"Release the Snyder Cut." It was a statement frequently made following the underwhelming performance of Justice League, referring to the cut of the DC Extended Universe movie Zack Snyder had made before Joss Whedon came in and retooled it. At the time, it sounded like a rallying cry for desperate DC fans hoping for anything better than what was released, or trolls looking to spark a heated online debate.
At least that's what I thought, but in recent weeks, I've changed my tone. For all its early missteps, DC now has two standalone hero films that are commercial and critical successes. Suddenly the DCEU's shared future doesn't look as bleak as it did in late 2017. Wonder Woman is on the road to a much-anticipated sequel and Aquaman is the franchise's most financially successful film. After much deliberation, I'm now convinced it's time to release the Snyder Cut.
This is especially true in the face of Aquaman's success, as the Atlantean hero tale officially proved at least two-thirds of the Justice League roster can have a commercially successful adventure. That's especially when considering the uphill battle this movie faced following Justice League, which presented a version of the character fairly different than audiences saw a year and a half later. Few will dispute the Aquaman Arthur Curry is superior to the Justice League version in every way.
Now, we may never know if Aquaman's personality change in his standalone film was just a reaction to Justice League, but it is worth mentioning there are folks who imply his character in the solo film was closer to Zack Snyder's original interpretation of Arthur Curry. Actor Neil Daly even alleged that Zack Snyder gave his stamp of approval on James Wan's test footage for Aquaman, and implied that he prevented another film from using Whedon's interpretation of the hero.
Additionally, Jason Momoa has said that the Snyder Cut contained lots more of Aquaman, cameos from Vulko and an end scene that may have set the stage for when the events of Aquaman occurred. All that didn't seem so important a couple years ago when the overall universe looked to be a bust, but with Aquaman now the face of what could be a very lucrative franchise, it feels worth the effort to go back and change things up.
This is especially when so much of the work in creating the Snyder Cut is supposedly done. Granted, there's still VFX and possibly other things the general public don't know about, but because Zack Snyder's completed principal photography on Justice League, this is far from a point in production akin to "starting from scratch." If nothing else, this would seemingly be a much less costly endeavor and have a quicker turnaround than an entirely new movie.
Despite that, Warner Bros. Pictures Group Chairman Toby Emmerich has confirmed that the studio isn't too worried about shared universes anymore and would rather do "director-driven stories." The failure of Justice League has rattled their faith in mimicking Marvel's formula, and the studio is instead more comfortable with more one-off adventures that follow a director's creative initiative and not a set road map that leads to the next ensemble film.
It's somewhat humorous to read, as some could argue Justice League sounds as though it started out as a film to lay out a road map and was transformed into a one-off adventure. Additionally, very little was done to set up Justice League, or at least far less than what Marvel did when it began its long trek to The Avengers. Did DC ever really have a shared universe or just characters appearing in each other's films?
I'm not here to argue that, but it does seem as though the Snyder Cut could've made a better attempt at further establishing the DCEU than the finished cut did. After all, why else make a 3-hour ensemble film that featured a lot of stories with actors who were ultimately cut when Joss Whedon stepped in? One would imagine at least one of those storylines would've laid out a direction for a superhero franchise to go in the future.
Now, to say what some DC skeptics may have been thinking since the start of this piece, the Snyder Cut could be awful. What DC apologists may view as a 3-hour epic that would've cemented the Justice League's everlasting cinematic foothold could've been an overly-long mess that held DC to going a lot of directions with its universe it didn't wish to. Warner Bros. might've seen another critical disaster like Batman v. Superman on the horizon and called an audible.
To counter, the Snyder Cut would have to be pretty awful for audiences to see it and rate it lower than the presently existing cut of Justice League. Also with Aquaman mentioning only the basest of details regarding Justice League's plot, it's more than likely no other DC film would need to adapt in order to account for the changed version. Release the Snyder Cut and then see if it's really a bad idea to have a shared universe.
Actually, release the Snyder Cut simply because folks are still talking about it in 2019. And, in case anyone at Warner Bros. is skeptical, most are still talking about it because they want to see a version of Justice League that they felt robbed of with the first instalment. The initial film may dissuade some from tuning into the revamped addition, but the overall legacy of the comic book team would be enough for many to give it another shot.
Unfortunately, the reality is that Warner Bros. doesn't need to take the financial risk and release the Snyder Cut to continuing being successful, so this project will likely never see the light of day. DC and Warner Bros. have shown they are not above releasing a bomb of a superhero film and promptly forgetting it, so to continue on with the current game plan is par for the course.
With that said, the chants for the Snyder Cut don't seem as though they'll ever die, and I don't believe they should until it sees the light of day. Those with other opinions can share their thoughts in the comments, or vote in our poll on whether they'd pay to see the Snyder Cut.