Zack Snyder Used The Perfect Word To Explain Why His Justice League Isn't DCEU Canon

The Justice League theatrical cut

Justice Con was a two-day celebration of Zack Snyder and his Justice League cut, which will be coming to HBO Max in 2021. The panels that were spread out over the course of the two days led to all sorts of reveals, from Snyder and star Ray Fisher dropping knowledge, to a panel hosted by yours truly. And I even had a little bit of news to break.

On Saturday evening, during his own panel at Justice Con, Zack Snyder talked a bit about how his movie no longer has to bow to the continuity of the DCEU. He actually explained that the theatrical cut, which came out in 2017 and was directed by Joss Whedon, is the actual in-canon Justice League movie. And that the films that come after it, from Shazam to Aquaman, are part of that canon.

But Snyder’s Justice League movie doesn’t have to be part of that DCEU thread anymore. And because of that, during an exclusive interview he gave me for my upcoming Release the Snyder Cut book, Snyder referred to his project by a very interesting term.

As I described in my own Justice Con panel, Snyder referred to the Justice League version that’s coming to HBO Max as an “Elseworld” Justice League. And when he said it, it gave me chills. The Elseworld label was created in the DC Comics to tell stories that used iconic DC characters, but didn’t have to follow existing canon from the ongoing books. The Elseworld label led to the creation of stories like Batman: Castle of the Bat, or Son of Superman.

Creators were able to get crazy with their narratives. Because they didn’t have to worry too much about disrupting whatever important storylines that were going on in the main DC Comics books. You can’t introduce a story like JLA: Created Equal – where a cosmic plague kills every man on the planet except for Lex Luthor and Superman – without it causing massive ripples in the main DC storylines.

Well, time and distance has separated Zack Snyder’s Justice League from the timeline of the DCEU. And now, Snyder is free to shape his story into whatever fits what he WANTS to tell now. And it doesn’t have to set up Shazam, or a Ben Affleck Batman movie, or whatever Justice League Part 2 was meant to be. By calling it an Elseworld story, Snyder confirms that it exists in its own realm now, and it’s free from the the DCEU.

Which also means he’s able to grow and expand on it, without affecting the bigger picture.

Stay with me here. And know that I know nothing about the director’s future plans, post-Justice League on HBO Max. However… IF the Snyder Cut is well received. And IF Snyder was compelled to keep going with the story that he’s exploring in his cut. Then it would be very easy for Warner Bros. to allow him to keep playing in THAT sandbox without it having any repercussions on the DCEU (whatever that is at the moment). It’s essentially similar to what Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson are doing with their Batman story. They’re also telling an Elseworld-type saga (though Reeves hasn’t called it that). It means actions taken by Ezra Miller’s Flash or Jason Momoa’s Aquaman don’t have to affect the stories being told in their own franchises.

Do you want to watch my whole Justice Con panel? Click below.

As for Zack Snyder’s Justice League, we know it’s coming to HBO Max in 2021, and we hope that the director can confirm his release date during DC FanDome on August 22. Stay tuned!

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.