Release the Snyder Cut. It’s the one phrase that Warner Bros. must be sick of hearing by now. Whenever the studio announces anything on social media, its accounts are inundated with messages like “Great. Now #ReleaseTheSnyderCut.”
Of course, this has resulted in the Snyder Cut movement being negatively portrayed as thread-hijacking zealots by many outlets. The truth is, it’s mostly a bunch of passionate fans who’d like to see director Zack Snyder’s original vision for Justice League and hope Warner Bros. will hear their pleas. Sadly, there are a few rotten apples in there as well, but that’s prevalent in just about everywhere, so it’s unfair to tar everyone with the same brush.
From petitions to websites to even charitable causes, the Snyder Cut movement continues to draw attention a year and a half after the release of the DCEU film. The director himself has stirred the excitement by constantly releasing unused artwork and images from his cut on the social network Vero.
Even so, there are still many people who doubt the actual existence of a finished and watchable Snyder Cut. Jay Oliva, who’s directed several DC animated projects and worked with Snyder, however, confirmed it does exist. Responding to a user on Twitter, Oliva said, “Principal photography wrapped in December 2016 (I was there for the last shot so I know this).” He added, “Zack then spent the next few months editing. Now most people think that VFX start then but that’s not true. VFX can start as early as preproduction (the storyboard stage) if a scene doesn’t require the actors (like digital doubles) VFX can already start way before shooting.”
So, with an actual Snyder Cut available, why isn’t Warner Bros. releasing it, especially since the studio released Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut in 2006?
There are two reasons.
First, Donner’s version of the film was only released 26 years later. At the time of Superman II‘s release, Donner had a lot of goodwill with Warner Bros. because of the success of 1978’s Superman. Yes, he was replaced by Richard Lester because of tensions between him and the producer, but everyone knew the success of the Man of Steel was down to Donner’s direction and vision.
On the contrary, Snyder was walking a tightrope with the studio after the polarising reception and box office underperformances of Man of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Already during the filming of Justice League, Warner Bros. interfered and forced the director to change his original idea for the film and DCEU. The studio lost faith in him long before Joss Whedon took over the project.
Two, Warner Bros. wants to move as far away from Snyder’s DCEU as possible. While Aquaman was a mammoth box office success, it’s evident the tone has shifted. In addition, Shazam!—while it didn’t make as much money as the studio might’ve wanted—it was a critical hit and made just about enough to merit a sequel. With a new Batman in the form of Robert Pattinson, as well as the radio silence on Henry Cavill and Ezra Miller’s respective futures as Superman and Flash, it’s evident that Warner Bros. wants to move forward and quietly forget the past few years.
Unfortunately, this means that the Snyder Cut is unlikely to be a priority for the foreseeable future. Think about it: What does Warner Bros. gain in releasing it? If it’s a hit, fans will bemoan how the studio messed up the movie. If it’s not, fans will ask why it was released in the first place. It’s a no-win situation for Warner Bros.
Now, this doesn’t mean that the Snyder Cut will be locked up in a vault never to see the light of day. Knowing how the entertainment industry works, it’ll probably find a release at some point down the line. Just don’t bet on it being any day soon, though we’d love to be proven wrong about this.