The newest trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League reveals the truly epic scope of the Snyder Cut of Justice League, including more Darkseid, and the first reveal of Jared Leto’s Joker, along with other major story elements like the Knightmare future. The trailer isn’t only a massive tease of what’s to come when the movie hits HBO Max, but a fascinating look at some of the baffling changes made to the film when Joss Whedon brought it to the screen in 2017.
The “Snyder Cut” was widely considered an internet myth for nearly three years (despite clear evidence of its existence) until it was finally confirmed for release on HBO Max in May 2020. Snyder completed 100% of principal photography in 2016 along with several months of post-production, including a significant amount of VFX, but there was still work to be done on his version since the Whedon written and directed reshoots took the movie in a massively different direction, abandoning most of what Snyder was building toward.
Now, thanks to an extra $70 million and some additional photography to complete his original vision, including the reversion of a few compromises made before his exit (such as the change in Steppenwolf’s design), and a few minutes of additional footage and addition of Jared Leto’s Joker, the Snyder Cut is arriving on March 18th, and it’s fair to say it’s the most massive DC movie ever made. Here’s the biggest reveals from the newest trailer.
The trailer’s very first shot is also from the beginning of the movie, revisiting Superman’s death from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in the same way Batman v Superman revisited Metropolis battle from Man of Steel from Bruce Wayne’s perspective. This shot is paired with an edit of Lex Luthor’s Batman v Superman monologue saying “The bell’s… been rung… Out in the dark, among the stars. The god is dead.”
The context of that line’s original delivery in Batman v Superman was after Lex Luthor had communed with Steppenwolf, meaning Darkseid knows Earth is ripe for the taking. In the shot of Superman, we see the literal waves created by his death scream going out across the world, activating the dormant Mother Boxes, triggering the eventual invasion by Steppenwolf.
While she didn’t have much presence in the 2017 version, Connie Nielson’s Hippolyta has a more substantial role in the Snyder Cut, but in the history lesson as well as on Themyscira. When she’s first revealed, she’s standing on the edge of a cliff as the building that housed the Amazon Mother Box tumbles into the ocean, likely following the Amazon battle with Steppenwolf where he steals the Box and escapes.
With the solemn way Hippolyta and the Amazons are standing around, it would make sense if this scene represented a funeral for their fallen sisters, using the Mother Boxes home as their tomb and shoving it into the ocean as the otherwise immortal Amazons have no use for a cemetery or tombs on Themyscira.
The trailer moves from Lex Luthor to Bruce Wayne, saying “I had a dream… almost like a premonition,” with new footage of Batman in his trenchcoat from the Knightmare future first glimpsed in Batman v Superman. The Knightmare world was one of the biggest things cut from Zack Snyder’s original vision for Justice League and was a major part of his overall Justice League plan, so expect this part of the story to play a major influence on the movie.
The trailer includes a number of shots of Batman in the Knightmare along with Ray Fisher’s Cyborg and another character we’ll talk about in a later section. The idea of the Knightmare is to show the consequences of the losses experienced by Superman and how he’s important not just as a physical hero to fight off bad guys, but also as a symbol of inspiration. If you lose that symbol or it’s twisted to nefarious means, as Jonathan Kent says in Man of Steel “Whoever that man is, good character or bad, it’s going to change the world.”
As we’ve seen teased a few times, Wonder Woman’s connection to all these events is far more significant than it was in the 2017 Joss Whedon version of the movie. In Whedon’s release, Wonder Woman saw Hippolyta’s arrow on TV and that was it. However, in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, it actually takes her to a shrine of the Amazons where she discovers a mural telling the story of the last time Darkseid tried to invade
In this history lesson, we’ll see Darkseid attempting to unleash the anti-life equation, but Amazons, Atlanteans, the tribes of men, a green lantern, and Greek gods banded together to push him back, including a showdown between Ares the God of War and Darkseid himself.
Darkseid is coming. It’s been known for years that Darkseid had a role in Snyder’s original Justice League vision, but the extent of that role has only become more significant with time. Once thought to be a simple tease of a villain to come, it’s clear now he has a looming presence, possibly akin to Sauron in Lord of the Rings, only even more significant as he’s actually personified and given proper dialogue (voiced by Ray Porter, which we have yet to hear).
Not only is Darkseid in the movie, but he’s flanked by other New Gods of Apokolips, his mater torturer DeSaad, and the leader of Darkseid’s Elites and Furies, Granny Goodness. This brings the massive Fourth World of Jack Kirby to the big screen in a big way. Also, it should be noted this movie was supposed to come out around five months before Avengers: Infinity War, which introduced the Darkseid inspired Thanos.
Steppenwolf’s promise that “this world will fall” was present in the original marketing campaign, but since the line was a message from him to Darkseid, as we see in this newest trailer, it obviously got lost along with Darkseid. While Darkseid is a looming villain, Steppenwolf is ultimately the immediate threat to the world. This extra backstory (and new (original) character design immediately gives Steppenwolf more weight as a character and establishes some motivation, which was entirely absent in 2017.
We see several shots of Darkseid’s general and his charged electro-ax (spitting real lightning instead of the light trail from 2017) wreaking havoc on Amazons and the Justice League. As a villain, he’s certainly a much more violent, menacing force, and it’s clear why the Justice League needs to band together (and try to bring Superman back from the dead) to take him down.
While the scene of Steppenwolf invading Themyscira and stealing the Mother Box is in Joss Whedon’s 2017 theatrical cut, the changes are abundantly obvious. Steppenwolf’s improved design and the brutality of the electro-ax makes him a menacing force.
The brief black and white clip Snyder previously shared of this scene shows it will certainly be more violent, including some 300-esque blood spurts, which is likely partly responsible for the movie’s R rating.
Bruce Wayne goes on a hunt for more powerful individuals to form an “alliance” of warriors to defend the world from the attack he fears is coming. One of the first people he approaches is Arthur Curry, AKA the Aquaman. This new shot of Aquaman is taken from his confrontation with Steppenwolf when the villain attempts to take the Atlantean Motherbox from Mera.
We know there’s much more of the Atlanteans (but likely not Atlantis itself) in this version of the movie, including a Willen Dafoe’s Vulko and an explanation for how Aquaman gets his armor and trident.
Despite getting teased in trailers and merchandise, Cyborg’s ability to manifest weapons or even additional arms wasn’t utilized in the theatrical cut. Based on the post-apocalyptic destruction and gold hue of the background, this appears to be a Knightmare scene.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice writer Chris Terrio used a lot of creative wordplay, especially with Lex Luthor and Alfred, and this makes a big appearance in the Zack Snyder’s Justice League trailer when Alfred says “If you can’t bring down the charging bull, you don’t wave the red cape at it,” which not only works as a standalone metaphor, but also serve as a warning about bringing back Superman (the red cape) to take on Steppenwolf (the bull).
One of the earliest leaks following the theatrical cut was a few scenes with incomplete CGI, including this shot of Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen in his early days as The Flash saving Kiersey Clemons’ Iris West. While the scene itself certainly isn’t new to anyone who’s been following the Snyder Cut for 3 years, seeing it with finished VFX in a major trailer is still a big moment.
Jonathan Kent’s message to Superman from Man of Steel, saying “you were sent for a reason, and even if it takes you the rest of your life, find out what that reason is” makes a notable appearance as Superman takes a pose calling back to his “first flight” in Man of Steel. The urge for him to take “the rest of his life” to figure it out is especially notable considering he’s dead when the movie starts.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League plans were ultimately an extension of his Superman story, and the whole arc, while it includes notable roles multiple Justice League characters, ultimately served as an explanation of why Superman is the most important superhero, which is exactly what Pa Kent told him as a kid, and what he now needs to find that he’s resurrected. He tells Lois Lane she’s “his world” in Batman v Superman (and we notably see a shot of her when Jonathan Kent says “find out what that reason is), but in the BvS Knightmare, he tells Batman “she was my world, and you took her from me,” meaning the Knightmare, the destruction of the whole, is what happens when Superman loses his purpose.
Zack Snyder has said multiple times since even before he originally left the project in 2017 that Ray Fisher’s Cyborg/Victor Stone is the heart of the movie. Ray Fisher has also revealed the only Cyborg scenes in the 2017 film that weren’t originally shot by Snyder was part of the Gotham Police rooftop scene, so we can expect a massively new focus on Cyborg.
The most notable moment here is a visual cut from Superman’s ascension in the black suit to Cyborg taking flight. Like Superman, Victor Stone also has powers he needs to understand, and he also needs to find his purpose. One major difference, however, is Cyborg already had a purpose as a football star, and that was taken from him. While Superman is an alien seeking his place in the world, Cyborg is a human who has lost his place in the world, and Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be about him finding that place again.
This particular shot in the trailer is of Victor Stone as his ideal self in some sort of digital world, either hacking a Mother Box, or tapping into computer systems around the world.
Audiences may have just gotten a taste of some Amazon action at the end of 2020 with Wonder Woman 1984, but the Snyder Cut is bringing even more. The Amazons play a key role in the massive history lesson battle against Darkseid and his parademons, but we also know they have a second major battle in Themyscira when Steppenwolf invades.
Considering audience sentiment following Wonder Woman 1984 indicated they wanted more Amazons and more Themyscira, the 4 hour long Zack Snyder’s Justice League should provide that and more.
Fans of Frank Miller’s classic Dark Knight Returns, which largely inspired Ben Affleck’s take on Batman, should be more than thrilled at the tease of the tank-like Batmobile known as the “War Machine,” seemingly ripped straight out of the pages of the comics. The most fascinating part of this shot is that, prior to its recent reveal, it was entirely absent from any kind of leak, tease, or promotion of any kind, serving as an example of what kind of surprises could be in store in the Snyder Cut’s 4-hour runtime.
In the shot, there’s destruction all around and what appears to be a backhoe and construction equipment in the background, and Batman also appears to be in his Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice suit, implying he may be excavating the scene where Superman and Doomsday died, potentially making the vehicle more “bat-dozer” than “bat-tank,” but with an over-the-top name like “War Machine, we probably shouldn’t discount any notions of this vehicle seeing some action just yet. While a lot of details about this movie are already known, the fact that there are still massive surprises like this in-store should have audiences excited for what’s buried in the full four-hours of the final product.
During the final battle, The Flash is expected to channel the Speed Force to turn back time, and we see that represented with a massive explosion. As Flash runs toward the explosion, we can see the ground re-assembling itself in front of him as the explosion ahead slowly recedes, with plenty of Zack Snyder slow-motion effects thrown in for good measure.
Cyborg’s role is so much more important in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, specifically becuse the only way they can possibly win is because he has the ability to interface with the Mother Boxes to prevent them from destroying the world, and that ability comes from his enhanced cybernetics, which are a product of a Mother Box. In this scene he’s expected to actually go inside the Mother Box where we’ll see him tempted with visions of his family and a promise to be made whole again.
Zack Snyder and Jared Leto’s Joker embraces the meme head on in the character’s reveal, where we hear Leto say the highly memed “we live in a society” before we even see his face. Leto’s Joker is one of things added in the 4-5 minutes of additional photography Snyder conducted in October 2020 (as opposed to the 3 1/2 hours of unseen footage he shot in 2016), and is also one of the movie’s most exciting factors.
Joker’s full line is “we live in a society where honor is a distant memory. Isn’t that right, Batman?” Considering this is a confrontation between Batman and Joker in the Knightmare future where the Dark Knight might even be teaming up with the Clown Prince of Crime, a future where Batman carries a gun, Joker’s line is surely taking a dig at Batman’s change in principles following the collapse of society.