was a hodgepodge of a story that varied between Snyder’s darker DCEU entries and the more lighthearted take Whedon added to the film.
The changes went beyond just the movie’s tone though. Whedon also altered the film’s aesthetic. Trailers released before Snyder left have a different color palette than what ended up in the final version. Also, some scenes included in Snyder-era promos were completely absent from Whedon’s movie. For example Jeremy Irons’ Alfred had a mysterious encounter, possibly with Green Lantern, in an early trailer. The final movie did not include that scene or Hal Jordan though.
But a push for the Snyder version never stopped. A hardcore group of fans continuously championed their strange cause. And last year the film’s stars promoted the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut hashtag. Even if Snyder shot his full script, Warner Bros. seemingly did not add in the necessary special effects his version would have required to be complete.
Why now then? Warner Media Entertainment and Direct-To-Consumer Chairman Robert Greenblatt credited persistent fan demand.
“Since I got here 14 months ago, the chant to #ReleaseTheSnyderCut has been a daily drumbeat in our offices and inboxes. Well, the fans have asked, and we are thrilled to finally deliver. 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 in 2021. This could never have happened if it weren’t for the hard work and combined efforts of the teams at HBO Max and Warner Bros. Pictures,” he said.
What he omitted though is another possibility. This month HBO Max is launching in an already crowded streaming market. By finalizing and releasing the film on the site it can ensure Snyder fans will subscribe. They’ve had money for public displays demanding the film come out. They clearly have some disposable income to actually see it. So ultimately it’s the same reason Warner Bros. was reluctant to release a second version of a movie that did poorly at the box office—money. It didn’t make financial sense to release the “Snyder Cut” before. It does now.
And even if you don’t care to watch it there’s a silver lining. At least we can all stop talking about whether it will ever be released.
Featured Image: Warner Bros.
Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on Twitter at @burgermike, and also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.