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Bruce Wayne taunting Arthur Curry
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The “Snyder Cut” is a proposed alternate cut for the film Justice League with material directed by Zack Snyder only, with a script by Chris Terrio. Snyder left the project allegedly to spend time with his family after a personal tragedy, though there is speculation that he also did so in order to avoid having to direct mandated reshoots. Joss Whedon wrote and directed said reshoots, which were extensive and heavily modified the film. The theatrically released film resulted from said Whedon input.

Some fans believe that Snyder had filmed enough scenes to assemble into a complete film. This version is the form that was purely made by Snyder and is dubbed by fans as the "Snyder Cut". This has led to a fan campaign for Warner Bros. to release this version of the film with the original vision. A fan-launched campaign dubbed “Release the Snyder Cut” has trickled out through Reddit, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, YouTube, and more. Proponents of the movement track Snyder’s every move on Vero, a social network platform that’s become the director’s home for behind-the-scenes photos, looking for proof.

Overview

The 2017 film Justice League had a troubled production history, with its script and photography undergoing major changes before and during production as well as a change in directors, resulting in the theatrical release of a version reportedly markedly different from what was initially conceived during pre-production and principal photography. Most of the changes were driven by the negative reception to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The film was initially helmed by director Zack Snyder through most of its production, from principal photography to an undetermined amount of post-production. Snyder completed principal photography in October 2016, then stepped down from post-production in May 2017 following a family tragedy, and director Joss Whedon took over as an uncredited director (he had writer credits, however). 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 executives.

The theatrical release of Justice League was a commercial failure and was met with mixed reception from critics and audiences, leading Warner Bros to re-evaluate the future of the DC Extended Universe. With details surfacing about the movie's troubled production and the state of the movie before Snyder stepped down, interest has been shown for an alternate cut more faithful to Snyder's vision for the movie. 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", though Warner has stated they have no current plans to release an alternate cut of Justice League.

Confirmed Changes

Perry is skeptical of Lois' evidence on Superman
"I can't print this, Lois, you might've hallucinated half of it."

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Notes

Zack Snyder posted an image that seems to confirm the existence of the Snyder Cut. It was listed as 214 minutes (3 hours 34 minutes long. [1]

Soundtrack

  • Junkie XL's score for the film was removed and replaced by Danny Elfman's.
  • On October 29, 2019, Junkie XL confirmed his Justice League score is complete.

Steppenwolf

  • The Invasion of Earth was much longer, including more scenes from the King of Men, Atlan, Yalan Gur, and the Old Gods.
    • Darkseid reportedly led the invasion and faced off against Ares instead of Steppenwolf. This was recently confirmed in a Vero Post from Snyder which depicts Darkseid in the place of Steppenwolf.
  • In the final battle, Uxas / Darkseid was to make a cameo in the movie during two visions Cyborg had, and played an important role in Steppenwolf's motivation throughout the film.
  • Steppenwolf's demise was changed. In the original cut, Wonder Woman would have killed Steppenwolf by cutting off his head with the Sword of Athena.
  • Steppenwolf's head would roll through a boom tube to Darkseid's feet, and the united League would see Darkseid through the boom tube.

Cyborg

  • Before the release of the film, Zack Snyder stated that Cyborg would be the "heart" of the film.
    • Cyborg's origin story was cut:
      • A sequence in which Victor Stone played and won a football game for Gotham City University. This would end up impressing his mother, Elinore Stone.
      • A scene where Victor is speaking with his mother in a car about his father's absence in his life, leading Victor to angrily cause the accident that damaged his body and killed his mother.
      • His revival by Silas Stone using a Mother Box, as seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
  • Several scenes were cut or changed for Victor's story throughout the film:
    • After his father was taken by Parademons, Victor walked to the broken window and peered into the sky where the Parademons flew off to.
      • There was a cut scene that involved Victor hiding the Mother Box from a Parademon, discovering his "arm cannon" in the process.
      • Victor then went to the roof of his father's apartment building, where, after some initial difficulty, he learned to fly and took off into the sky.
    • Later scenes show Victor learning more about his powers: his ability to tap into any computer network, deploy weapon systems, and even controlling and dismissing several ICBMs.
    • A storyboard showed Cyborg teaching the Justice League about the Mother Boxes, including their discovery by the Nazis and how it eventually made its way to S.T.A.R. Labs, where Silas Stone used it to revive him. He then reveals to the Justice League that Silas Stone is his father
      • Victor explains that the Mother Box rearranges matter at the will of its master.
  • During the final battle, Cyborg has a vision that reveals what happens if the Unity is completed. The vision shows the Knightmare, and Darkseid makes an appearance.
    • It has also been confirmed that Cyborg was going to have flashes of this vision in his countdown before resurrecting Superman. On the count of "one" he would see a brief flash of Darkseid and the Knightmare world. This vision was going to be shown in greater detail in the final battle.
    • This scene was meant to complete the vision Bruce Wayne has in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Batman

  • Bruce Wayne's entire search for Arthur Curry was cut down - only the very final scene, when he finds him in an isolated Icelandic village, made it to the movie.
  • Bruce's investigation of the Parademons is cut down from the film. The scene with Batman and the mugger at the beginning is an addition by Joss Whedon, including the revelation that Parademons can smell fear and are attracted to a siren.

The Flash

  • Kiersey Clemons' Iris West was cut from the film.
    • A scene in which Barry saves Iris from a car crash was shot and VFX was added, but not completed. The scene ultimately was scraped and Iris was cut entirely from the film. Clemons is unconfirmed to appear in The Flash following her removal from Justice League.
  • During the Battle at Heroes Park, the Skirmish under Gotham Harbor, and the Battle of Pozharnov, Barry played a bigger role.
    • Scenes involving Barry battling more Parademons in the Battle of Pozharnov and the Skirmish under Gotham Harbor were cut.
    • There was a moment of The Flash actively trying to kick Superman in the Battle at Heroes Park. This was cut.
    • There was a scene in the Skirmish under Gotham Harbor where Steppenwolf threw Wonder Woman into the wall and then charges his axe at her which she dodges. This attack caused a chain reaction in which the building started to crumble on the outside and led to falling debris, which led to a cut of the Star Labs people outside with the Flash. Flash saw the debris falling so he used his speed to punch the debris out of the way from the people but somehow missed the last big piece in which Cyborg shoots it out of the way. This was cut.
  • Barry's appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice during Bruce's vision was further explained, involving the Cosmic Treadmill being used by Barry to travel back in time and warn Bruce.

Lois Lane

  • Lois's visit to the Heroes Park was shortened to a montage of the world without hope. The full sequence involved former Jimmy Olsen actor Marc McClure portrayed a cop who Lois brought coffee routinely on her way to the memorial.
  • The scenes between Lois and Martha Kent were changed.
    • At least one scene involving Lois Lane and Martha Kent talking about their grief of Clark’s death was cut.
  • The scene where Lois awakens in her apartment alone before Alfred attempts to call her is cut down and re-purposed for the opening montage.

Superman

  • The events surrounding Superman's rebirth were changed.
    • While the Justice League was formulating how to revive Superman without him transforming into another Doomsday, it was revealed that the Growth Codex inside of Superman's cells would prevent his cells from destabilizing and keep him Kryptonian.
    • The Battle at Heroes Park took place at night, and involved the military, who were firing at Superman due to his confusion after his revival.
    • Superman was not going to say a single line in this entire sequence.

Aquaman

  • The fight between Steppenwolf, Aquaman, and Mera was cut down severely. In the theatrical release, the bodies of Parademons can be seen in the background, revealing a more prolonged battle.
    • Mera and Aquaman's dialogue was changed partially.
    • Nuidis Vulko makes an appearance shortly afterward, but Arthur instead leaves to the surface.
  • Arthur states that he's going to see his father, Thomas Curry, and his story would have been picked up again in the Aquaman film.

Other Changes

  • A scene of the world reacting to the events of the unity, including Lois Lane, Martha, Silas, London, Gotham, the Iceland village, etc. during the events of the final battle was cut.
  • There was no inclusion of the Russian family originally.
  • Many scenes in the first act of the film were completely re-ordered and/or cut down.
  • A scene before Superman's resurrection involved Silas and the other STAR Lab personnel faking a code red in the Kryptonian ship and evacuating it to allow the League members to get into the ship's Genesis Chamber without any issues was cut.
  • A moment in the Attack on Themyscira in which an Amazon infected with the energy from Steppenwolf's Electro Axe killed herself before turning into a Parademon was cut.

#ReleaseTheSnyderCut Movement

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. The movement, which uses the hashtag #ReleaseTheSnyderCut on social media, began before fans had any knowledge that a cut of Snyder's Justice League film actually existed in any capacity.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. 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. Several members of the Justice League cast and crew have shown support for the "Snyder Cut"'s release including actors Ben Affleck, Ray Fisher, Gal Gadot, Ciarán Hinds, Joe Manganiello and Jason Momoa, as well as photographer Clay Enos, storyboard artist Jay Oliva, cinematographer Fabian Wagner, and Ben Affleck's stunt double Richard Cetrone. 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, television producers Steven S. DeKnight and Damon Lindelof, and comic book writers Rob Liefeld, Robert Kirkman, and Jerry Ordway. People involved in former DCEU movies such as Christina Wren have also supported it. The hashtag #ReleaseTheSnyderCut was relayed over 800,000 times on Twitter on November 17, 2019, making it to the top trends worldwide on the second anniversary of the theatrical release of Justice League.

Other figures are less optimistic that the "Snyder Cut" will ever be released. Shawn Robbins, chief analyst for Boxoffice.com 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." Clay Enos, who supports the release, 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. Citing industry sources, writer Mario F. Robles said Warner doesn't trust Snyder's vision and aren't willing to spend the millions of dollars it would cost to finish his cut. 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." 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. Box-office analyst from Exhibitor Relations didn't believe Snyder's version of the film wouldn't 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."

Members of the movement have engaged in acts of activism to promote their cause. Assuming that corporate leadership is what's 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; in June 2019 they reached out to new Warner CEO Ann Sarnoff, who replaced Kevin Tsujihara following his resignation, and again the following month with a mass letter-writing campaign; and in July 2019 they reached out to WarnerMedia following the announcement of its new streaming service HBO Max. Ahead of the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con] a fan launched a crowdfunding campaign with half of the funds going toward an advertising campaign including billboards and a flying banner ad promoting the "Snyder Cut", and the other half will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. For a similar campaign at 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.

Some have accused large elements within the movement, or the movement at large, of taking their activism beyond promotion, into areas of toxic behaviors including cyberbullying and harassment. Yohana Desta of Vanity Fair described the act of fans demanding an alternative cut as an example of toxic fandom, placing it in the same vein as the 2017 harassment of Star Wars: The Last Jedi actress Kelly Marie Tran. Brandon Katz of the Observer noted 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." In September 2018, former DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson deleted her Twitter]account as a result of excessive online harassment from some members of the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement. Warner telephone operators inundated with regular calls about the "Snyder Cut" have been trained to treat these inquiries as crank calls. Bob Rehak, Swarthmore College Associate Professor and Chair of Film and Media Studies, said fandoms including #ReleaseTheSnyderCut revolt when someone makes a modification to something they love that doesn't align with their preference for what it should be. He said instances toxic fandom usually occur within a smaller subsection of a larger fandom who believe they are greater in number than they really are and whose voice often dominates the mainstream conversation, elaborating that, "When people learn these kinds of weaponized ways of discoursing at each other, and once those tactics get into play, it doesn't really matter how much of the community they speak for. It tends to kind of paint the whole community with a really broad brush."

Scrapped outline of Snyder's Justice League 2 & 3

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, but Snyder had a plan for their stories and comic-book artist Jim Lee drew breakdown boards for them. Production was expected to begin shortly after the release of Justice League, but work on Justice League 2 was pushed back indefinitely in December 2017 in favor of a stand-alone Batman film.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.
  • Batman was going to die.
  • A Green Lantern was expected to appear in Justice League 2. Producer Charles Roven was rumored to be interested in having Mark Wahlberg play Hal Jordan, though he was never officially cast in the role.
  • 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.
  • The "Knightmare" would have been important to the plot. Snyder's plans for the "Knightmare" future were loosely inspired by the plot of the 2013 video game Injustice: Gods Among Us.
  • Justice League 2 would have been inspired by Grant Morrison's 2008–2009 DC crossover storyline "Final Crisis".
  • 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.
  • 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."

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."

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