The History Of How Zack Snyder’s Justice League Came To Be

How an alternate cut of a movie went from myth to reality thanks to incredible dedication.

Film production is a very long and arduous process, and in the creative team’s efforts to complete the project in time for the advertised release, it’s very common for parts of what was filmed to be exorcised from the finished project. Sometimes this is because the film needs to be kept to a certain length of time, sometimes it’s because certain scenes didn’t flow very well with the overall story, and sometimes it’s for something else entirely, but whatever the reason, most films that people watch will not be comprised of everything that was filmed.

The extra content will sometimes be bundled with the home video release as bonus or deleted scenes, and every now and then, the film will be re-released with the deleted content fully restored, making that version the director’s cut of the original film. There have been many famous examples of this over the years with films such as Blade Runner, Superman II, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but no recent example has probably received as much attention as Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

The Secret Origin of the Snyder Cut

How Joss Whedon Was Put In Charge of Justice League
Credit to

Zack Snyder had been signed on by Warner Bros. to handle the latest iteration of films adapting the characters and stories of DC Comics, and in 2017, the next film in development under his vision was to be Justice League. However, due to the tragic suicide of his daughter, Snyder, unable to concentrate on his work, left the project and gave control over to Joss Whedon, who was originally only brought in to help with the script and reshoots.

With Snyder no longer involved in the project, Warner Bros. had Whedon heavily rewrite and reshoot the entire film to the point that the Justice League that was put out only had a fraction of a similarity to the Justice League Snyder made. That alone would be off-putting to both fans of Snyder’s work and moviegoers, in general, and the actual product didn’t help much, either. Justice League was panned by fans and critics alike for its bad visual effects, mishandling its story and characters, not following up on plot points of the previous films, and various other shortcomings. 

The Aftermath of Warner Bros. Failure

The film ended up as a box-office bomb that couldn’t break even, and with it, Warner Bros. unceremoniously wiped its hands of everything Snyder had tried to do since Man of Steel, something that frustrated both supporters and detractors of Snyder’s work. As disappointment with Justice League festered and details of both production troubles and cut content started to surface, people started to demand that Warner Bros. release Snyder’s original version of Justice League in what quickly spiraled into a viral fan campaign dubbed #ReleaseTheSnyderCut.

The campaign was met with a mixture of praise, derision, and outright mockery by people, with all reactions coming with the acknowledgment or insistence that nothing would ever happen. Imagine everyone’s surprise, then, when it was announced that the original cut of Justice League, appropriately titled Zack Snyder’s Justice League, would be coming to HBO Max in 2021.

The Ins and Outs of the Snyder Cut

It needs to be stressed that Zack Snyder’s Justice League isn’t simply the original Justice League, but with updated effects and deleted scenes put back in. As previously stated, when Whedon was given full control of the project, everything that Snyder had done was rewritten and reshot to the point that only thirty minutes of what Snyder had filmed remained, essentially making it an entirely new film; with Snyder’s original footage restored, an extra three-and-a-half-hour of original content is being added to the original thirty minutes to create a four-hour film—twice as long as the original Justice League—to create a completely new version of the film.

Said new version includes the continuation of the “Knightmare” sequence from Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, more exposure of the New Gods that would include an appearance from Darkseid, the first cinematic appearances of Iris West and the Martian Manhunter, less quippy dialogue that was mostly a product of Whedon’s contributions, and completely different handling of Superman’s revival. Add in visuals more in line with Snyder’s previous films and Junkie XL being brought back to score instead of Danny Elfman, and anyone who watches the new film is assured to get a completely different experience out of it compared to the original.

The Unknown Future Of Zack Snyder’s Justice League

The journey of Zack Snyder’s Justice League coming into existence is one that consists of tragedy, compromise, underwhelming payoffs, and determination that often bordered on fanaticism, but at the end of the day, it did all come to fruition, for better or worse. What we have on our hands is a version of Justice League that, aside from a small number of scenes, will be an entirely new product completely divorced from the original. Even if you’re not a huge fan of Snyder’s past works, seeing the fruit born from the long and storied history of the project just might be worth the effort of taking out a free trial of HBO Max.

A freelance writer with a love of pop culture, Japanese culture, and anything with a weird aesthetic to it.

No Saves yet. Share it with your friends.

Write Your Diary

Get Free Access To Our Publishing Resources

Independent creators, thought-leaders, experts and individuals with unique perspectives use our free publishing tools to express themselves and create new ideas.

Start Writing