Despite an abundance of juicy reveals, there’s still plenty that we don’t know about the content of the “Snyder Cut” of Justice League. In the aftermath of the tragic loss of his daughter, Zack Snyder stepped away from directing duties on Justice League, with Joss Whedon being brought in to oversee reshoots. Though the official stance of Warner Bros. was that these were the normal pickups that most major blockbusters undergo, the version of Justice League released into theaters proved to be a radical departure from Snyder’s vision for the film.
The aftermath of the theatrical release of Justice League has seen fans heavily lobbying the studio to release the “Snyder Cut” of the film, with a growing number of the film’s cast and crew also voicing support. Zack Snyder has also taken to stirring the pot on the debate surrounding the “Snyder Cut,” releasing a steady stream of never-before-seen images from his cut of Justice League on social media.
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Between dropping stills from his cut online and interactions with fans on social media, Snyder has revealed a lot about just how drastic the difference is between the film’s theatrical version and the “Snyder Cut.” However, for as much as Snyder has unveiled, there’s still a vast well of content that he hasn’t made public yet. Here’s what we know that Zack Snyder himself has yet to reveal about the “Snyder Cut” of Justice League.
How Was the Movie Supposed to Open?
The first scene of Justice League is unquestionably a product of the reshoots. Henry Cavill’s work on Mission Impossible: Fallout overlapped with the Justice League reshoots, forcing Warner Bros. to attempt to digitally remove Cavill’s mustache from the film, which he was contractually obligated to keep. Unfortunately, the hasty nature of the reshoots, coupled with the film’s looming November 17 release date, meant that the digital shave on Cavill’s face could not be properly completed.
As a result of the unconvincing removal of Cavill’s mustache, it is clear that the vast majority of Superman’s scenes in Justice League come from the reshoots. This is evident in the film’s very first scene, a cell phone video of an off-screen child talking to Superman, with the attempt to digitally shave Cavill clearly visible. With the opening scene of Justice League coming from the reshoots, it raises the obvious question of how the film began in Snyder’s cut. While Snyder himself has poked fun at the film’s mustache conundrum, considering the movie’s opening montage was full of Joss Whedon reshoots and set to a song chosen by Whedon, we have yet to find out how his cut of Justice League opens.
What is Batman REALLY Doing at the Beginning of the Movie?
Tying into the opening scene with Superman, Batman’s introduction in Justice League is also a reshoot. Ironically, its the contrast of the endings of the two versions, as revealed by Snyder, that points to the opening of Justice League being among those filmed in the reshoots. In the theatrical cut, Batman battles a lone Parademon in Gotham City, with the scene establishing their weakness to sound and their ability to smell fear. This ultimately sets up Batman’s use of sonic waves to distract the Parademon’s during the film’s climactic battle, along with the Parademon army turning on the now-fear stricken Steppenwolf when his axe is shattered by Wonder Woman.
That stands at odds with the ending of the “Snyder Cut”, which sees Wonder Woman decapitate Steppenwolf with her sword. Additionally, Batman goes through some facial hair issues of his own early in the film, with The Dark Knight having stubble in the Parademon fight, only to have a full beard shortly thereafter in his first meeting with Aquaman. Taken together, this suggests that Batman’s introduction in the “Snyder Cut” more likely began with a bearded Bruce Wayne in search of Arthur Curry. A news clip in the trailers also indicates Batman hasn’t been seen in Gotham for a while, suggesting his hunt for the League was all-consuming. However, Bruce’s introduction can still only be speculated upon, given that Snyder has remained silent on that aspect of the film, as well.
What Happened in Flash’s Backstory?
Although Barry Allen saw cameo appearances in Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, with the former especially establishing his importance in the DCEU, Justice League marks his first full portrayal in the franchise. Although the film establishes Barry’s father, Henry Allen, being wrongfully imprisoned for the murder of his mother Nora, Snyder intended to dive much deeper into the backstory of The Flash (along with that of Aquaman and Cyborg.)
One element of Barry’s backstory we know that Snyder incorporated into the film was his relationship with Iris West, played by Kiersey Clemens. A leaked deleted scene shows Barry rescuing Iris from a car accident, with snippets of the scene having already been glimpsed in the film’s San Diego Comic-Con trailer. However, despite these leaks, Snyder has continued to remain quiet about the role of Barry Allen’s backstory in his cut of Justice League, and how it would’ve factored into the larger story of Barry’s clear enthusiasm for joining the team before Bruce Wayne can even finish recruiting him.
We Don’t Know the Extent of the Snyder Cut’s Underwater Scenes
Despite the presence of Aquaman, the theatrical cut of Justice League features just one scene underwater. Specifically, Arthur and Mera battle Steppenwolf when the Apokolyptian villain steals one of the Mother Boxes from an Atlantean outpost. We now know that this scene underwent its own alterations, thanks to a social media post by Snyder during post-production. Specifically, the statue of the Atlantean king seen in Snyder’s video post was removed from the theatrical version, replaced with a fallen Atlantean soldier.
Though Snyder left the introduction of Atlantis itself to James Wan, with the underwater kingdom making its first proper appearance in Aquaman, it seems likely that he intended for there to be a far greater emphasis on the underwater origins of Arthur Curry, as well. As with The Flash and Cyborg, Justice League served as the proper introduction of Aquaman into the DCEU, and we know that Snyder made the backstory of all three characters far more prominent in his cut of the film. However, he has yet to post any underwater scenes from the film, leaving it another of the many lingering mysteries of the “Snyder Cut”.
(Almost) Nothing From Justice League’s Knightmare
The Knightmare sequence from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was the McGuffin of that film, and though Justice League dropped such elements as Darkseid murdering Lois Lane in the Batcave from the original script, it was still set to see a major payoff under Snyder’s direction. Though Darkseid’s only mention in the theatrical version came from a single line from Steppenwolf (“For the Unity. For Darkseid.”), the ruler of Apokolips was confirmed to have had a major presence in the “Snyder Cut” following a leaked storyboard. Though Snyder wasn’t the one to reveal the storyboard, it has been confirmed as authentic, and depicts a vision of the Knightmare reality, with a Mother Box exploding and the Hall of Justice being left in ruins, as previously seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Snyder would eventually release an image to confirm Darkseid’s role in his cut of Justice League, ominously captioned with “A bell can’t be unrung.” Aside from being a looming force of evil throughout the film, Darkseid was doubtlessly intended to facilitate how the Knightmare was to be integrated into Justice League. This is further evidenced in the “Heroes” trailer, with Batman sharing “I had a dream about the end of the world” with the League, and his fear that “Something darker” is on the way. Additionally, Ray Porter would eventually be revealed as the actor who shot scenes as Darkseid in the film, but aside from the sheer presence of Darkseid in his version Justice League, Zack Snyder has revealed virtually nothing about the payoff the Knightmare receives in the “Snyder Cut”.
How Does the Justice League Actually Form?
Another aspect of the film that saw clear alterations was the very formation of the Justice League itself. Batman’s aforementioned introduction in the film is a hybrid of a Parademon battle from the reshoots with his search for Aquaman, the latter filmed under Snyder’s direction. Bruce’s subsequent meeting with Diana seen in the early Comic-Con reel in which he confirms Arthur’s refusal to join the team is also omitted from the film. Barry’s “brunch” quips in his first meeting with Bruce are an addition from the reshoots, as well, and a scene featuring Cyborg’s first flight was also removed, later leaking online with unfinished visual effects. While the full context is the scene is unknown, it seems likely that, as in theatrical version, it led straight into Cyborg meeting the League on a rooftop with Commissioner Gordon, given that J.K. Simmons was not involved in the reshoots at all.
Eventually, the entire League comes together in the tunnel battle against Steppenwolf, with a rather begrudging Aquaman arriving last (at a conspicuously precise place and time, suggesting it was another alteration). However, with nearly every character’s introduction in the film being either altered by reshot footage, or having large chunks removed from the film altogether, the initial formation of the Justice League was likely markedly different in Snyder’s version. However, this is another aspect of the film that Snyder has continued to sit on amid his other social media teases.
How Does Superman Come Back to Life?
Given Superman’s death in battle against Doomsday at the end of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the resurrection of the Man of Steel was always going to be a major component of Justice League. However, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that there was much more to it in the “Snyder Cut” than in the theatrical version. The final shot of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice itself provides the biggest clue in this regard, with dirt lifting off Clark’s coffin before the end credits begin. This was obviously intended to set up Superman’s resurrection for Justice League, but the final shot of Batman v Superman is completely forgotten in the theatrical cut, with a scene of Barry and Victor simply digging up Kal-El’s body from the reshoots in its stead.
Additionally, the retrieval of Superman’s body itself is likely quite different in the “Snyder Cut”. We can infer as much from a still released by Snyder on social media, depicting Barry, Victor, Arthur, and Diana at the Smallville cemetery. That alone indicates just how distinct the difference is between the two versions of Superman’s resurrection. However, that still fails to explain how the final shot of Batman v Superman factors into Snyder’s version of Justice League, leaving us with a noticeable gap in events despite the cemetery image released by Snyder. Thus far, it’s a missing puzzle piece that Snyder has kept to himself over the course of his activity on Vero.
How Was the Heroes Park Fight Originally Supposed to Play Out?
Due to behind-the-scenes photos and features, we know that the battle in Heroes Park was conceived and shot under Zack Snyder’s direction, and carried over into the theatrical incarnation. However, footage from the reshoots is also interspersed in this sequence, while several elements incorporated by Snyder are left out. This is most evident by the absence of the military from the version of the scene shown in theaters. The film’s first trailer sees Cyborg deflecting a tank from falling on a police officer before advising “You should probably move”, with this exchange excised from the theatrical version. Additionally, Victor’s line “My armor’s defense system, it’s stronger since the interface!” is a holdover from Snyder’s direction of the scene, and provides a major clue into its original intent. Cyborg’s armor firing on Superman was meant to come after Victor glimpses the Knightmare reality while interfacing with the Kryptonian scout ship. With Victor’s armor possibly remembering the corrupted Superman from his vision of the future, it immediately responds to the newly resurrected Kal-El as a threat.
Additionally, Lois Lane’s presence in the Heroes Park fight was likely much more involved than that of Batman simply calling upon her as “the big gun” in order for Superman to come to his senses. This is evidenced by a storyboard and deleted scene released by Snyder, which would see a police officer (played by former Jimmy Olsen Marc McClure) escorting Lois to Heroes Park to pay her respects to Clark early in the film. Given the same policeman’s presence in the snippet of the battle seen in the first trailer, and Lois’ presence in the scene, it stands to reason that each had substantially greater involvement in the Heroes Park sequence. Nevertheless, the newly formed Justice League’s battle with a recently resurrected Superman in Heroes Park is another area of the film that Snyder has yet to touch in his teases of the film.
Lois’ Original Story Was Entirely Replaced
Lois Lane’s story in Justice League was also significantly altered by the reshoots. As previously mentioned, Lois was also originally to have been killed in the Batcave by Darkseid, though this was jettisoned prior to principal photography. However, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice set-up Lois up as “the key” with respect to Superman’s story in Justice League, but we now know that her part in the theatrical cut of the film stands in stark contrast with the role she played in the “Snyder Cut.”
Aside from the aforementioned differences in her introduction in the film and how her involvement in the Heroes Park battle played out, Lois’ entire role in the film is noticeably rejiggered. The scene with Lois and Martha Kent meeting in what appears to be a Daily Planet break room is among the ones most clearly inserted from the reshoots, as evidenced by the clear changes in color grading and Martha’s notorious “thirsty” line.
Additionally, Lois and Clark’s reunion at the Kent Farm is also drawn from the reshoots, with Henry Cavill’s CGI upper lip being the biggest indicator, along with the absence of Clark’s reference to Lois’ engagement ring seen in the final trailer. Furthermore, while Lois gives the film’s closing narration in the theatrical cut, the film’s concluding monologue was originally given by Silas Stone in the “Snyder Cut”. While Snyder has released the previously mentioned images and storyboard of Lois paying her respects to her deceased fiancée at Heroes Park, that remains the extent of what he has revealed of her role in his version of Justice League, and another aspect of the “Snyder Cut” that he has kept almost entirely under wraps
How Did the World React to the Invasion and the Justice League?
One consistent aspect of Zack Snyder’s superhero films is the role he’s given to the media. Talking heads and media coverage are integral elements of Watchmen, Man of Steel, and Batman v Superman, yet aside from some voice-over commentary in the film’s opening montage, the media is nowhere to be seen in Justice League. The same goes for the government and the military, both equally crucial elements to Snyder’s past DC films, as well. While this is more a case of something being omitted from Snyder’s version of the film than a new element added in from the reshoots, it nevertheless highlights just how different the two versions are from one another.
Whichever version of Justice League you watch involves an alien invasion, along with Superman being resurrected from the grave, both events that would receive both an immediate military and government response, and massive media attention. The Superman resurrection would doubtlessly make headlines, yet it’s ignored in the theatrical version, with a briefly glimpsed issue of The Daily Planet in Shazam! being the first in-universe indication of any kind of media coverage for the return of Superman. Additionally, we know from the first trailer that the military did respond to the League battling a crazed Superman in Heroes Park, but this too was removed from the film.
With the media, government, and military all responding as one would expect during General Zod’s invasion and Doomsday’s rampage, the arrival of Steppenwolf and the forces of Apokolips would surely have prompted the same involvement from all three. However, this too was excised from the theatrical version of Justice League, and thus far, they remain among the elements of the “Snyder Cut” that Zack Snyder has yet to reveal.
As with anything relating to the “Snyder Cut”, this could just be the beginning of what Zack Snyder has yet to make public about his cut of Justice League. The cast and crew has steadily begun to join in with the ongoing efforts by fans to persuade Warner Bros. to release the cut, and after over a year of social media teases, and comments made at his director’s cut event in March, it’s a sentiment that Snyder himself clearly shares. However, until the greenlight is given by Warner Bros., Snyder’s social media posts are the closest thing fans have at the moment to seeing his vision for the film. While it’s likely that Snyder would want to keep at least a few surprises for his cut of Justice League until its eventual release, its equally clear that he has no shortage of material to draw up for his ongoing teases of the “Snyder Cut” (all 214 minutes of it.)
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