After years of rumors, and a swirl of newly-ignited speculation this week thanks to a few teases from Zack Snyder, it’s finally happening: The Snyder Cut of Justice League is being unveiled to the world.
HBO Max, Time Warner’s proprietary streaming service, is launching on May 27 and it announced the news from its official Twitter account:
— HBO Max (@hbomax) May 20, 2020
For those reading that and thinking, “Wasn’t…there already a Justice League movie…?” you’d be correct. Indeed, it hit theaters in 2017. The issue is that well into filming the movie, longtime DCEU director Zack Snyder parted ways with the project to spend time with his family after the untimely and tragic death of his daughter. Director Joss Whedon, one of the main architects of Marvel’s Phases 1 and 2, was brought on to do major reshoots and finish the film. The resulting movie was a conflicting mash of ideas and visions, and while it made a respectable amount of money, it was largely panned by critics and underwhelmed fans.
But, the internet being what it is, staunch fans of Zack Snyder felt he had been unfairly railroaded off the project and that sticking to his vision would have made for a better and stronger movie. That small but vocal group of fans rallied around the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut hashtag, creating petitions, spamming the hashtag, and even paying for billboards. To this point, they’d had no success in achieving their goal of Warner Bros. re-releasing Snyder’s vision of the movie, but a new streaming service to launch and a global pandemic have a way of changing things. And so it’s happening – but…not quite yet.
Snyder fans who have long argued that a finished version of the movie existed were, as it turns out, wrong. The Snyder Cut of Justice League is far from finished, with Snyder himself admitting to THR that it will take another $20-30 million worth of work to cobble together the pieces, including extensive retooling of the already-shot footage, reshooting dialogue with the actors, and new visual effects. It’s also unclear whether it will be released as a movie or a series. For a studio to spend the price of a small-budget movie simply to re-release a film that was already poorly received is, well, extremely risky, at best. But Warner Bros. seems to think that it’s worth the risk and enough interest is there to justify the excessive spend.
It’s also a clear play to lure fans to signing up for their HBO Max service. It’s one of the priciest basic streaming plans at $15/month, a number that might scare some people away, especially in the middle of a recession. But adding a long-rumored and much-hyped recut of Justice League might be the thing to get people to spend that $15, if only out of a sense of morbid curiosity.
There are no details yet as to when it will happen – after all, there’s still a serious amount of work to be done – but it will be dropping sometime next year. We’ll keep you updated as it further develops.