Snyder had a 5 movie story arc planned out for the Justice League with Henry Cavill’s Superman at the heart of it
Zack Snyder’s Justice League finally has its official posters out. The director aptly titled them each, Fallen. Risen. Reborn. The three words precisely sum up the fans, director and Justice League’s journey. As historic as the release of once-fabled Snyder Cut is its inception is as intriguing. Snyder’s original Justice League plans are an imperative part of the whole phenomenon in order to understand his army’s frustration and what was at stake. The director inherited the DC world from filmmaker Christopher Nolan who had just finished his Dark Knight trilogy on a high note. The ‘dark’ treatment of Christian Bale’s Batman was a hit among fans and in 2010 Zack Snyder was hired to reboot Superman.
Superman at the Heart of Snyder’s Justice League
Snyder was at the helm of a larger universe called DC Extended Universe or DCEU. He kick-started the universe with 2013 Man of Steel with Henry Cavill in the lead role. It’s to be noted that by the time rival studio Marvel had established its first two phases building on small comic book characters like Captain America, Iron-Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye. Inevitably, turning them into earth’s mightiest heroes on-screen in 2012 Avengers movie.
WB was desperate to catch up. Snyder had envisioned a 5 movie story arc in DCEU starting with MoS, followed by Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League, Man of Steel 2, and a two-part Justice League (JL 2 and 3) respectively. In the director’s world, Cavill’s Superman was at the heart of the entire narrative. How Superman starts with being a reluctant hero graduating to the symbol of the hope we know him to be over 5 different movies. Back in March 2020, Snyder confirmed the initial 5 movie story arc for Justice League.
Another popular account says Snyder’s original plan was to have a Man of Steel 2, a solo Batman movie perhaps, the one Ben Affleck was set to act and direct, and then Justice League. Furthermore solo movies would have followed for The Flash, Aquaman and Wonder Woman.
What Went Wrong Between Snyder and WB?
There are various accounts as to what went wrong with the Justice League but all have a similar nerve. In 2017 early during the JL post production stage Snyder stepped down from the directorial duties following his daughter Autumn’s death. At the time it was understood Snyder held his family closer than work but soon whispers began that WB wanted Snyder to leave long before the tragedy struck.
Apparently, the studio was not happy with ‘dark and gritty’ tone of the Justice League. Also, the director was forced to cut down his run time to half of his four-hour long assembly cut! The theatrical cut that Snyder produced ran 2 hours 14 minutes. 214 – Number that gained its significance during the Snyder Cut movement and thus fans expect Justice League trailer 2 to drop on February 14 this year [2.14.21].
But things went downhill anyway! When the tragedy struck, Snyder stepped down for good. He later told Sean O’Connell, author of Release The Snyder Cut book, ‘I didn’t had the energy to fight.’ WB went ahead with replacement director Joss Whedon.
Mistakes Joss Whedon Made
After garnering mixed reactions and fading box office collection of both MoS and BvS, WB decided it wanted a lighter, funnier universe. Wherein Snyder has built a reputation on his grey, gritty aesthetics and that was his vision of DCEU. For example, WB was wary of showcasing Superman’s black suit but when Snyder finally revealed it last year; the internet went into a complete meltdown.
Whedon directed Marvel’s Avengers 2012 that had grosses $1.5 billion on the worldwide box-office. The studio assigned him the task to reshoot and retool the Justice League to make it more Avenger-esque. A serious mistake that they learned the hard way!
WB executives and Whedon butchered the Justice League. He excluded the original villain Darkseid and replaced him with Steppenwolf. He gave Ben Affleck’s Batman jokes to crack. Aquaman [Jason Momoa] was reduced to a punk, Barry Allen/The Flash [Ezra Miller] to comedic relief. Like Darkseid, much of Cyborg [Ray Fisher] and Superman’s [Cavill] story arc was cut out or reshot.
Furthermore, when the movie released it gave rise to the unbearable phenomenon ‘mustachegate’. Cavill who was in middle of shooting Mission Impossible: Fallout did the reshoots with a mustache which was digitally removed in post-production. Let’s just say Whedon was successful in distraughting Henry Cavill’s perfect face! Which means the movie CGI was definitely BAD!
And the list of complaints is endless but the only good thing that came out of the bad movie was The Snyder Cut movement! The movie was so bad that it made fans fight and win back Zack Snyder’s artistic rights. While we may or may not see his entire DCEU vision Zack Snyder’s Justice League cut is definitely coming to HBO Max on March 21, 2021!
Nonetheless, either of the vision might not ever come true but Snyder fans have shown us all, ‘never say never!’ Many fans and industry insiders have reasons to believe that if the director’s cut is a success WB might go on to expand the Snyder-verse!