Helping to paint a better picture of what his fabled director’s cut of HBO Max sometime in 2021.will look like, Zack Snyder has dropped another detail: There’ll be a new color grade for the final climatic battle between Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and the gang versus Steppenwolf and whoever else makes it to The Snyder Cut, on
Comparing early trailers with the final theatrical cut (via Slash Film), fans noticed a garish orange sky had been added to the big standoff. A fan asked Snyder on his social media platform of choice, Vero — “Will you change the color grading red sky we saw in Justice League?”
Snyder replied simply, “Yes.”
To keep with Snyder’s trademark color tones, we could see colder, steelier hues across The Snyder Cut. For more on the many layers of the Snyder Cut, including a seemingly definitive answer on whether there’ll be reshoots, continue reading.
What’s The Snyder Cut?
In a nutshell, The Snyder Cut is a version of 2017’s Justice League cut together by director Zack Snyder. His take on the superhero ensemble blockbuster never made it to theaters, after he was forced to step down in the final stages of the project.
After principal photography finished sometime at the end of 2016, Warner Bros. executives reportedly saw a rough cut of Snyder’s footage and, dissatisfied, wanted changes. But in 2017, Snyder stepped down during the editing process to deal the death of his daughter.
Joss Whedon stepped in to handle editorial and reshoots, but didn’t receive a director’s credit, suggesting the finished product contained most of Snyder’s original footage.
However, several plotlines were abandoned and the runtime hacked down from three and a half hours to 120 minutes. Snyder estimated the movie we saw in theaters contained “one fourth” of his contribution.
While we’ll probably never know the hard facts of what happened behind-the-scenes on the movie, which was torn to shreds by critics and disappointed at the box office, at least we’ll finally get to see how big the disparity between the two versions really is.
What’s going to be different?
A ‘radical rethinking’ and $30 million-plus
Snyder’s original crew has been gathered to cut the footage, with a different score, finished visual effects and additional dialogue from actors to fill in the gaps. All of this could cost up to $30 million, The Hollywood Reporter reported.
However, head of HBO Max and WarnerMedia Bob Greenblatt suggested the movie will cost much more than that to complete. In an interview, he explained The Snyder Cut “does not exist”, because Snyder is still building the “wildly expensive” movie, a “radical rethinking” of the 2017 version.
Here are his full comments:
“It’s been months of discussions with Zack and the producers to figure out how to do it,” Greenblatt said on the Recode Media podcast. “Because it isn’t as easy as just going into the vault and there’s a Snyder Cut sitting there to put out… it does not exist. Zack is actually building it and it’s complex. Including — and I don’t want to get into too much detail that we haven’t already talked about yet — but new effects shots. It’s a radical rethinking of that movie and it’s complicated and wildly expensive, of course a number I won’t quote… I’ll just say I wish it was just $30 million… It’s an enormous undertaking and very complex.”
Snyder has since dropped an actual image (albeit blurry) of Darkseid, a tyrant who rules the hell-planet Apokolips. “He’s coming… to HBO Max,” Snyder tweeted.
It’s long been rumored Ray Porter had completed voice work for the character, until the villain was abandoned, along with a few other characters, in Joss Whedon’s theatrical cut. We’ll have to wait a year to see how his inclusion, alongside Ciaran Hinds’ villain Steppenwolf, will affect the overall structure of the movie.
Porter confirmed his involvement with the movie on Twitter: “I played Darkseid in Zack Snyder’s ‘Justice League’. There. It’s out now.”
That’s a lot of characters. To ensure Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg have ample character-building screen time, a mini-series, or six “chapters” could be in the cards, according to the Reporter. (The other rumored option is a four-hour director’s cut, but let’s not encourage that.)
A different end-credits scene
In the end-credits of the theatrical cut, sword-wielding assassin Deathstroke joins Lex Luthor to create their own Justice League. Deathstroke actor Joe Manganiello suggested we would see a different scene, linked to Deathstroke’s involvement in Ben Affleck’s now-canned Batman film.
But no reshoots
Given the different scenes and characters, it all sounds like there’ll be reshoots with the cast (post-lockdown). However, that possibility seems to have been confidently squashed out.
“There’s not going to be any reshoots of any kind with any actors,” film reporter Umberto Gonzalez said on a podcast for The Wrap in May. Gonzalez is the founder of Heroic Hollywood and was one of the first to hear rumors about The Snyder Cut’s release.
“It’s just additional dialogue. Here’s something that hasn’t been reported yet: [Snyder] did want to shoot and he wanted to do additional photography, but HBO Max said no, that’s not happening. We’ll give you money for post-production, for special effects, for scoring, and even ADR, but no reshoots of any kind on this movie.”
Why is it such a big deal?
Members of the cast, from Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Henry Cavill (Superman) to Jason Momoa (Aquaman), have all rallied behind The Snyder Cut, alongside a long-running fan campaign on social media urging Warner Bros. to release it. After trending on and off for a year, #ReleaseTheSnyderCut surged on Twitter in the lead up to the two-year anniversary of Justice League’s release.
Now, in response to this massive outpour of support, WarnerMedia Entertainment (which owns HBO Max) chairman Robert Greenblatt released the statement:
“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.”
Snyder also dropped the big news to fans watching his Man of Steel quarantine watch party.
“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.”
When and where will it come out?
The Zack Snyder cut of Justice League will be released on HBO Max sometime in 2021. The streaming service, which hosts loads of exclusive content from WarnerMedia and DC Comics, launched May 27. Here’s how to .
Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill respond
A bunch of the cast jumped on Instagram to congratulate Snyder following the news.
“I’m very excited Zack’s getting the chance to finally see his vision realized,” Affleck said on the Kevin Smith Podcast.
Henry Cavill wrote, “Big congratulations to you, Mr Snyder!”
Jason Momoa, aka prideofgypsies, wrote: “WE WANT finally it’s happening. your welcome. justice served. all my aloha to everyone who made this happen. all the fans. we love you. ALOHA J.”
And Ray Fisher, aka Cyborg, wrote: “For those who fought. For those who believed. Thank you.”
Finally, HBO Max released new posters of the gang.
Originally published May 20.
Updates, May 24: Adds Ben Affleck’s response; May 26: Adds head of HBO Max’s comments, Ray Porter tweet; May 27: Adds Darkseid image; June 8: Adds color grading and no reshoots details.