WB Never expected their business will be meddled in by the fans but the studio learned an important lesson from The Snyder Cut Movement
There are amazing filmmakers around the world but none like Zack Snyder. Not for his impeccable body of work or for the movies he makes but for the plain fact that he’s got an army of fans behind him who truly believes in him. The belief of his fans in what was once dubbed a ‘mythical Snyder Cut’ is coming to life after all. Hollywood had never seen a phenomenon like #ReleaseSnyderCut nor will it again. Since 2017, fans are fighting for the artistic rights of the director and finally their victory comes in the form of ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League.’
The mightiest battle between fans and big wig studio Warner Brothers started right after the release of 2017’s Justice League theatrical cut. Mid post-production Snyder stepped down from his ambitious Justice League due to a family tragedy. It later came to light that the Studio wanted him to leave even before that due to creative differences. WB brought in Avengers’ fame director Joss Whedon to make JL lighter! Together Whedon and studio executives brought out Frankenstein’s monster version of a movie that failed fans miserably and the history followed. But before we drown ourselves into the director’s created fantasies let’s first look at the man himself – Zack Snyder.
Why is Zack Snyder Famous?
There’s no easy answer to this question. Yes he is famous for standing by his vision for the Justice League. He is also famous to fight consistently for his artistic integrity along with fans. But he is most famous for ‘making films for fans not critics.’ Snyder has admitted to the fact many times and in retrospect he was right! It is only thanks to his loyal fans aka ‘Snyder’s Army’ that the world gets to see the fabled Snyder Cut.
Nonetheless, at the core of it Zack Snyder is famous for his movie making aesthetics. He is no stranger to comic book adaptations to movies. With his revolutionary stylistic take on Frank Miller’s 300 and Alan Moore’s Watchmen he has built a reputation of making ‘unusual movies’ while showcasing explicit violence and moral conundrums. This movie making sensibility is also the reason for polarized review of his work. One section of devoted fans believe in him while the other can understand the hype around his work.
Snyder’s Journey Into Superhero Genre
Back in 2004, Snyder made his first feature film which was a remake of George Romero’s 1978 film Dawn of the Dead. He followed it up with a hard hitting, stomach churning adaptation of Frank Miller’s Graphic novel 300, a 2006 fantasy war film that left its mark on the genre. Who can forget the adrenaline rush when King Leonidus (Gerard Butler) famously screams ‘This is Sparta,’ and kicks the Persian messenger (Peter Mensah) into the deep well!
Watch: 300 (2006) – This Is Sparta!
Warner Bros then hired him to make 2009 film Watchmen based on very popular limited comic series of the same name by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Snyder’s ultra-violent, sexually explicit superhero film grossed $185 million worldwide. Which he followed up with his 2010 animation debut with Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.
Snyder produced, co-wrote, and directed Sucker Punch in 2011. The story of a young woman in a mental hospital who fantasizes of escape with her fellow inmates was appreciated by some, and missed the mark for others. But by now he had built a strong reputation with his aesthetics, tone and realism.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Snyder’s thought process was appreciated by Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan who had revolutionized the comic book genre with his realistic take on Batman. Nolan hired Snyder to work on a Superman reboot in 2010. WB was looking for a director to capitalize on Nolan’s work and Snyder was given the helm of entire DCEU.
His original plans consisted of a 5 movie arch for Justice League. Snyder chose Henry Cavill as his Superman, Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Ray Fisher became his Cyborg.
Snyder had Superman at the heart of his over arching story line and kickstarted DCEU with 2013 Man of Steel. Affleck and Gadot were introduced in 2016’s subsequent movie titled, Batman Vs Superman: The Dawn of Justice. And come 2017 he was working on the Justice League. But meanwhile, things changed.
While, WB started with the idea to build on a similar tone set in Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy, the studio now wanted a ‘lighter,’ ‘funnier’ tone much like its competition Marvel Studios’ Avengers. Which created the aesthetic divide between the studio and the director. Soon, Snyder stepped down due to family tragedy and WB brought in Joss Whedon to retool it.
Though WB sold the movie saying its Snyder’s vision’ the truth was out when movie hit the theatres in November 2017. And what followed was fan outrage to see ‘The Snyder Cut.’ While they still had no idea that it might exist there were enough proofs that pointed at the possibility.
The Snyder Cut Movement
Thus, the Snyder Cut movement was born and soon took its own wings making Zack Snyder famous more than ever! What started as a trend on social media soon became an auspicious event of fans uniting, struggling and creating awareness for the director’s artistic rights. In about three years of crowdfunding, Snyder’s fans have raised more than $500,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in memory of his daughter Autumn.
Over the years Snyder kept fans faith alive by providing unseen footage and clues to the existence of his fabled cut. Furthermore, on the second anniversary of the release of Justice League theatrical cut the movement got recognition from cast members such as Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck. That brought WB’s serious consideration for the Snyder Cut on their then-upcoming streaming platform HBO Max. An announcement was made during Snyder’s Man of Steel quarantine watch party along with Henry Cavill and Deborah Snyder.
Rest as they say is history!