Zack Snyder’s Justice League is slowly teasing out more secrets. Martian Manhunter could be joining the Seven. It’s reaching an interesting date shortly, too. The third anniversary of the 2017 Joss Whedon-directed theatrical release is just days away and, you never know, Snyder could mark it with a trailer drop or big release date reveal of his own.
Until then, we’ve got the full story behind how we arrived at the ‘Snyder Cut’ turning from urban legend into the real deal – and what that means for the HBO Max release. There are new characters and scenes aplenty, a Joker-filled return, and so much more to discover now that the bell has been unrung.
It’s all here in our complete guide to Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
Justice League Snyder Cut release date is "early-to-mid" 2021
Despite FanDome revealing pretty much everything else – as you’ll soon see below – there’s still no Snyder Cut release date to circle in our calendars.
For now, we’ve got a release window and that’s that. Officially, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is out in 2021. But, speaking to Variety, HBO Max’s Sandra Dewey narrowed down the release date to “early to mid 2021" on HBO Max.
But what about those who don’t have HBO Max? At FanDome, Snyder confirmed that they’re working on distribution methods for regions that don’t yet have access to the HBO streaming service. Hopefully, an on-demand or theatrical release will be announced shorly.
Justice League Snyder Cut cast
With Jared Leto's recent casting as Joker, the sky's the limit when it comes to new characters in the Snyder Cut. And in case you accidentally glossed over what you just read, let me repeat: Jared Leto is returning as Joker in Zack Snyder's Justice League. I'll let you process that for a minute.
We recently learned that several actors including Henry Cavill (Superman), Ben Affleck (Batman), and Ray Fisher (Cyborg) are returning to shoot additional scenes for the Snyder Cut. Amber Heard is also back as Mera. But now we know new actors and characters from other series are being added to the cast. That carries massive implications about how different Snyder's vision really is from the original 2017 Justice League. That includes Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke.
Among the other actors who have shown up so far in trailers and other material include Jeremy Irons (Alfred), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), and Ciaran Hinds (Steppenwolf). It’s also expected that J.K. Simmons’ Commissioner Gordon will also be included, while Robin Wright’s Antiope – also showed up in the recent trailer.
But it’s not called Zack Snyder’s Justice League for no good reason. There are new additions coming to the cast thanks to the director going in a different direction with some of the characters and scenes at play.
Ray Porter is set to appear as Darkseid, while Kiersey Clemons is seemingly back as Iris West. Snyder even teased an appearance from Martian Manhunter.
Intriguingly, a villain named DeSaad has been spotted in the trailer but it’s not yet known who voices Darkseid’s right-hand man. For more on the villain, here's a handy guide to DeSaad.
The first Justice League Snyder Cut trailer debuts at DC FanDome
It’s finally here! Set to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," (best known to Snyder fans as the awkward sex song from Watchmen) the first trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League doesn’t disappoint.
Apocalypse is the name of the game to begin the trailer. Or should that be Apokolips? That’s because the home world of Darkseid takes centre stage at the beginning, followed by another nightmarish vision of the Earth falling and the Hall of Justice lying in ruins.
Then, we get glimpses of the Justice League themselves, including a deleted scene from Cyborg’s playing days as a member of the Gotham City Wildcats.
Perhaps the biggest talking point, though, is Black Suit Superman. Previously glimpsed at JusticeCon, the Man of Steel’s darker get-up will be present post-resurrection instead of his iconic red and blue.
Then, a series of shots – some from Justice League itself and some on the cutting room floor – of the group fighting Steppenwolf’s forces. It’ll be fascinating to see how much of Snyder’s vision made its way into the 2017 theatrical release, but this certainly is going to be 100% his vision.
Snyder Cut runtime: four hours, baby
We don’t know exactly how long the Justice League Snyder Cut runtime is going to be down to the very minute, but we have a very good ballpark figure courtesy of Zack Snyder.
Four hours, spread over four one-hour episodes, is how we’ll see the Snyder Cut next year. For those who want to watch it in one go, Snyder said at FanDome, “We’ll find a way of bundling it all together at the end”
Snyder is pretty well-known for his director's cuts often reaching lengthy runtimes. His ultimate Batman v Superman cut lasted 183 minutes, while the Watchmen director's cut was 214 minutes. Justice League tops all that, amounting to roughly 240 minutes, despite plans for the original supposedly being around two hours according to Snyder. Double the Justice League, double the fun? We'll find out in 2021...
Justice League Snyder Cut story differences: deleted scenes and more changes from Joss Whedon's version
Over the years, there have been several allusions to the Justice League Snyder Cut being radically different to the ones we ended up with. Here are just some of the highlights.
We're getting Black Suit Superman and even a different opening featuring the Man of Steel.
Snyder said the third frame of the Snyder Cut trailer (which you can see above) is actually the opening for the movie and is a look at Superman's death in Batman v. Superman from another angle.
According to Kevin Smith (via ComicBookMovie.com), a VFX artist who worked on Justice League said that Martian Manhunter and more than one Green Lantern was supposed to appear, as well as Darkseid.
Around the time of Justice League’s release, several deleted scenes surfaced on the web. They included Barry saving Iris West and several cut Cyborg scenes, indicating he had a much larger part to play in Snyder’s vision, all of which have seemingly been confirmed since. Iris West will appear in the Snyder Cut, while new Cyborg scenes have been shown.
Expect far more of Ray Fisher's Cyborg, too. He said only one Snyder-shot scene featuring his character made it into the 2017 theatrical release. There's even a chance we could find out more about Robin's fate in the DCEU after Snyder 'liked' a theory explaining the Boy Wonder's demise.
Perhaps the most famous example of a Justice League deleted scene is where Superman meets Alfred. The line from Irons’ character “He said you’d come” had many believing Green Lantern would appear in the movie, though the scene – readily available online – shows it was the Man of Steel who turns up.
Generally, though, it's going to be a big departure from Joss Whedon's theatrical release. Snyder has even said he won't be using a certain line from the 2017 version because it "literally makes no sense." And with news of new characters cropping up from scrapped scenes and Leto as a new actor altogether shooting scenes, there will surely be challenges and dangers for the Justice League that they didn't face in Joss Whedon's movie.
What is the Snyder Cut? A brief timeline
Unless you’ve been following the fan petitions, the flyovers, and the many, many hashtags, you might not have a firm grasp on what exactly the Snyder Cut is and why people care so much. In essence, it existed as a Schrodinger’s Cut – it both exists and doesn’t exist depending on who you talk to.
It’s unclear how much in the way of production Zack Snyder completed before departing Justice League after a personal tragedy back in 2017. What is certain is that he left, and was replaced as director by Joss Whedon.
While Justice League ended up being more of a slapped-together version of Zack Snyder’s work and Whedon’s pickups and reshoots, word started to spread that a mythical “Snyder Cut” – a radically different version of Justice League – was at the very least planned, if not filmed in some way and left on the cutting room floor by Warner Bros’ executives.
Whatever the reality of the situation, the swell of feeling towards Zack Snyder’s version eventually led to a Snyder Cut movement – one bolstered by a petition that gained 180,000 signatures. From there, those clamouring for the Snyder Cut grew in number, even organising a flypast at SDCC 2019 and getting #ReleaseTheSnyderCut to trend on Twitter worldwide on several occasions.
Then, more teases started to ramp up speculation. Most notably, Snyder’s none-too-cryptic post on social media site Vero (via EW), not only seemingly showing a physical film canister containing the cut, but also a 214-minute runtime.
Which led us to May 20, 2020. During a Man of Steel Watch Party, Snyder revealed that – after literal years of speculation, whispers, and rumours, the Snyder Cut is real and will be coming to HBO Max at some point in 2021.
What else can we expect from the Snyder Cut?
Don’t expect a whole new movie built from the ground up. It's technically not a movie at all, arriving in four one-hour parts on HBO Max in 2020.
The first big insider report concerning the Snyder Cut came from THR, which outlined the future of the project. That includes a possible $30m budget (a number that HBO Max Bob Greenblatt said is actually less than what is being spent) as well as the potential for the Snyder Cut to be a four-hour Justice League movie or for it to be split into a six-episode miniseries. It proved to be a mixture of both. Either way, Greenblatt said it’ll be a “radical rethinking” and newer reports say it will cost nearer to $70m.
So, where’s that money going? The Wrap suggested it’s “for special effects, for scoring, and even ADR” but there will be “no reshoots of any kind.”
Snyder, then, will be working with what he’s already got in terms of filmed scenes, though he’ll be able to introduce special effects and new voice lines from the cast members. The scope of those changes remains to be seen, though Snyder said during the announcement that “you probably saw one-fourth of what I did.” He later unequivocally said his vision of the movie will have "no compromises" and revealed he's currently working on VFX.
Snyder Cut Justice-Con round-up: Black Suit Superman, Wonder Woman deleted scene, and Zack Snyder on using Joss Whedon's work
We said this is everything we know. That includes Justice-Con, a fan event maybe missed by the masses. The fan-hosted event took place across the weekend of July 25-26 and featured several big Snyder Cut stories. Not least of all was Zack Snyder talking about whether his version of Justice League would be 100% his work.
"I would set it on fire before I use a single frame that I did not photograph."I would literally blow that fucking thing up," he said during his panel.
On a more positive note, we got a first glimpse of the black-suited Superman in action. In the clip, he swoops down and meets Jeremy Irons' Alfred.
Below, you can even find out more about a surprising Wonder Woman scene, post-Supes' death.