- "They said the age of heroes would never come again."
"It will... it has to."
- ―Diana and Bruce Wayne[src]
Zack Snyder's Justice League, alternatively known as Justice League: The Snyder Cut and often referred to as the "Snyder Cut," is the director's cut of the 2017 film Justice League—the fifth film in the DC Extended Universe based on the DC Comics superhero team of the same name—and presents the original and uncompromised vision for the film by director Zack Snyder, with a screenplay with Chris Terrio and story by Snyder, Terrio, and Aquaman screenwriter Will Beall. The film was co-produced by Atlas Entertainment, The Stone Quarry, and DC Films.
Like the 2017 theatrical release, Zack Snyder's Justice League is a sequel to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), and tells the formation of the Justice League—Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher)—as they come together to protect Earth from the threat of Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) and his army of Parademons following Superman's death at the hands of Doomsday.
The film was released on HBO Max on March 18, 2021. With a run time of approximately four hours, it is the longest DCEU film to date. It is also the third R-rated DCEU film following Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Ultimate Edition (2016) and Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020).
A black-and-white version of Zack Snyder's Justice League was also made available the following week, known as the "Justice is Gray Edition".
The film is thematically separated into six parts: "Don't Count On It, Batman", The Age of Heroes, Beloved Mother, Beloved Son, "Change Machine", All the King's Horses, and "Something Darker". An epilogue follows, titled "A Father Twice Over".
In Zack Snyder's Justice League, determined to ensure Superman's ultimate sacrifice was not in vain, Bruce Wayne aligns forces with Diana Prince with plans to recruit a team of metahumans to protect the world from an approaching threat of catastrophic proportions. The task proves more difficult than Bruce imagined, as each of the recruits must face the demons of their own pasts to transcend that which has held them back, allowing them to come together, finally forming an unprecedented league of heroes. Now united; Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash must save the planet from Steppenwolf, DeSaad and Darkseid and their dreadful intentions.
Thousands of years ago, the New God Darkseid and his legion of Parademons attempted to conquer Earth using the three ancient Mother Boxes. The attempt was foiled by a combined legion of Amazons, Atlanteans, and a Green Lantern. The Mother Boxes were unintentionally left behind during their retreat. After the battle, the Boxes were hidden in different locations, guarded by the Amazons, Atlanteans, and Men, respectively. In the present, the death of Superman triggers the Boxes' reactivation, attracting Steppenwolf, Darkseid's disgraced lieutenant, to Earth. Steppenwolf hopes to regain Darkseid's favor by gathering the boxes to form "the Unity," which would terraform Earth in the likeness of their world Apokolips. Steppenwolf begins by invading Themyscira and retrieving the Mother Box there, killing many Amazons in the process.
Meanwhile, to fulfil a promise he made to Superman and following Lex Luthor's warning of a potential invasion, Bruce Wayne, his confidante Alfred Pennyworth, and Diana Prince search for a team of Metahumans. These candidates include the half human-Atlantean Arthur Curry, the speedster Barry Allen, and the cyborg Victor Stone. Eventually, Diana's mother Queen Hippolyta sends a warning message to man's world, which Diana receives and connects the events to Darkseid and informs Bruce. Bruce then recruits an enthusiastic Barry, while both Arthur and Victor refuse to join. When scouts from the Atlantean outpost guarding their Mother Box go missing, having been kidnapped and interrogated by Steppenwolf for its location, Arthur is asked by his mentor Vulko to assist fellow Atlantean Mera in protecting the outpost when his half-brother Orm refuses to take action. Arthur reluctantly goes to the outpost, but ultimately fails to stop Steppenwolf from taking the Box.
The team, now joined by Victor, receives intel from Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon, leading them to Steppenwolf's army in an abandoned facility under Gotham Harbor, where Steppenwolf is interrogating several kidnapped employees, including Victor's father, Silas Stone of the whereabouts of the last box. The facility is flooded during combat, trapping the team until Arthur arrives and delays the flood so they can escape. Victor retrieves the last Mother Box, which he had hidden, for the group to analyze. Victor reveals the history of the Box and that Silas used the Box to rebuild his body after a car accident that had killed his mother and fatally wounded him. He explains that the Boxes are "change machines" that unfalteringly enforce the will of their master, destroying or restoring to life without bias. The group comes to the realization that they could use the Box to resurrect Superman to help fight Steppenwolf.
Meanwhile, the two Mother Boxes in his possession show Steppenwolf a vision of a secret power on Earth, the Anti-Life Equation, which was sought after by Darkseid for countless millennia and initially discovered during his first failed invasion of Earth, only to be lost alongside the Mother Boxes. Steppenwolf then informs Darkseid's servant, DeSaad about the discovery. When Darkseid also learns of this, he vows to personally come to Earth as soon as Steppenwolf completes the Unity. Barry and Victor exhume Superman's body and place it in the amniotic fluid of the genesis chamber in a Kryptonian ship kept in S.T.A.R. Labs. During this process, Victor gains a vision of Darkseid killing Diana and Arthur while he controls Superman. After Barry activates the Mother Box, an amnesiac Superman is resurrected, immediately attacking the group after Victor's armor's defense system fired a missile that he dodged before it could hit him. He defeats the group soundly, but Lois Lane, who had been visiting the Superman memorial, arrives just in time to calm Superman down, preventing him from killing Bruce. Together, Lois and Superman leave for the Kent farm in Smallville, where he regains his memories and reunites with his mother, Martha Kent. Clark returns to his ship where he dons a new black suit and goes to Alfred, ready to return to the fight.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Steppenwolf attacks the lab and retrieves the last Mother Box, though Silas manages to supercharge it with laser heat at the cost of his own life. Victor tracks down the heat signature and locates Steppenwolf's base using one of Bruce's six satellites. The team travels to an abandoned Russian city, where Steppenwolf aims to form the Unity. The heroes fight their way through the Parademons and confront Steppenwolf. However, they struggle to distract Steppenwolf enough for Victor to separate the Unity. A portal to Apokolips opens revealing Darkseid, DeSaad, and Granny Goodness. Superman returns just in time and overpowers Steppenwolf, but Victor fails to separate the boxes. The Unity is formed, destroying the planet.
However, Barry enters the Speed Force before the shockwave reaches him and uses his abilities to reverse time, allowing Victor and Superman to separate the boxes and the heroes to kill Steppenwolf, tossing his body into the portal to Apokolips. Darkseid assures DeSaad they will return to Earth and orders him to ready the armada as they will use the old ways to complete his quest for the Anti-Life Equation. In the aftermath of the battle, Dr. Ryan Choi is promoted to director of Xenoscience at S.T.A.R. Labs; Bruce, Diana, and Alfred agree to set up a base of operations using the old Wayne Manor building; Barry acquires a job in the Central City Police Department impressing his imprisoned father; Victor is inspired by his father's message to use his abilities for good; Arthur bids Mera and his mentor Vulko farewell as he goes to see his father; and Clark resumes his life as a reporter and Superman in Metropolis. Elsewhere, Slade Wilson visits Luthor after breaking him out of Arkham Asylum, and Luthor reveals to him Batman's identity of Bruce Wayne.
In a post-apocalyptic dream, Bruce, Victor, Mera, Barry, and Wilson are shown making their way to Metropolis. Joker taunts Bruce about losing people, naming his parents and adopted son. Eventually, an evil Superman arrives just as the dream ends. Bruce awakens from the dream in his home where he is visited by Secretary of Defense Calvin Swanwick, who is revealed to be the Martian Manhunter. He thanks Bruce for putting together the team of heroes and promises to keep in contact in preparation for Darkseid's next plans.
- Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman
- Henry Cavill as Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman
- Amy Adams as Lois Lane
- Gal Gadot as Diana/Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
- Ray Fisher as Victor Stone/Cyborg
- Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman
- Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash
- Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko
- Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
- Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth
- Diane Lane as Martha Kent
- Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta
- J.K. Simmons as Commissioner James Gordon
- Ciarán Hinds as Steppenwolf (voice)
- Ryan Zheng as Dr. Ryan Choi
- Amber Heard as Mera
- Joe Morton as Dr. Silas Stone
- Lisa Loven Kongsli as Menalippe
- David Thewlis as Ares
- Ann Ogbomo as Philippus
- Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir as a young Icelandic woman
- Björt Sigfinnsdóttir as a young Icelandic woman
- Salóme Gunnarsdóttir as a singing Icelandic woman
- Kristbjörg Kjeld as an old Icelandic woman
- Ingvar Sigurdsson as an Icelandic mayor
- Védís Vífilsdóttir as an Icelandic girl
- Snæfríður Rán Aðalsteins as an Icelandic girl
- Marc McClure as Officer Jerry
- Michael McElhatton as Black Clad Alpha
- John Dagleish as Black Clad Beta
- Charlotte Comer as a school chaperone
- Lara Decaro as a school girl
- Serene Angus as a school girl
- Anna Burgess as a school girl
- Mia Burgess as a school girl
- Alison Chang as a school girl
- Constance Bole as a school girl
- Shahla Ayamah as a school girl
- Chris Courtenay as an Old Bailey judge
- Heather Imbeah as an Old Bailey clerk
- Carla Turner as a school teacher
- Grace Cookey-Gam as an Old Bailey lawyer
- Matthew Bates as an Old Bailey hostage
- Gary Reimer as the task force sniper
- Robbie Gee as the task force lead
- Jim Sturgeon as the task force deputy
- Doutzen Kroes as Venelia
- Eleanor Matsuura as Epione
- Samantha Win (credited as Samantha Jo) as Euboea
- Brooke Ence as Penthesilea
- Anthony Wise as Howard the Janitor
- Jerome Pradon as a Louvre conservationist
- Richard Clifford as a French archaeologist
- Rebecca C. Perfect as a news reporter at the Isle of Crete
- Vincent Riotta as the CID chief detective
- Edward Mitchell as a CID officer
- Mark Arnold as Thomas
- Martin Troakes as a Welsh tavern barkeep
- Peter Guinness as DeSaad (voice)
- Sergi Constance as Zeus
- Aurore Lauzeral as Artemis
- Julian Lewis Jones as King Atlan
- Ray Porter as Darkseid (voice)
- Francis Magee as the ancient king of men
- Hari James as Trigona
- Kiersey Clemons as Iris West
- Lucy Briers as a dog day care owner
- David Mara as a produce truck driver
- Wil Coban as a tortured Atlantean soldier
- Stewart Alexander as a college dean
- Karen Bryson as Dr. Elinore Stone
- Christy Meyer as an emergency room doctor
- Amanda Maud as Linda Reed
- Granville Saxton as a homeless man
- Gianpiero Cognoli as a Central City prison guard
- Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as Detective Crispus Allen
- Kevin Mathurin as a sketch witness
- Joyce Veheary as a Gotham cop
- Taylor James as an Atlantean military messenger
- Hadrian Howard as an Atlantean general
- Victor Gardener as an Atlantean general
- Bruce Chong as an Atlantean general
- Orion Lee as a S.T.A.R. Labs scientist
- Oliver Gatz as a S.T.A.R. Labs scientist
- Rachel Blenkiron as a S.T.A.R. Labs scientist
- Lynne Anne Rodgers as S.T.A.R. Labs cleaning staff
- Oliver Powell as S.T.A.R. Labs cleaning staff
- Kelly Burke as Air Force security
- Keith Simpson as Air Force security
- Omri Rose as a moonsuit soldier
- Harry Lennix as Lieutenant General Calvin Swanwick/Martian Manhunter
- Will Austin as an MP guard
- William Atkinson as military police
- Sam Benjamin as military police
- Shalini Peiris as a bio hazard suit soldier
- Carla Gugino as the voice of Scout Ship 0344
- Russell Crowe as Jor-El (voice)
- Adam Forman as a pickup truck driver
- Peter Brooke as a Defense Department official
- Peter Henderson as a bald inmate
- Bruce Lester Johnson as Nelson
- Katia Elizarova as Lex Luthor's guard
- Gem Refoufi as Lex Luthor's guard
- Leila Reid as Lex Luthor's guard
- Suan-Li Ong as Lex Luthor's guard
- Tina Balthazar as Lex Luthor's guard
- Penny Lane as Lex Luthor's guard
- Jared Leto as the Joker
- Stephanie Haymes-Roven as an Amazon cavalry general
- Steve West as a Mother Box priest
- Laura Waddell as a Mother Box priest
- Robin Wright as General Antiope (uncredited)
- Billy Crudup as Henry Allen (uncredited)
- Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent (voice; uncredited)
- Joe Manganiello as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke (uncredited)
- Costa Rica (mentioned)
- Fiji (mentioned)
- Egypt (poster)
- Italy (flashback)
- Jamaica (mentioned)
- Themyscira stables
- Tonga (video)
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
- Albuquerque (badge)
- Manhattan (newspaper)
- New Jersey
- Wisconsin (team)
- Invasion of Earth (flashback)
- Atlanteans-Amazons War (mentioned)
- World War II (flashback)
- Great Darkness (mentioned)
- Showdown in Gotham Port
- Rescue at the Old Bailey Courthouse
- War for Earth
- Apokoliptian plasma rifle
- Apokoliptian plasma turret
- Aquaman's armor
- Ares' axe (flashback)
- Arrow of Artemis
- Atlanna's trident
- Bracelets of Submission
- Deathstroke armor
- Electro Axe
- Flash suit
- Grapple gun
- Harley Quinn's Chiappa Rhino 60DS
- Hydro-pulse rifles
- Joker's Colt Gold Cup Trophy
- Kryptonian battle armor
- Kryptonite spear
- Lasso of Hestia
- Mother Box
- Omega beams
- Plasma carbine
- Power Ring
- Steppenwolf's mind probe
- Superman's skinsuits
- Sword of Athena
- Trident of Atlan
- Wonder Woman's armor
- Wonder Woman's second shield
- Apokoliptian warships
- Bruce Wayne's Vision Gran Turismo
- Diana Prince's E-Class Cabriolet
- Flying Fox
- Lex Luthor's yacht
- Scout ships
- War Machine
- Angels (statue)
- Kilowog's species
- Demons (mentioned)
- New Gods
- Old Gods (flashback)
- Yalan Gur's species (flashback)
- Albuquerque Police Department (badge)
- Apokoliptian priests
- Arkham Home for the Emotionally Troubled
- Atlantean Guards
- Central City Police Department (mentioned)
- City of London Police
- Darkseid's Elite
- Green Lantern Corps (flashback)
- Gotham City Police Department
- Hellenic Police
- Justice League
- Metropolis Police Department
- NASA (inderctly mentioned)
- Nazi Party (flashback)
- Unity of Earth (flashback)
Production and release of Justice League
The 2017 theatrical cut of 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 release of a version markedly different from what was initially conceived during pre-production and principal photography. Most of the changes were driven by the negative critical reception to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which caused shake-ups at Warner Bros. despite the film's overall commercial success.
Justice League 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 was 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 began petitioning for the release of this "Snyder Cut", though Warner Bros. stated they had no current plans to release an alternate cut of Justice League. The "Snyder Cut" would finally be announced on May 20, 2020 by Zack Snyder, entitled "Zack Snyder's Justice League" and launching on HBO Max in March 2021.
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 used 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). The productions of both Justice League and Superman II experienced the replacement of the director, for different reasons, before completion of the film, which led to a second director coming in and making substantial changes to the tone. Although the reasoning behind each Snyder and Donner's departure from their respective films differs, 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 showed 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 also supported the release of the cut. 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. #RestoreTheSnyderVerse, the continuation of the movement post the release of Zack Snyder's Justice League, eventually peaked with a trend of 1.42 million, which is the largest tweet count among all comic book-based Twitter trends.
Other figures were less optimistic that the "Snyder Cut" would 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 Bros. didn't trust Snyder's vision and wouldn't be willing to spend the millions of dollars it would cost to finish his cut. Brooks Barnes, Hollywood reporter for The New York Times theorized that the "Snyder Cut" would 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 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."
Members of the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement engaged in acts of activism to promote their cause. Assuming that corporate leadership was what was preventing the release of a "Snyder Cut", fans directly reached out to new figures related to Warner Bros. to demand its release. In June 2018, fans reached out to executives at AT&T following a merger between the company and Warner Bros.' parent company Time Warner (now WarnerMedia); in June 2019 they reached out to new WarnerMedia 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 would 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 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 alleged 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" had been trained to treat these inquiries as prank 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."
In March 2019, Snyder confirmed after 16 months of speculation that his original cut did exist, and stated it was up to Warner Bros. to finish and release it. In November, an insider in a Variety article claimed it was unlikely that Warner Bros. would ever release Snyder's version of the film in any form, calling it a "pipe dream." The following month however, Snyder posted a video on his Vero account, showing boxes with tapes labeled "Z.S. JL Director's cut", with the caption "Is it real? Does it exist? Of course it does."
Zack Snyder's Justice League production
Discussions with Warner Bros. surrounding the potential release of Snyder's cut of Justice League began in late 2019, and lasted for a few months. The studio first approached Snyder to release his cut unfinished, but Snyder objected to this and insisted on either finishing it or not completing it. According to Deborah Snyder, it took several months before the studio would recognize Snyder's intent to give the fans what they desired. WarnerMedia decided to move forward with the Snyder Cut in February 2020, after chairman Toby Emmerich acknowledged the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement and reached out to Snyder.
The Snyders invited executives from W.B., HBO Max and DC to their home to view the Snyder Cut. Snyder presented ideas such as potentially releasing the cut in an episodic format as well as a film. The executives were impressed, and decided to let the project proceed. In a group table setting, WarnerMedia CEO Ann Sarnoff, DC Films president Walter Hamada, WarnerMedia chairman Robert Greenblatt, HBO Max content chief Kevin Reilly, and HBO Max original programming head Sarah Aubrey all had a discussion with Snyder, before officially greenlighting Zack Snyder's Justice League into production. Soon after, Snyder began to reassemble the film's original post-production team in order to finish the cut. Snyder notified the original cast of Justice League of his plans to release the Snyder Cut between April and May 2020, and according to Snyder, Cyborg actor Ray Fisher initially thought he was joking. In May 2020, following a virtual screening of Man of Steel and years of speculation, Snyder and Henry Cavill confirmed that the Snyder Cut would be released in 2021 on HBO Max, entitled Zack Snyder's Justice League.
It was initially unclear what format Zack Snyder's Justice League would take for its release, whether it would be a four-episode miniseries or one four-hour long film. The Hollywood Reporter reported that Zack Snyder's Justice League would be expected to cost $20–30 million to complete, however Robert Greenblatt indicated to finish and release the film would be "wildly expensive" and cost more than the reported maximum of $30 million. Sandra Dewey, president of productions and business operations for WarnerMedia, stated in an interview that they were aiming for an "early to mid-2021" release.
Initial reports indicated there would be no new material filmed for Zack Snyder's Justice League, as Snyder hadn't been given permission by WarnerMedia to do so. However, on September 23, 2020, it was revealed Snyder was preparing to shoot additional footage in October. Affleck, Cavill, and Fisher reprised their roles for the shoot. With the cost of the additional footage shot, the budget was estimated to have increased to around $70 million. The additional shoots began by October 6. Later that month, Heard, Leto, and Manganiello joined the cast to reprise their roles as Mera, the Joker, and Deathstroke, respectively. Leto's return as Joker was noteworthy, as the character had not been seen since 2016's Suicide Squad and was not present in the original theatrical release of Justice League. Snyder also directed an additional scene with Flash actor Ezra Miller over Zoom, while he was in London for the shoot of the third Fantastic Beasts film set to release in 2022. In January 2021, Snyder confirmed his work on the cut is now complete.
Differences from the theatrical cut
- Months before the announcement, Zack Snyder posted the image of a film canister that seemed to confirm the existence of his cut. It was listed as 214 minutes (3 hours 34 minutes long). This was later revealed to be a photograph from the set of Army of the Dead, also directed by Snyder, who used the film canister alongside prop canisters in the film.
- Since his confirmation of its runtime, Snyder has expanded the project to his unrestrained vision, leaving behind the "214 cut" in favor of a four hour version.
- In October 2020, additional photography began, shooting under the working title of "Project 166." with Affleck, Cavill, Miller, Fisher, Lennix, Heard, Manganiello, and Leto reprising their roles for the shoot
- In December 2020, Aquaman writer Will Beall was announced to co-write.
- In December 2020 also brought news that the new VFX done for the film is, according to Snyder, 75% done.
- In January 2021, Zack Snyder hired editor Dody Dorn, Dorn worked previously with Christopher Nolan and David Ayer.
- Junkie XL scored the film rather than Danny Elfman.
- On October 29, 2019, Junkie XL confirmed his original Justice League score was complete.
- Hans Zimmer's Superman theme returned.
- September 12, 2020 brought the first sound clip of Junkie XL's score to the internet via the DC FanDome convention.
- In an interview with FilmJunkee on YouTube on December 21, 2020, Zack Snyder teased yet another clip of XL's music, confirming a return to the steady beat and electric guitar usage XL tends to use, as opposed to Elfman's rhythm-changing, violin-and-choir-heavy score.
- In February 27, 2021, Junkie XL confirmed that his final score for the film would be completely different from the score that he initially completed for the 2017 release, citing different requirements for the double runtime.
- The Invasion of Earth was much longer, including more scenes from the King of Men, Atlan, Yalan Gur, and the Old Gods.
- Darkseid led the invasion and faced off against Ares instead of Steppenwolf.
- In the final battle, Darkseid made a cameo in the movie during the two visions Cyborg had, and played an important role in Steppenwolf's motivation throughout the film.
- Steppenwolf's demise was changed. Steppenwolf ends up impaled by Aquaman's trident and Wonder Woman decapitates him with the Sword of Athenaand Steppenwolf's head rolled through a boom tube to Darkseid's feet, and the united League see Darkseid through the boom tube.
- Before the release of the film, Zack Snyder stated that Cyborg would be the "heart" of the film.
- Cyborg's entire origin story was included:
- 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 to the accident that damaged Victor's body and killed his mother.
- His revival by Silas Stone using a Mother Box, as seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
- Cyborg's entire origin story was included:
- Several scenes about for Victor's storywere restored for 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.
- During the scene that involved Victor hiding the Mother Box from a Parademon, he discovered 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.
- Victor's retractable flying helmet was included in this version.
- 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 later scene shows 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.
- Victor's father, Silas Stone dies by superheating the Mother Box which serves as a hint to the team to find the other two Mother Boxes via thermal scanning. This drives Victor to use his abilities for good.
- After his father was taken by Parademons, Victor walked to the broken window and peered into the sky where the Parademons flew off to.
- 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 another appearance.
- Cyborg has flashes of this vision in his countdown before resurrecting Superman. On the count of "one" he sees a brief flash of Darkseid and the Knightmare world, due to which he tries to back out from resurrecting Superman by saying "no"; this is however misunderstood by Flash as "go" and he resurrects Superman. This vision is 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.
- Bruce Wayne's entire search for Arthur Curry was included
- The scene with Batman and the mugger at the beginning, including the facts that the parademons smell fear and are attracted to sirens are additions by Joss Whedon, which, according to Snyder, nothing by Whedon appears in the film.
- The Batsuit had a bluish tint in the theatrical version, while it retained its greyish tint in the Snyder cut.
- During the Skirmish Under Gotham Harbor, as Batman commandeers the Knightcrawler upwards, he crushes one of the Parademons dead while saving Wonder Woman.
- Batman's sense of humor was different between the two films.
- The scene involving Wonder Woman tending to Bruce Wayne's injuries and having a toast with him after the Battle at Heroes Park was added in again by Whedon, which also doesn't appear.
- Kiersey Clemons' Iris West is included in this film.
- A scene in which Barry saves Iris from a car crash was restored
- During the Battle at Heroes Park, the Skirmish under Gotham Harbor, and the Battle of Pozharnov, Barry plays a bigger role.
- Scenes involving Barry battling more Parademons in the Battle of Pozharnov and the Skirmish under Gotham Harbor are included.
- There is a moment of The Flash actively trying to kick Superman in the Battle at Heroes Park.
- There are some scenes in the Skirmish under Gotham Harbor which were cut:
- Steppenwolf throws 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 starts to crumble on the outside and leads to falling debris, which leads to a cut of the Star Labs people outside with the Flash. Flash sees the debris falling so he uses his speed to punch the debris out of the way from the people but somehow misses the last big piece in which Cyborg shoots it out of the way. This was cut.
- Flash saving Wonder Woman from falling debris after he trips was edited; instead Flash saves himself from the falling debris in the Snyder 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.
- Flash uses the Speed Force to reverse time during the climactic battle.
- Lois's visit to the Heroes Park was extended. The full sequence involved former Jimmy Olsen actor Marc McClure portraying a cop who Lois routinely brought coffee on her way to the memorial.
- The scenes between Lois and Martha Kent about Clark's death was included.
- The scene where Lois awakens in her apartment alone before Alfred attempts to call her is restored.
- In the scene where Lois awakens and opens her nightstand drawer, in it there is a pregnancy test, hinting that she is pregnant with Clark's child. This was later confirmed by Zack Snyder.
- The events surrounding Superman's rebirth were changed.
- The introductory scene of a kid talking to Superman while filming him was never added
- 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 didn't say a single line in this entire sequence.
- He used a black suit in the movie, as shown in a scene revealed by Zack Snyder on a YouTube livestream on the Justice Con channel.
- In the theatrical version, Lois Lane convinces Superman to go and fight alongside the Justice League, whereas in the Snyder cut, Superman convinces Lois and Martha Kent that "he had been brought back by them (Justice League) for a reason and wanted to find out why." This directly culminates to the rebirth scene.
- The fight between Steppenwolf, Aquaman, and Mera was cut down severely in the theatrical release.
- Mera and Aquaman's dialogue was changed partially.
- Nuidis Vulko makes an appearance shortly afterward, but Arthur instead leaves to the surface.
- At the end of the film, Mera and Vulko meets up with Aquaman to request him to journey with Atlantis.
- 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.
- The 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 included.
- The Russian family aren't in this version.
- Many scenes in the first act of the film that were completely re-ordered and/or cut down in the theatrical version are restored.
- The scene before Superman's resurrection involved Silas and the other S.T.A.R. Labs 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 included.
- Ryan Choi, who was entirely cut from the theatrical version, appears in this film.
- Joker is in this version.
- A moment in the Attack on the Penetralium in which an Amazon infected with the energy from Steppenwolf's Electro Axe killed herself before turning into a parademon was cut.
- Another moment during the Attack on the Penetralium shows Connie Nielson as Hippolyta running up several walls.
- Jonathan Kent made an appearance.
- There are two new Knightmare sequences. One is a vision given to Cyborg by the scout ship's interaction with the Mother Box, the other is within Bruce's dream.
- The Hall of Justice, Aquaman and Wonder Woman's weapons, Joker's playing card, and a dead Kilowog are shown during Cyborg's Knightmare vision.
- There is no footage shot by Whedon.
The full score, Zack Snyder's Justice League (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), was officially revealed on March 5th, 2021.
|"Vísur Vatnsenda-Rósu"||Salóme Gunnarsdóttir and others||
|"Distant Sky"||Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds|
|"There Is a Kingdom"||Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds||
|"Song to the Siren" (Tim Buckley cover)||Rose Betts|
|"Hallelujah"||Allison Crowe (Leonard Cohen cover)||
- "I appreciate that they love Zack’s work and we are very thankful for his many contributions to DC. We’re just so happy that he could bring his cut of the “Justice League” to life because that wasn’t in the plan until about a year ago. With that 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."
- ―WarnerMedia CEO Ann Sarnoff on the future of the "Snyderverse"[src]
Following the release of Zack Snyder's Justice League, many fans began petitioning for a sequel and more films in the DC Extended Universe that would be more in-line with the original plans for the universe headed by Zack Snyder, using the hashtag #RestoreTheSnyderVerse on social media. Despite the film's very positive fan reception and generally positive critical reception as well as its overall commercial success, there has been no official word on any further "Snyderverse" films going forward, though Zack Snyder remains hopeful.
On March 22, 2021, WarnerMedia CEO Ann Sarnoff said in an interview with Variety that while she appreciated Snyder's work and his contributions to DC, Zack Snyder's Justice League was the "completion of his trilogy" and emphasized DC's multiverse strategy. On August 8, 2021, producer Charles Roven told The Hollywood Reporter he expected he and his company Atlas Entertainment to produce a Justice League sequel, though he said it was probably "a number of years away."
Behind the scenes
- Zack Snyder on Vero - "Justice is Gray"
- Zack Snyder Confirms A Snyder Cut Of Justice League Exists - Screen Rant
- Zack Snyder Shares Photo of Justice League Director’s Cut - Screen Crush
- The Snyder Cut Will Be a “Radical Rethinking” of ‘Justice League’, Costing Considerably More Than $30 Million to Finish - SlashFilm
- Ep 145: Deborah Snyder - LightCast Podcast
- Cite error: Invalid
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- WarnerMedia’s Ann Sarnoff on ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ and DC’s Future - Variety
- "HBO Max to #ReleaseTheSnyderCut" - WarnerMedia Pressroom
- HBO Max’s Sandra Dewey Talks Racism, Inclusion at Cannes Keynote - Variety
- Justice League: Zack Snyder Used Zoom To Remotely Film New Ezra Miller Scene - The Direct
- Zack Snyder's Justice League Is Officially Complete - Comicbook
- "Zack Snyder Seemingly Confirms 'Snyder Cut' Exists" - IGN
- Justice League's VFX Are 75% Done, Zack Snyder Says - CBR
- EXCLUSIVE: Justice League Snyder Cut Score Is Done Confirms Junkie XL - Screen Rant
- Hans Zimmer's Superman theme in Zack Snyder's Justice League.
- TheSnyderCut on Twitter
- Zack Snyder Teases Junkie XL's Justice League Score
- "Junkie XL on Starting the Justice League Score Over and Releasing of the Full 4 Hours" - YouTube
- "After being cut from ‘Justice League’, Kiersey Clemons confirms she’s still Iris West in ‘The Flash’" - Batman-News.com
- Spotlight on Zack Snyder Panel
- "Check Out Willem Dafoe’s Deleted Justice League Scenes In New Snyder Cut Images" - CinemaBlend
- "***UPDATE*** Never-Before-Seen Footage Of Aquaman In ‘Justice League’ Discovered" - Reel Anarchy
- "Justice League Snyder Cut Images Reveal How Aquaman Got His Costume" - Screen Rant
- "Here’s why ‘Justice League’ had a random Russian family" - Batman-News.com
- "Justice League 2: Producer Says a Sequel Is a “Number of Years Away”" - Comic Book
- Official website
- Zack Snyder's Justice League on DC Database
- Zack Snyder's Justice League on Wikipedia
- at the
|Films in the DC Extended Universe|
|Released||Man of Steel • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice • Suicide Squad • Wonder Woman • Justice League • Aquaman • Shazam! • Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) • Wonder Woman 1984 • Zack Snyder's Justice League • The Suicide Squad|
|Upcoming||Black Adam • Shazam! Fury of the Gods • Batgirl • Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom • The Flash • Blue Beetle|
|In development||The Amazons • Black Canary • Supergirl • Wonder Woman 3 • Zatanna|