In case you’ve been sitting to close to a Mother Box in the past week or so, there’s been some pretty big news in the movie world. In accordance with the throngs of fans demanding Warner Bros’ release “The Snyder Cut,” HBO Max announced that Zack Snyder’s Justice League would be heading to its platform at some point in 2021.
So it’s time to relax and congratulate the internet on a job well done, right? Wrong! Utterly and categorically wrong! While I’m not calling for every movie that has had production disagreements to get its own alternate cut, there are seven movies that have earned their second chances based on similar circumstances.
These films weren’t always a result of disagreements, but here's a handful of cinematic curiosities that deserve the Snyder Cut treatment.
Hoo-boy! You kind of have to start a list of infamous alternate cuts with director David Ayer’s original vision for Suicide Squad. Not only is it a sibling case study to the eventual retooling that Justice League would go through, but even just looking at the trailers indicated that there was quite a bit missing from this one. With Ayer riding that Snyder Cut wave himself on social media, and teases of a love triangle and more Jared Leto Joker action in the wings, HBO Max could get another hit under their belt with The Ayer Cut of Suicide Squad.
Let’s just go ahead and rip this particular band aid off in quick and succinct fashion as well! The original vision of Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four film is something that’s intrigued many a comic movie fan, and it was all thanks to the rather heated discussion that’s surrounded this project since its release into Thursday previews back in 2015. That “fantastic” version is something Trank doesn’t think people will see, but if only to set fan’s curiosities at ease, and to give the next iteration a clear slate to work off of, the ghosts of Fantastic Four’s original cut should be put to rest once and for all.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The temperature on the process of changes that made Rogue One: A Star Wars Story the finished product it eventually became was moderately spicy. While there weren’t any huge public displays of change, or even highly publicized firings like that of Solo: A Star Wars Story, there was still a lot of retooling that altered things, like the original “happier” ending. Much like the original Star Wars, Rogue One was a movie apparently found in the editing room. It’d be really neat to see how that initial version differed between the original intent and the finalized approach.
World War Z
Sometimes that seemingly perfect ending is evasive as all get out. World War Z is one of those cases where such an enterprise resulted in a radically different third act. We’re talking an ending so different that Matthew Fox’s presence in the film made more sense, and everything from the second act plane crash onward played out differently, and in Russia. It might not make the Brad Pitt film any better, and it probably won’t resurrect World War Z 2, but you’d be insane if you didn’t think audiences would flock to see what could have been.
Not every cut on this list is born of intense upset or pressured notes. When it came to Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird’s Disney tentpole Tomorrowland, the film was altered to be a little more streamlined and audience friendly. However, deep cut fans of that film have, over time, discovered details from the original shooting script, which have helped put together something known as “The Dreamer’s Cut” of the film. Using deleted materials from the Blu-Ray release, and those notes, a totally different version of this movie has yet to receive any official recognition from Disney. Five years later, it’s about time everyone got to see “The Dreamer’s Cut” of Tomorrowland, exposed to the light of day.
Even director Wes Craven has been subjected to the knives of studio executives; just ask anyone who’s a fan of his PG-13 werewolf film Cursed. The mention of that rating is no mistake either, as Dimension Studios cut his contractually obligated R-rated film into a more “market friendly” product. That original cut is apparently still out there, with an executive from Dimension swearing it still exists in the studio’s vault. With tons of actors, and a huge portion of the original plot, being excised, stories of the production’s woes have built quite the narrative since the movie’s 2004 release. Wes Craven may no longer be with us, but it’d be nice to see one of his most infamous films get the edit it deserves.
Last, but not least, we circle back to Warner Bros, as its troubles with a compromised final product stretch even farther than most would imagine. A dud upon its 1998, director Jeremiah Chechik’s The Avengers adapted the ‘60s spy show of the same name into a total disaster. What was supposed to be a 115 minute movie was slashed to 89 minutes, junking a lot of scenes that still remain in the script and official novelization of Uma Thurman and Ralph Fiennes’ would-be blockbuster. After 22 years later, it still waits to be restored, with Chechik even offering to recut the film for free. If HBO Max is going to give Zack Snyder’s Justice League a spin, then why not bring the true vision of The Avengers to life?
A lot of fans of various movies are going to be coming out of the woodwork and suggesting that their alternate cut should be the next big resurrection. But in the afterglow of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, these are the movies that feel like the most valid candidates for a second shot at telling another version of their story.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be on HBO Max sometime in 2021, but who knows when, where or if any of these other films will get their own streaming debuts. One can only hope that if the Snyder Cut can prevail, others will follow in its footsteps.